How to Write a Five-Year Business Plan [2022 Guide]

examples of 5 year business plan

Learn why the traditional way of writing a five-year business plan is often a waste of time and how to use a Lean Plan instead for smarter, easier strategic planning to establish your long-term vision. 

In business, it can sometimes seem hard enough to predict what’s going to happen next month, let alone three or even five years from now. But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan for the long term. After all, your vision for the future is what gets you out of bed in the morning and motivates your team. It’s those aspirations that drive you to keep innovating and figuring out how to grow.

What is a long-term plan?

A long-term or long-range business plan looks beyond the traditional 3-year planning window, focusing on what a business might look like 5 or even 10 years from now. A traditional 5-year business plan includes financial projections, business strategy, and roadmaps that stretch far into the future.

I’ll be honest with you, though—for most businesses, long-range business plans that stretch 5 and 10 years into the future are a waste of time. Anyone who’s seriously asking you for one doesn’t know what they’re doing and is wasting your time. Sorry if that offends some people, but it’s true.

However, there is still real value in looking at the long term. Just don’t invest the time in creating a lengthy version of your business plan with overly detailed metrics and milestones for the next five-plus years. No one knows the future and, more than likely, anything you write down now could be obsolete in the next year, next month, or even next week. 

That’s where long-term strategic planning comes in. A long-term business plan like this is different from a traditional business plan in that it’s lighter on the details and more focused on your strategic direction. It has less focus on financial forecasting and a greater focus on the big picture. 

Think of your long-term strategic plan as your aspirational vision for your business. It defines the ideal direction you’re aiming for but it’s not influencing your day-to-day or, potentially, even your monthly decision making. 

Are long-term business plans a waste of time?

No one knows the future. We’re all just taking the information that we have available today and making our best guesses about the future. Sometimes trends in a market are pretty clear and your guesses will be well-founded. Other times, you’re trying to look around a corner and hoping that your intuition about what comes next is correct.

Now, I’m not saying that thinking about the future is a waste of time. Entrepreneurs are always thinking about the future. They have to have some degree of faith and certainty about what customers are going to want in the future. Successful entrepreneurs do actually predict the future — they know what customers are going to want and when they’re going to want it.

Entrepreneurship is unpredictable 

Successful entrepreneurs are also often wrong. They make mistakes just like the rest of us. The difference between successful entrepreneurs and everyone else is that they don’t let mistakes slow them down. They learn from mistakes, adjust and try again. And again. And again. It’s not about being right all the time; it’s about having the perseverance to keep trying until you get it right. For example, James Dyson, inventor of the iconic vacuum cleaner, tried out 5,126 prototypes of his invention before he found a design that worked.

So, if thinking about the future isn’t a waste of time, why are 5-year business plans a waste of time? They’re a waste of time because they typically follow the same format as a traditional business plan, where you are asked to project sales, expenses, and cash flow 5 and 10 years into the future. 

Let’s be real. Sales and expense projections that far into the future are just wild guesses, especially for startups and new businesses. They’re guaranteed to be wrong and can’t be used for anything. You can’t (and shouldn’t) make decisions based on these guesses. They’re just fantasy. You hope you achieve massive year-over-year growth in sales, but there’s no guarantee that’s going to happen. And, you shouldn’t make significant spending decisions today based on the hope of massive sales 10 years from now.

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Why write a long-term business plan?

So, what is the purpose of outlining a long-term plan? Here are a few key reasons why it’s still valuable to consider the future of your business without getting bogged down by the details.

Showcase your vision for investors

First, and especially important if you are raising money from investors, is your vision. Investors will want to know not only where you plan on being in a year, but where the business will be in five years. Do you anticipate launching new products or services? Will you expand internationally? Or will you find new markets to grow into? 

Set long-term goals for your business

Second, you’ll want to establish goals for yourself and your team. What kinds of high-level sales targets do you hope to achieve? How big is your company going to get overtime? These goals can be used to motivate your team and even help in the hiring process as you get up and running.

That said, you don’t want to overinvest in fleshing out all the details of a long-range plan. You don’t need to figure out exactly how your expansion will work years from now or exactly how much you’ll spend on office supplies five years from now. That’s really just a waste of time.

Instead, for long-range planning, think in broad terms. A good planning process means that you’re constantly revising and refining your business plan. You’ll add more specifics as you go, creating a detailed plan for the next 6-12 months and a broader, vague plan for the long term.

You have a long development time

Businesses with extremely long research and development timelines do make spending decisions now based on the hope of results years from now. For example, the pharmaceutical industry and medical device industry have to make these bets all the time. The R&D required to take a concept from idea to proven product with regulatory approval can take years for these industries, so long-range planning in these cases is a must. A handful of other industries also have similar development timelines, but these are the exceptions, not the rule.

Your business is well-established and predictable 

Long-term, detailed planning can make more sense for businesses that are extremely well established and have long histories of consistent sales and expenses with predictable growth. But, even for those businesses, predictability means quite the opposite of stability. The chances that you’ll be disrupted in the marketplace by a new company, or the changing needs and desires of your customers, is extremely high. So, most likely, those long-range predictions of sales and profits are pretty useless.

What a 5-year plan should look like

With the exception of R&D-heavy businesses, most 5-year business plans should be more like vision statements than traditional business plans. They should explain your vision for the future, but skip the details of detailed sales projections and expense budgets. 

Your vision for your business should explain the types of products and services that you hope to offer in the future and the types of customers that you hope to serve. Your plan should outline who you plan to serve now and how you plan to expand if you are successful.

