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Making a Risk Management Plan for Your Business

It’s impossible to eliminate all business risk. Therefore, it’s essential for having a plan for its management. You’ll be developing one covering compliance, environmental, financial, operational and reputation risk management. These guidelines are for making a risk management plan for your business.

Developing Your Executive Summary

When you start the risk management plan with an executive summary, you’re breaking apart what it will be compromised of into easy to understand chunks. Even though this summary is the project’s high-level overview, the goal is describing the risk management plan’s approach and scope. In doing so, you’re informing all stakeholders regarding what to expect when they’re reviewing these plans so that they can set their expectations appropriately.

Who Are the Stakeholders and What Potential Problems Need Identifying?

During this phase of making the risk management plan, you’re going to need to have a team meeting. Every member of the team must be vocal regarding what they believe could be potential problems or risks. Stakeholders should also be involved in this meeting as well to help you collect ideas regarding what could become a potential risk. All who are participating should look at past projects, what went wrong, what is going wrong in current projects and what everyone hopes to achieve from what they learned from these experiences. During this session, you’ll be creating a sample risk management plan that begins to outline risk management standards and risk management strategies.

Evaluate the Potential Risks Identified

A myriad of internal and external sources can pose as risks including commercial, management and technical, for example. When you’re identifying what these potential risks are and have your list complete, the next step is organizing it according to importance and likelihood. Categorize each risk according to how it could impact your project. For example, does the risk threaten to throw off timelines or budgets? Using a risk breakdown structure is an effective way to help ensure all potential risks are effectively categorized and considered. Use of this risk management plan template keeps everything organized and paints a clear picture of everything you’re identifying.

Assign Ownership and Create Responses

It’s essential to ensure a team member is overseeing each potential risk. That way, they can jump into action should an issue occur. Those who are assigned a risk, as well as the project manager, should work as a team to develop responses before problems arise. That way, if there are issues, the person overseeing the risk can refer to the response that was predetermined.

Have a System for Monitoring

Having effective risk management companies plans includes having a system for monitoring. It’s not wise to develop a security risk management or compliance risk management plan, for example, without having a system for monitoring. What this means is there’s a system for monitoring in place to ensure risk doesn’t occur until the project is finished. In doing so, you’re ensuring no new risks will potentially surface. If one does, like during the IT risk management process, for example, your team will know how to react.


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Entrepreneurs Gateway

The Definitive Business Plan Hub - Complete With Tool Kit & Step by Step Guides

Free templates, 500+ examples. get your professional-looking business plan today.

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Need a business plan? Whether you're looking to start a business, raise capital, or sell your business, we have a complete tool kit for you.

Looking to map out your new business vision, provide direction to an existing business or attract investment?

You’ll need a business plan.

Lucky for you, the Definitive Business Plan Hub will walk you through all the necessary steps so you can create a business plan for any industry and any situation.

Ready, set… go!

Need help or advice? This is the ultimate hub for Business Plans, knowledge and resources.

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Before you make a start on your business plan using our downloadable templates, we recommend you first spend a few minutes reading some of our articles.

It’ ll save you a lot of work in the long-run – and there are links in each section of this hub.

In this section of the Business Plan Hub, you’ll discover more about :

Check out our articles below…

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Whether you need to create a simple business plan or one that goes into greater detail, this section has you covered.

Each article in this hub has everything you need to put together a professional-looking business plan — even if you’ve never created one before.

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For some, the financial elements of a business plan are the most intimidating. After all, like most business owners, you may not have attended business school or have a degree in accounting.

This section gives you a complete breakdown of what you need to include when it comes to your financials. You’ll be able to complete each section with ease and present it with confidence.

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In this section, there are 500+ real-life examples of business plans from different sectors, designed to give you a wealth of time-saving ideas and inspiration.

All you have to do is use them as a template and adapt them to your needs . This is guaranteed to save you a tonne of time!

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What is a Leveraged Buyout (LBO) How does it work?

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Business Loans: Advantages, Disadvantages & How to Qualify

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Gateway Program

From idea to traction.

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Working to turn a business idea into a reality, means making many tough decisions, questioning estimations and crunching numbers. It’s tough to know if you’ve considered all you should in your planning, and if you need help, sometimes it’s tough to figure out exactly what help you need. For those who are forging ahead and working to turn an idea into a business, SDSI can help.