This kind of future vision creates a strategic roadmap. It’s not a fully detailed plan with sales forecasts and expense budgets, but a plan for getting started and then growing over time to reach your final destination.

For example, here’s a short-form version of what a long-term plan for Nike might have looked like if one had been written in the 1960s:

Nike will start by developing high-end track shoes for elite athletes. We’ll start with a focus on the North West of the US, but expand nationally as we develop brand recognition among track and field athletes. We will use sponsored athletes to spread the word about the quality and performance of our shoes.

Once we have success in the track & field market segment, we believe that we will be able to successfully expand both beyond the US market and also branch out into other sports, with an initial focus on basketball.

Leadership and brand awareness in a sport such as basketball will enable us to cross over from the athlete market into the consumer market. This will lead to significant business growth in the consumer segment and allow for expansion into additional sports, fashion, and casual markets in addition to building a strong apparel brand.

Interestingly enough, Nike (to my knowledge) never wrote out a long-range business plan. They developed their plans as they grew, building the proverbial airplane as it took off.

But, if you have this kind of vision for your business, it’s useful to articulate it. Your employees will want to know what your vision is and your investors will want to know as well. They want to know that you, as an entrepreneur, are looking beyond tomorrow and into the future months and years ahead.

How to write a five-year business plan

Writing out your long-term vision for your business is a useful exercise. It can bring a sense of stability and solidify key performance indicators and broad milestones that drive your business. 

Developing a long-range business plan is really just an extension of your regular business planning process. A typical business plan covers the next one to three years, documenting your target market, marketing strategy, and product or service offerings for that time period. 

A five-year plan expands off of that initial strategy and discusses what your business might do in the years to come. However, as I’ve mentioned before, creating a fully detailed five-year business plan will be a waste of time. 

Here’s a quick guide to writing a business plan that looks further into the future without wasting your time:

1. Develop your Lean Plan

As with all business planning, we recommend that you start with a lean business plan. A lean plan is a simple, one-page plan that outlines your core business strategy, target market, and business model. It gives a snapshot of what you’re hoping to achieve in the more immediate term.

A lean business plan is the foundation of all other planning because it’s the document that you’ll keep the most current. It’s also the easiest to update and share with business partners. A lean plan will typically highlight up to three years of revenue and profit goals as well as milestones that you hope to achieve in the near term.

Check out our guide to building your lean plan and download a free lean plan template to get started quickly.

2. Determine if you need a traditional business plan

Unlike a lean business plan, a traditional business plan is more detailed and is typically written in long-form prose. A traditional business plan is usually 10-20 pages long and contains details about your product or service, summaries of the market research that you’ve conducted, and details about your competition. Read our complete guide to writing a business plan .

Companies that write traditional business plans typically have a “business plan event” where a complete business plan is required. Business plan events are usually part of the fundraising process. During fundraising, lenders and investors may ask to see a detailed plan and it’s important to be ready if that request comes up. 

But there are other good reasons to write a detailed business plan. A detailed plan forces you to think through the details of your business and how, exactly, you’re going to build your business. Detailed plans encourage you to think through your business strategy, your target market, and your competition carefully. A good business plan ensures that your strategy is complete and fleshed out, not just a collection of vague ideas.

A complete business plan is also a good foundation for a long-term business plan and I recommend that you expand your lean business plan into a complete business plan if you intend to create plans for more than three years into the future.

3. Develop long-term goals and growth targets

As you work on your business plan, you’ll need to think about where you want to be in 5+ years. A good exercise is to envision what your business will look like. How many employees will you have? How many locations will you serve? Will you introduce new products and services? 

When you’ve envisioned where you want your business to be, it’s time to turn that vision into a set of goals that you’ll document in your business plan. Each section of your business plan will be expanded to highlight where you want to be in the future. For example, in your target market section, you will start by describing your initial target market. Then you’ll proceed to describe the markets that you hope to reach in 3-5 years.

To accompany your long-term goals, you’ll also need to establish revenue targets that you think you’ll need to meet to achieve your goals. It’s important to also think about the expenses you’re going to incur in order to grow your business. 

For long-range planning, I recommend thinking about your expenses in broad buckets such as “marketing” and “product development” without getting bogged down in too much detail. Think about what percentage of your sales you’ll spend on each of these broad buckets. For example, marketing spending might be 20% of sales. 

4. Develop a 3-5 year strategic plan

Your goals and growth targets are “what” you want to achieve. Your strategy is “how” you’re going to achieve it.

Use your business plan to document your strategy for growth. You might be expanding your product offering, expanding your market, or some combination of the two. You’ll need to think about exactly how this process will happen over the next 3-5 years. 

A good way to document your strategy is to use milestones. These are interim goals that you’ll set to mark your progress along the way to your larger goal. For example, you may have a goal to expand your business nationally from your initial regional presence. You probably won’t expand across the country all at once, though. Most likely, you’ll expand into certain regions one at a time and grow to have a national presence over time. Your strategy will be the order of the regions that you plan on expanding into and why you pick certain regions over others.

Your 3-5 year strategy may also include what’s called an “exit strategy”. This part of a business plan is often required if you’re raising money from investors. They’ll want to know how they’ll eventually get their money back. An “exit” can be the sale of your business or potentially going public. A typical exit strategy will identify potential acquirers for your business and will show that you’ve thought about how your business might be an attractive purchase.

5. Tie your long-term plan to your lean plan

As your business grows, you can use your long-term business plan as your north star. Your guide for where you want to end up. Use those goals to steer your business in the right direction, making small course corrections as you need to. 

You’ll reflect those smaller course corrections in your lean plan. Because your lean plan is a simple document and looks at the shorter term, it’s easier to update. The best way to do this is to set aside a small amount of time to review your plan once a month. You’ll review your financial forecast, your milestones, and your overall strategy. If things need to change, you can make those adjustments. Nothing ever goes exactly to plan, so it’s OK to make corrections as you go.

You may find that your long-term plan may also need corrections as you grow your business. You may learn things about your market that change your initial assumptions and impacts your long-range plan. This is perfectly normal. Once a quarter or so, zoom out and review your long-range plan. If you need to make corrections to your strategy and goals, that’s fine. Just keep your plan alive so that it gives you the guidance that you need over time. 

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Vision setting is the purpose of long-term planning

Part of what makes entrepreneurs special is that they have a vision. They have dreams for where they want their business to go. A 5-year business plan should be about documenting that vision for the future and how your business will capitalize on that vision.

So, if someone asks you for your 5-year business plan. Don’t scramble to put together a sales forecast and budget for 5 years from now. Your best guess today will be obsolete tomorrow. Instead, focus on your vision and communicate that. 

Explain where you think your business is going and what you think the market is going to be like 5 years from now. Explain what you think customers are going to want and where trends are headed and how you’re going to be there to sell the solution to the problems that exist in 5 and 10 years. Just skip the invented forecasts and fantasy budgets.

If you’re looking for a better way to explore your business’s future, you may want to check out LivePlan . LivePlan makes it easy to build and update your strategic Lean Plan, set milestones, and connect them to your financial statements. You can better plan for the future by exploring potential scenarios and easily update forecasts based on actual performance. Explore how LivePlan can help you more effectively manage your business while connecting your short-term plans to your long-term vision

AvatarNoah Parsons

Noah Parsons

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Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. You can follow Noah on Twitter .

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Five-year business plan: why you need one and how to write it

Kaylin sullivan.

Many founders roll their eyes at the idea of forecasting the growth of their business for the next five years. However, having a clear plan that sets out your ambitious yet realistic growth targets can help get investors on board.

In this article, we’ll reveal why you need to write a five-year business plan with tips from Anthony Rose, SeedLegals’ CEO and serial entrepreneur.

What is a five-year business plan?

Do you actually need a five-year business plan, who is a five-year business plan for, how to write a five-year business plan, five business plan tips from anthony rose, final thoughts.

A five-year business plan gives an overview of what a business does, what it intends to do and how it plans to do it.

It includes everything from vision statements to market research, strategic planning and financial forecasts. The five-year plan helps prospective investors get an idea of whether they feel a business has long term potential.

Founders and investors both know that a five-year business plan includes some artistic licence. You don’t know exactly how things are going to go. Things can take longer than you expect and the economic landscape can shift overnight.

However, there’s still plenty of value in a five-year business plan. If you get your numbers right, you can use the business plan to show investors why they should invest in you and how they could see a return on their time and money.

Your five-year plan is also necessary if you’re applying for SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance . HMRC needs to see a three or five-year business plan in your pitch deck so they can be confident that you actually plan to grow the business.

In the startup space, a five-year business plan is especially useful for founders and investors.

It helps founders strategise how their business is going to work and shows investors how they might get a return on their investment.

Founders can use the business plan to align on the direction of travel with other senior members of the team.

Investors see the five-year business plan as a measure of the market opportunity for the business. If the opportunity looks good, investors are more likely to want to get involved.

It’s a good idea to create two versions of your business plan: a detailed version and a compact general overview.

A detailed plan that covers all aspects of your business can help you gain clarity and refine your goals.

Once you’re clear on what you want to do, the general overview shows investors what your plans are in a digestible way.

What to include in your detailed five-year business plan

The purpose of your five-year plan is to explain the who, what, why and, most importantly, the how behind your company’s plans. The detailed version of your plan should include:

Once you have that, you can condense it into a general overview.

What to include in your general overview

Creating a general overview helps you to convey the most important information about your business in a concise manner.

When dealing with investors, your time is limited. No investor wants to go through a 20-page business plan. They want to cut to the chase, and founders need to be prepared to accommodate them.

Based on feedback from founders who’ve been through funding rounds themselves, we recommend that you condense your detailed five-year plan into the following:

Your pitch deck for investors should include the line graph, SWOT analysis and executive summary. HMRC will also want to see this info when you apply for SEIS/EIS.

In your pitch, you’ll need to describe your business and point out your business goals, but you don’t need to include all of the finer details from your in-depth business plan at this stage. The financials spreadsheet doesn’t need to be in your pitch deck. It’s only for later on when you meet with investors.

It’s worth having a look at some pitch deck examples for inspiration.

What to include in your line graph

The purpose of the graph is to depict your projected growth in revenue at a glance.

The number of years you show depends on your business’ initial growth rate. If it’s going to take a few years before you generate revenue because you have complex product development to do, you’ll want to forecast far enough into the future to show when the exponential growth happens.

The graph should include:

What to include in your financials spreadsheet

This is your opportunity to break down every financial detail behind what’s depicted in the line graph. Your spreadsheet should include:

The more information the better. This is what you’re going to present to investors once they’ve expressed interest in your pitch.

What you present will be a significant factor in whether they invest in you or not. Here’s an idea of what your spreadsheet might look like.

Image source: Brixx

SeedLegals CEO Anthony Rose has been through a fair amount of funding rounds and seen hundreds of pitch decks himself. In the video below, he offers his insights on “The art of the five-year business plan”.