Our new Gateway Program takes business knowledge from conceptual to real world.  With this program you gain access to the SDSI Business Plan Template and see firsthand how entrepreneurs in the launch and growth phases of their business structure their plans.  You’ll also receive one-on-one guidance from an SDSI mentor, and have the opportunity for introductions to SDSI service providers who are vetted experts in their fields. 

How Does It Work?

It Starts With the Application…

To get started, fill out the application below. The SDSI team will review your application and respond with next steps.

What Can I Expect?

A window into real world business planning - Once your application be approved, you’ll have access to the SDSI Business Plan Template Deck to aid you in your planning, and you’ll be invited to attend one of our Accelerator Program milestone panels. At this panel you’ll see how real companies in growth phases are using the SDSI template to present their business plans. You’ll see them present, refine their pitches and answer targeted questions from seasoned industry veterans. Accelerator Milestone Panels happen 8 times per year, spread roughly 6 weeks apart and you can choose to join the panel date that best fits your schedule.

One-on-one guidance from an experienced business veteran - We’ll pair you with an SDSI mentor to set-up a one hour meeting or call. You can use this time to debrief about what you saw at the Accelerator Milestone panel, ask questions and get advice to help guide your business plans. We’ll pull from our pool of over 80 mentors to match you with a seasoned expert that can address your business objectives. Also, should you have a specific professional need, we can make introductions to vetted service providers who supporting growing businesses.

What Does It Cost?

It’s free to apply to the Gateway Program. Once you’re accepted, the fee for participation is $125.

What Does It Include?

SDSI Business Plan Template Deck

Attendance at one Accelerator Milestone Panel to view business plan presentations from actual companies in growth stages

An hour long one-on-one with an SDSI mentor

Want more details?

Download the Gateway Program Agreement here.

Have questions?

Email [email protected]

Fill out the form below to start the conversation and see if our gateway program is a good fit for you.

Thank you for your interest in our Gateway program - you should hear back from us shortly.

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Writing a business plan

You'll need to write a business plan if your business is looking to raise funding:

What to include in your business plan

When writing a business plan you should include:

You can find a template business plan on the Business Gateway website .

Company details

This section of your business plan should include details of your business's trading address.

You should also include any professional advisors your business uses, for example an accountant or solicitor.

Limited companies

If your business is a limited company, you'll also need to include details of your registered offices and company number.

Executive summary

An executive summary should give an overview of each section of your business plan.

It's the part potential funders will read to decide if they're interested in reading your entire plan.

It's important your executive summary is well written to capture the interest of potential funders.

Information about your business

This section of your business plan will give a summary of:

Potential funders, like banks and investors, will look at this section to see how your business has performed in the past. They'll also want to see if your business is using the best practices for the future.

Your business's 'operations' are the way it makes and prepares a product or service.

This section of your plan should give details on things like:

You should also include details if your business owns intellectual property on any processes or patents on any technologies.

Potential funders will use this section to see if your business can sell products or services in a form customers will like, as this could make your business successful.

Who manages your business

You'll need to give details of who is involved in managing your business.

This will be different for every business. For example, you could be managing a business on your own, or it could have an entire management team.

In particular, funders will be interested in finding out if you or the other people managing your business have the correct skills and experience to deliver your business plan.

You should give details of anyone involved in managing your business, including their:

Businesses with management teams

If your business has a management team you should also give details of the team structure and any lines of reporting.

Information on products or services

This section of your business plan should describe what your business sells.

This will include details of any:

You should try to describe your products or services as specifically as possible.

You might also want to include photographs, diagrams or illustrations.

Businesses selling more than one product or service

You should give details of all the products or services your business sells. This will help potential funders to see if your new product or service either complements or adds diversity to your existing business.

Giving details of all your products or services will help potential funders to see these opportunities and might improve your chance of getting funding.

Your market and customers

You should give details of the expected market for your products and services. This means who you think will want to use or buy what your business produces.

This should include:

When describing how you think the market will grow, try to reference an independent source, for example regulatory bodies or recognised industry experts.

This section should also explain how your business will get past any problems that could prevent you from reaching your market, like supplier problems.

Your competitors

You should give details of any products, services or providers you expect to be your main competitors.

Include products or services that you know are currently being developed. You should try to show how your business's own product or service is different and why customers will choose yours.

How you will sell your product or service

You should also use this section to detail your business's sales strategy.

This will include your plan for:

Financial summary and funding requirements

Your financial summary helps potential funders understand the opportunity they have by giving funding to your business.