We’ve put Anthony’s thoughts from the video into a written breakdown below to help you digest the information. 

1. Show the potential for ROI

Showing your ambition goes beyond an inspiring vision statement. It’s about creating hype through numbers – the real, grounded kind of hype that makes investors feel excited and confident that the goals can be achieved.

A five-year business plan that’s going to close investments needs to show the founder’s ambitions to grow the business exponentially. The investor is going to want to see that making this investment is worth their while.

Many founders are satisfied with a modest approach. The fact that they can create a good, profitable business that will add value to its market and pay the salaries and bills that need to be paid is what makes them happy.

But an investor might see it as a “hobby business” if you’re not ambitious enough. Your five-year business plan needs to include financial projections that show a steady, exponential increase in your revenue (which means the same for their ROI).

An investor is going to want to see a massive return on investment. In five years they’re going to want to see a 10x or a 50x return on the investment to make it worthwhile, given the risks involved. Anthony Rose Co-founder & CEO, SeedLegals

2. Don’t overpromise

The key here is to get your five-year number just right. Your graph should show a steady increase in revenue, but not at an unachievable rate.

If you’re not delivering on the numbers you projected at the get-go, you’ll have unhappy investors and a lot of changes to make. You will most likely have trouble getting investors on board in the first place if you’re projecting growth at a statistically unlikely rate.

Seeing that founders can run the numbers is an important measure for investors. If the numbers aren’t connecting from one year to the next, or you appear to be losing money altogether, investors aren’t going to have a whole lot of faith in you running your business well.

3. Use the unicorn formula

Before we dive into the formula, it will help to know that a company is classified as a unicorn if it is valued at US$1 billion or more (around £800 million).

The unicorn formula is the growth pathway to becoming a unicorn company, and it goes like this: triple, triple, triple, double, double.

So what does that mean for your five-year business plan? It means that if you can create a graph projecting financial growth at a rate of tripling year-on-year revenue for three years and doubling it for two, you’re on a good, steady growth path towards becoming a unicorn.

At a rate of 10x revenue for your valuation, reaching that (roughly) £100 million in revenue after five years would classify your company as a unicorn.

Not every company intends to become a unicorn, however, so how does this apply if that’s you? Well, the golden nugget in this formula is the rate of growth it suggests. It’s ambitious and steady, which will appeal to investors. So even if you’re not aiming for a unicorn valuation, applying the formula to your financial forecasting will still be beneficial.

The line graph below depicts a hypothetical business’s revenue according to the unicorn formula rate. It’s the shape of the line that’s important here – this is the shape of a healthy growth rate.

4. Spreadsheet the numbers

We covered this in the section on how to write a five-year business plan, so make sure you read and re-read that section. In case you missed it, though, we’ll reiterate the point here.

The most important part of your meetings with investors is presenting a robust breakdown of your company’s financials. Make sure you keep an up-to-date spreadsheet that details current and future income and expenditure.

5. Be honest about where you are now

Be fully transparent about where your business’s revenue is now. Don’t allow for disparity between what is displayed in the graph on your pitch deck and the revenue your business is making today.

Make sure your financial forecasting is up-to-date and begins with where you stand currently. Make sure you update it regularly so you remain confident and transparent whenever you meet with investors.

The five-year business plan still has value. It will help with procuring investment and getting your SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance from HMRC.

The key takeaway is to get your financials just right. Show ambition, grow steadily and be transparent. First-hand advice from people who have been there and done that is extremely valuable, so turn to expert input for help.

At SeedLegals, we have a team of experts who can help you with all the nuances involved in starting and growing your business, so hit the chat button to get in touch. We’ll be happy to guide you and answer any questions.

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Free 5-year plan template to organize the planning process

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As a business leader, you know the decisions you make today can shape the future of the company. If you want to control that trajectory, a 5-year plan template can be a useful tool. The right template helps you organize ideas, analyze data, and prioritize the goals you want to achieve — that way, you can create a framework that informs strategic decisions and guides your company toward its ultimate growth goals.

In this article, we’ll explore the parts of a 5-year plan template and discuss how to use it in your business. Then, we’ll dive into the ways you can integrate a 5-year plan into the monday.com Work OS to create a more efficient and powerful workflow.

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What is a 5-year plan template?

A 5-year plan template is a model document that helps you map out company goals and strategies for the next 5 years. Many templates contain a variety of common sections that you can edit to reflect the goals and needs of your business:

The right structure for your 5-year plan template depends on your company’s specific goals. If you’re going after investors, for example, a traditional structure can help you meet expectations. If the plan is mostly for internal use, you can be more flexible and still reap the benefits of the template.

Why use a 5-year plan template?

A 5-year business plan provides a structure to help you think strategically about your company’s plans for the next few years. Use the preexisting headers to guide your discussions and spark new ideas; you can also add new sections to tailor the content to your business. When it’s time to write, the template helps you organize ideas and format them into a usable document that can provide a slew of benefits for your business.

Guide business decisions

A 5-year plan clarifies your company’s priorities, creating a set of strategic objectives that serves as a reference point when it’s time to make decisions or evaluate opportunities. If your priority is to build brand awareness among Gen Z customers, for example, you might jump at the chance to establish a presence on the hottest new social media platform. If you’re laser-focused on building the best management team in the industry, however, it would be easy to see that your resources are better spent elsewhere.

In addition to serving as a guidepost for major strategic initiatives, your 5-year plan can inform business decisions of all sizes. Look to it when you’re:

Enable strategic hiring and training

A solid 5-year plan makes it easier to anticipate upcoming personnel needs, so you can make strategic hiring decisions. If you have limited resources, the plan can also help you figure out which tasks require a full-time employee and which ones you can outsource.

Are you thinking about training your existing employees? To determine the courses and topics with the highest ROI, compare the skills and abilities of your workforce against the practical needs outlined in the 5-year plan. This process highlights skill gaps and exposes the most urgent training opportunities.

Stay focused on goals

A lot can happen in 5 years — managers come and go, market conditions shift, and unexpected events can arise out of nowhere. In the midst of all that change, a well-written 5-year plan is a constant. It keeps your team focused on the same long-term goals, regardless of turnover. This unified approach can ensure that you’re always making progress in the right direction.

Prepare for challenges

Writing a 5-year plan requires you to analyze the business and the industry. As you dig into available data, you gain a deeper understanding of your customers, operations, competitors, and the market itself. With that knowledge, you’re better positioned to anticipate potential challenges and roadblocks. Awareness is everything; it helps you spot early warning signs, so you can start preparing the company to adjust short-term goals and adapt quickly.

Build confidence among investors

If you’re thinking about seeking investments to fund business expansion, a 5-year plan is essential. A thorough, well-written document reassures investors that you’ve done your due diligence and demonstrates that your company is positioned to make a profit. A template can help you examine and analyze each part of the business systematically to ensure the plan addresses investors’ top concerns.

When you’re ready to grow, a professional 5-year plan template can help you woo investors.

What are some examples of 5-year plan templates?

No two companies have identical 5-year plans; the template that works best for your organization depends on the age of the business, the nature of your goal, and how you’re planning to utilize the plan.

Startup plan

A 5-year plan creates a roadmap to follow as you establish a startup, build an audience, and stake out a place in the industry. This type of template often contains lengthy sections about marketing, sales, and product or service development; it also tends to be heavy on research and analysis.

Growth and expansion plan

When your company has been in business for a few years, you might start to think about expanding. A 5-year plan helps you approach growth strategically; it’s a good way to identify the best opportunities and find ways to minimize risk. These plans often analyze competitors and discuss the costs and benefits of different growth options.

One-page plan

Whether you’re growing a startup or expanding an established business, a traditional 5-year plan contains a high level of detail. The one-page business plan  version provides a quick overview — it highlights the most important points of each section. Instead of explaining your market research and explaining how they inform each goal, for example, you could note the key findings and include a prioritized list of goals.

5-year plan template on monday.com

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Whether you’re creating a plan for an arts nonprofit or an engineering firm, the 5-Year Plan Template on monday.com can help you navigate the process. A color-coded header system enables you to organize and identify top-level sections. Within each one, you can add descriptions and build out a list of objectives, goals, manager profiles, financial projections, and other details.

The monday.com template adds an extra level of detail and functionality to your 5-year plan. For each item in a section, you can add a variety of columns that track the status of a project, identify relevant team members, designate a timeline, or set a budget. You can even add a column that links critical files to ensure easy access for all of your stakeholders. When you start working toward the goals in your plan, monday.com offers different Board Views , project management tools, and automations to streamline your workflow. Your template also integrates seamlessly with Work OS, an open platform that enables you to create and customize the tools you need to monitor and run your business.

A 5-year plan is just one of the documents you need to map out and execute a long-term business strategy. The template library at monday.com includes a variety of options to help manage your company’s growth and development.

Get started

Related templates on monday.com

Marketing plan.

If marketing plays a role in your 5-year plan, consider integrating the Marketing Plan Template  into your strategic planning sessions. With sections for different projects and columns that enable you to assign tasks and monitor progress, it can also serve as a project management tool.

Recruitment process

Manage the hiring goals in your 5-year plan with the help of the Recruitment Process Template . It tracks each applicant through the different stages of the process and enables you to track referral sources to inform your job-posting strategy. Status reports for interviews and hiring decisions ensure efficient communication between departments.

Frequently asked questions

What is a 5-year plan.

A 5-year plan is a document that outlines your company’s goals and strategies for the upcoming years. It also provides information to support the plan, such as a market analysis and financial projections.

What should I include in a 5-year plan?

When you’re writing a 5-year plan, include an executive summary, a description of the business, and an analysis of the market, company finances , competitors, and customers. Follow that up with a section that lays out the goals, objectives, and strategies your company will pursue over the next 5 years.

What are 5-year goals examples?

Examples of 5-year goals might include developing new products, expanding to a new location, or reaching new audience segments. You might also set internal goals, such as improving the company culture or building the most talented workforce in the industry.

Using the 5-year plan template for sustainable growth

As you navigate the strategic-planning process, a 5-year plan template can help organize your ideas and set thoughtful, research-backed goals. You’ll emerge with a document that guides business decisions and unites employees around a common purpose. With monday.com, you can incorporate the 5-year plan template into your Work OS to manage projects, set smaller goals, and track progress toward your high-level objectives.

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examples of 5 year business plan

3 Year Strategic Business Plan Template and Examples

How to create a 3 to 5 Year Strategic Business Plan

Four Steps to Create Your 3 Year Strategic Business Plan

5 Year Strategic Plan Examples and 3 Year Business Plan Template

Download Our Free 3-5 Year Strategic Plan Template

Check out what our expert facilitators can do for you.

Set 3-5 Year Strategic Plan Targets [Examples]

Set 3 year growth plans to define success before you start

Examples of the types of Targets and Visual KPI dashboards you will want to consider include the following:

You can add or subtract from this list to include the Targets that are most meaningful to your business.  

The one growth Target that should apply for all businesses is Revenue . We challenge you to set a Revenue Target that will allow you to 2X your business over the next 3-5 years.

Be sure to include the year you that believe you will hit those Revenue Targets so that you can hold each other accountable.  Strong 3 year strategic plans help you grow revenue and stay competitive and not caught up in the short term day to day management of your company.  Download our 3 year strategic growth initiatives template.

Determine 3-5 Strategic Ideas for Revenue Growth [Examples]

Think of strategic revenue growth initiatives that can double your top line

Strategic growth initiatives and actions enable you to double your revenue (2x) within 3-5 years. These are often the base camps in the client's quest to reach the summit of Everest in order to achieve their   BHAG   (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).

3-5 Year strategic plans do not come from Eureka moments. They are developed over time and should be reviewed every year at your   Annual Planning Session.  These 3-year strategic business plans help your company grow and sharpen your competitive advantage.  It is this business strategy that sets you apart from the competition.  We have an excellent blog on 3 year strategic plan example  for you to get your creative juices flowing.

Download our free   3-5 strategic growth initiatives tool (template) to help you double your revenue with the proven Rhythm Systems process to improve organizational performance .

BHAG

Determine 3-5 Strategic Ideas to Increase Profit [Examples]

Determine strategic profit initiatives to increase productivity

These are the strategic capabilities you’ll need to develop in order to support your growth and reach your 3-5 year Targets. These are usually operational in nature or related to your infrastructure and help you while scaling up.

Some examples of profit include:

These will be extremely specific to your company’s needs, vision statement and BHAG.  Strategy validation is an important step.

The Process to Decide and Commit to Your 3-5 Year Strategic Plan

Choose the right strategic growth initiatives with our template to get you started

Download Strategic Plan Template Here

Brainstorm your top strategic growth strategies.

Start by brainstorming a comprehensive list of at least 20 potential ways your team can think of to increase revenue. Some ideas to jump-start the revenue brainstorming process are the following:

Vote on the Top 5-8 Strategic Growth Strategies

Have the team consider each idea and vote on the top three they recommend investing time and energy in considering during your strategic planning session . Choose the top 5-8 ideas with the most votes.

How to Evaluate & Rank Your Top 5-8 Ideas

Evaluate and rank each of the top 5-8 ideas based on two scales, Revenue Impact, and Ease.

Group 244

Choose and Commit Your Top 1-3 Ideas

Select the few ideas you want to include in   your 3-5 year strategic plan . Decide what to say yes to and what to say no to. Classify each idea:

These are the steps to identify the 1-3 strategic ideas you want to include in your 3-5 year plan. Now you're ready to begin the process of developing and implementing them. 

Ready to make a breakthrough in your next strategic planning session?

Make breakthroughs in your strategic planning sessions with expert facilitators.

Download 3-5 Year  Strategic Plan Template

3-5 Year Strategic Plan to Reach Your BHAG

Your 3-5 Year Strategic Growth Plan can be viewed as a base camp on the way to the summit of your long term goal.  This can be used as a tool to align your company around a common purpose and closes the strategy execution gap .   The summit is your BHAG (or Big Hairy Audacious Goal) which is typically measured 10 to 20 years in the future, which can feel like a lifetime in today's business environment.  Your goal here is to set your Targets and identify the Strategic Growth Initiatives (Winning Moves) and Scaling Initiatives (Winning Moves for Profit) you’ll need to develop in order to hit those Targets and move in the direction of achieving your BHAG.  

Typically, you will determine your 3-5 year strategic business plan as part of your Annual Planning session , which will include your goals and objective for the year as well as outlining opportunities and threats facing your company.  We also have a great blog post on how to facilitate a strategic planning session to get the return on investment from your planning session.  We also have a great virtual strategic planning post that provides great tips on running a virtual planning session.

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18 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: December 01, 2022

Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and ensures your venture is sustainable for the long term.

Business plan sample: Image shows a hand writing a plan and a notepad.

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formal, then take a look at business plan samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

Free Business Plan Template

Fill out the form to get your free template..

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan (which may be dozens or hundreds of pages long).

Most executive summaries include:

However, many of these topics will be covered in more detail later on in the business plan, so keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important take-aways.

If you’re planning to start or expand a small business, preparing a business plan is still very crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this small business pdf to get an idea of how to create one for your business.

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example
  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be crystal clear on why you're targeting them.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you inform this component of your business plan.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to determine funding strategies, investment opportunities, etc. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others will be in charts.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline gives this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy into its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

“Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration,” explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your “Why?” In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

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[Updated 2023] How to Write a Five Year Business Plan [Best Templates Included]

[Updated 2023] How to Write a Five Year Business Plan [Best Templates Included]

Smriti Srivastava

author-user

Achieving a set of goals is challenging.

Maintaining the motivation and productivity to achieve business goals is even harder.

In the words of Yogi Berra, a big-league baseball player-turned-manager, “Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. You need to have goals, create milestones, and have a strategy in place to set yourself up for success.”

This is why everyone in the industry — from an interviewer looking to hire top talent to an entrepreneur who accomplishes goals systematically — splits their business plan into five years. A five-year business plan not only extends a generous period to attain the set targets but at the same time keeps everyone on their toes, removing procrastination.

But writing a five-year business plan can get tedious, messy, and, sometimes, take forever to hit the right spot.

Therefore, this blog will cover the essential steps to help you write a tremendous five-year business plan.

Chronology of writing a spectacular five-year business plan

It is quite simple. You cannot achieve something great when you don’t know your priorities, objectives, ways, and timeframe to achieve those targets. It is essential to build a five-year plan for your business as well as the outcomes and expectations related to it.

But where do you start?

Here are the five sections you must include in your plan:

#1 A clear company introduction

A brief yet effective overview of your business, its market, team structure, roles and responsibilities, company offerings, and value proposition builds the foundation for your future endeavors. You use a company overview to set the right tone at the beginning of your business plan, as it serves as the base and a direction for your audience.

Related read: How to Create an Attention-Grabbing Company Introduction Slide in 10 Minutes

#2 vision and mission statement.

You have to ensure your employees, stakeholders, investors, and potential clients understand what your company is all about and what you stand for. Your vision and mission statement helps you with it. It enlightens the audience about your future plans - where you see your company in five years and the results you will work to achieve.

Related read: Top 10 Mission and Vision Statement Templates to Guide Your Organizational Culture

#3 target market and branding.

State who your company is looking to serve and why. Provide clarity on your target market based on psychographics and demographics. And do not forget to mention the size of your target market. You have to create a framework for making your brand visible exponentially and simultaneously create a lead generation and conversion strategy.

Related read: Top 30 PowerPoint Templates to Analyze Dominant Market Drivers

#4 product overview.

Set clear priorities based on the distinction between your primary and secondary products. You need to connect your branding around the product or service core to your company. This categorization will help you establish the revenue your products generate and the impacts they create. Further, it will help modify your plans accordingly.

Related read: Top 10 One-Page Product Overview PowerPoint Templates to Drive Sales

#5 swot analysis.

Measuring your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the industry can help you successfully dominate the market. Therefore, your five-year business plan must include regular and timely analysis of all your business operations. There is no better way to meet targets than keeping a check on one’s activities. It will help you focus on the proprietary system of your company.

Related read: Top 50 SWOT Analysis PowerPoint Templates Used by Professionals Worldwide

Templates to nail your business plan.

Often we have countless ideas to plan our way to a successful business. But as the day-to-day grind starts, it is easy to get distracted from the end goal and stray from the path leading to our intent. We look for a north star to point us directly to our mission. So we decided to make your life a bit easier by providing our readymade and editable five-year business plan templates. You can access them below. Dive in!

Template 1: Five Year Business Plan Roadmap Template

Help your team stay on track with your future business ambitions by taking the assistance of our invigorating PowerPoint template. This content-ready template helps you visualize your work plan and present your vision impactfully. You just need to click the download link to start customizing it.

Five Year Business Plan Roadmap PowerPoint Slides

Download this template

Template 2: Key Poniters for Five Year Business Plan

Use this business plan template that includes vital pointers such as setting clear goals and objectives, conducting market research and competitor analysis, developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, creating financial projections, and establishing a system for measuring progress and adjusting your plan accordingly. By following a structured template and considering these essential elements, you can create a plan that sets your organization up for long-term success.

Five Year Business Plan

Template 3: Five Year Roadmap Timeline for Business Plan

Employ this professionally curated template to improve the success rate of your business. This template helps you track the progress of all your operational activities without any hassle. Also, our color-coded template makes it easy to comprehend and follow. So download this adaptable template to start adding your data effortlessly.

Five Years Roadmap Timeline For Business Plan PowerPoint Slides

Template 4: Five-Year Business Plan Roadmap with Operations and Functions

You can utilize this template to articulate the workflow of your organization smoothly. This template allows you to write an attractive executive summary of your business operations and functions. Download the template and start assembling your key milestones immediately. Click the link below!

Five Years Business Plan Roadmap With Operations And Functions Templates

Template 5: Five Year Milestones Template

Outline the timeline for achieving future goals with the help of this template. Our experts have designed this PowerPoint template to help you summarize your vision, mission, targets, and timeframe in an easily accessible format. Grasp the attention of your employees and stakeholders right away by downloading this template.

Future Timeline Five Year Milestones PowerPoint Slides

Template 6: Five-Year Roadmap for Business Planning

A comprehensive plan of action displays confidence and foresightedness. Therefore, we have curated this content-specific template to help you create a strategic roadmap for your business goals. This template distributes the target phases based on yearly milestones, thereby making it easily understandable. Grab it now!

Five Years Roadmap To Start A Business With Planning PowerPoint Templates

Template 7: Five Year Business Plan with Roadmap

Take your business to the next level with this five-year business roadmap with checkpoints. It includes sections for sales, product, operations,  and targets set for different team members. It also includes timelines and checkpoints for processes and activities. Download this editable PowerPoint Slide now to streamline your business alignment.

Five Year Business Plan with Checklist

Template 8: Five Year Business Plan With Financial Projection

Make your future financial outcomes expectations loud and clear by using this PowerPoint template. Represent your business planning elements creatively by employing this template. You can even highlight your company’s ongoing functions and practices in a structured way with the assistance of our entirely adaptable PPT template.

Five Years Roadmap Business Plan With Financial Projection PPT Templates

Template 9: Five Year Business Plan Implementation Roadmap

The success rate of business plans hugely depends on the plan of action, and this editable five years roadmap of the organization rightly serves the purpose. Encapsulate all the information related to the project in a well-structured manner to obtain maximum efficiency by incorporating this stunning PowerPoint slide. State the critical deliverable, steps involved, time frame, workforce allocation, and lots more in an easy-to-understand manner by utilizing this pre-designed roadmap layout. Download now!

Implementing five year business plan

Template 10: Five Year Business Plan with Risk Status

Select this PowerPoint template to predict your future growth. Using this PPT template, you can assess potential risks that can stunt your business development in the coming years. Revamp your venture by utilizing this template as a guiding star. Download it and start with your strategic planning right away!

Business Plan Five Year Roadmap With Risk Status PowerPoint Templates

Having a strategic roadmap for handling your business operations and objectives is the only way to go. You cannot expect high profit and returns on investment without having a clear outline for the next five years of your business. With our stunning templates, you will definitely look confident, assertive, reliable, and foresighted.

FAQs on Five-Year Business Plan

How to write a five year business plan.

Here are some key steps to consider when writing your plan:

Define your mission and vision: Start by articulating your organization's purpose and long-term goals.

Conduct market research : Analyze your industry, identify trends, and understand your target audience.

Evaluate your competition: Analyze your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, and determine how you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

Develop a marketing and sales strategy: Outline how you will reach and engage with your target audience and define your pricing strategy.

Create financial projections: Develop a comprehensive financial model that includes revenue and expense projections, as well as cash flow analysis.

Establish a system for measuring progress: Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track progress towards your goals, and create a plan for reviewing and updating your plan on a regular basis.

What is a good 5-year business plan?

A good 5-year business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines an organization's strategy for achieving its long-term goals. Here are some key elements to include in a good 5-year business plan:

Executive summary: Provide an overview of your organization's mission, vision, and goals, as well as a summary of the key elements of your plan.

Market analysis: Conduct thorough research to understand your industry, target audience, and competition.

Marketing and sales strategy: Outline how you will reach and engage with your target audience, and define your pricing strategy.

Financial projections: Develop a comprehensive financial model that includes revenue and expense projections, as well as cash flow analysis.

Organizational structure: Outline the roles and responsibilities of key personnel, and describe how your organization will be structured to achieve its goals.

Risk management: Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Performance metrics: Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track progress towards your goals, and create a plan for reviewing and updating your plan on a regular basis.

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How to Write a 5-Year Business Plan

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6 types of business plans, effective communication skills used in public relations & marketing.

A 5-year business plan will help you manage your company and seek loans or investment money. This term is familiar to most commercial loan officers and small business investors. Learning how to write an effective five year business plan helps you manage better and improves your chances of receiving the loans or investment dollars you need to succeed.

You should thoroughly understand business plan components and your company to complete a winning blueprint for success. Below are several points to consider when writing an effective 5-year business plan.

Design Your Strategic Plan

Design your strategic plan. Combine your goals with your vision for your company. Decide on the best strategies – e-commerce, retail locations, business-to-business, business-to-consumers or combinations thereof – to reach your business objectives. These will be the benchmarks for your five-year business plan

Prepare an Executive Summary

Prepare an executive summary. This section outlines your goals, objectives, strategies and your expertise in achieving the results you project. When seeking loans or investment, this is the most critical section of your business plan. You have limited time to impress a loan officer or investor, both of whom read many business plans daily. Make it brief, "hard hitting" and highly focused on achievement.

Introduce Your Management Team

Display the talent of your management team. Like a resume – only more interesting – management team biographies increase the credibility of your executive summary and all projections that follow. If you are a one-person management team, be sure to emphasize all your skills.

For example, if you are strong in technology and accounting, be sure to mention your marketing, customer relations and operations skills. If you're going to "outsource" these functions, explain how you plan to use other experts and whom you're considering.

Describe Products or Services

Describe the products or services you offer, in detail. In a five-year business plan, you should convince the reader that your products/services are marketable now and will continue to be popular in the coming years. Clearly state sound reasons that your products are currently viable and how you will react to future challenges in the market.

Create Financial Projections

Create financial projections for the next five years. Include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow estimates. For years one and two, show Income and cash flow Statements on a monthly basis. You can use quarterly projections for years three through five. If your starting a small business, you can estimate your balance sheet on a semi-annual basis because you probably expect few major changes.

Things You Will Need

Valid business idea

Popular product or service

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Write a detailed "narrative" to explain and support your financial projections. Keep your plan thorough, but clear. Exotic, colorful graphs or other additions are unnecessary in most cases. Anticipate and prepare answers for questions that may come from readers. Spend more time researching and studying your market than writing the plan.

Don't fill your plan with unnecessary or subjective text or numbers. Readers want you to stay "on point" and focused. Never exaggerate or dramatically overestimate financial results. Your plan quickly loses credibility.

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14+ 5-Year Strategic Plan Examples – PDF

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5 Year IT Strategic Plan Template

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5 Year Plan Template Example

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Initial and Important Things to Know about 5-Year Strategic Plan Development

Campus farm 5-year strategic plan example.

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Parks 5-Year Strategic Plan Example

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Importance of Knowing the Current Condition of the Business When Making a 5-Year Strategic Plan

Community churches 5-year strategic plan example.

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School of Technology Management 5-Year Strategic Plan Example

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Do You Want to Have an Effective 5-Year Strategic Plan?

Department of economic security 5-year strategic plan example.

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5-Year Strategic Plan for the Environment and Natural Resources Sector Example

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Hospital 5-Year Strategic Plan Example

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Tips and Suggestions in Developing a 5-Year Strategic Plan

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  1. How to Write a Five-Year Business Plan [2022 Guide]

    Explain where you think your business is going and what you think the market is going to be like 5 years from now. Explain what you think

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    A 5-Year Business Plan Template may help you create clear goals for your professional development, financial position, or personal improvement, regardless of

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    A 5-year business plan will help you manage your company and get loans. This term is familiar to most loan officers and small business investors.

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    As an example, a five-year term restaurant strategic plan is important for restaurant businesses to know how they can brand themselves in a way that they can be