It will include information on your business's historical performance – your profit/loss and balance sheet. It should also include your financial forecasts for the next 3 years – your cash flow, profit/loss and balance sheet.

Your financial forecasts should detail any assumptions you have made and how your business will respond to changes in your forecast, such as if you sell more or less.

For example if you've made the assumption your turnover will grow, you could say if this is because of market growth or price rises.

You can use information from other parts of your business plan to support your assumptions.

Funding requirements

This section of your business plan gives information on:

You should explain what you need the funding for and how it will benefit your business.

If your company has applied for funding from a range of sources you should include details of this. For example, a bank loan of £5,000 or grant funding of £2,500.

Further help

You can find more information on writing business plans on the Business Gateway website .

You can also find general help and advice for businesses on the:

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Business plan templates

From competitive analysis to financial projections, business plans give your new business a roadmap for success. Download one of our free business plan templates and take your company to the next level.

Ecommerce Business Plan Template

Ecommerce Business Plan Template

Accounting Firm Business Plan

Accounting Firm Business Plan

Campground Business Plan Template

Campground Business Plan Template

<strong>Firewood Business Plan</strong>

Firewood Business Plan

Funeral Home Business Plan

Funeral Home Business Plan

Community Center Business Plan

Community Center Business Plan

Gas Station Business Plan

Gas Station Business Plan

Beauty Supply Store Business Plan

Beauty Supply Store Business Plan

Flower Shop Business Plan Template

Flower Shop Business Plan Template

Electrical Contractor Business Plan

Electrical Contractor Business Plan

Car Dealership Business Plan

Car Dealership Business Plan

Farm Business Plan

Farm Business Plan

Consultant Business Plan Template

Consultant Business Plan Template

Construction Company Business Plan

Construction Company Business Plan

Fashion Business Plan Template

Fashion Business Plan Template

Daycare Business Plan

Daycare Business Plan

Convenience Store Business Plan

Convenience Store Business Plan

Startup Business Plan Template

Startup Business Plan Template

We offer you the steps and the tools to create a fantastic business plan. Attract investors with this sleek and free startup business plan template.

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

This business plan template is a great tool for your startup to customize to reflect your strong qualifications, experienced team, and marketable business idea.

Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Looking for investors and permits for your new cafe? Use this free Coffee Shop Business Plan Template to get all your cups in a row.

Salon Business Plan Template

Salon Business Plan Template

You’re finally ready to open your own salon. This salon business plan template and tips will help guide you how to present your salon as a sound investment.

Restaurant Business Plan Template

Restaurant Business Plan Template

Always dreamed of starting a restaurant? This free restaurant business plan template is your first step in making your dream a legal, planned reality.

Bakery Business Plan Template

Bakery Business Plan Template

You’re ready to go out on your own to share your fabulous breads and pastries with the world. This free bakery business plan template is just what you need to get going.

Hotel Business Plan Template

Hotel Business Plan Template

Think you have the solution for local tourism? Kick off your hotels empire with this free hotel business plan template to assure investors and guests.

Executive Summary Template

Executive Summary Template

Your potential investors are spending the most time reading one part of your business plan. Use this executive summary template to make your business idea shine.

Business Letter Template

Business Letter Template

You want to make your company shine in all ways and certainly folks judge a book by it’s cover. Use this Business Letter Template to put your best face forward.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that helps small business owners determine the viability of their business idea. Combining market research and financial analysis, a professional business plan helps startup CEOs and potential investors determine if the company can compete in the target market.

Typically, a good business plan consists of the following:

Every section involved in a business plan is designed to help startup businesses reach their target market.

A business plan asks founders and entrepreneurs to detail their business strategy in a step-by-step process that makes sense from an operational perspective. This is essential if a startup is seeking a business loan or an investment from a venture capital firm.

However, even small businesses that are already economically viable can benefit from creating a business plan, since it encourages business owners and their management teams to examine their business model and reevaluate the best ways to reach their target customers.

Should I use a business plan template?

Yes.  If you’ve never written one, a business plan can be challenging to write.

Creating a successful plan that you can use to grow your small business can require weeks of market analysis and financial preparation. You may spend time using Microsoft Excel or Powerpoint in order to create documentation which better supports our operational decisions.

However, almost every professional business plan is structured in the same way and most ask for the same information. Because of this, using a business plan template is advisable to save time, money, and effort.

Business plan templates for free

Rather than spending time trying to figure out how to write a business plan , use a free template as a guide to completion.

Business plan templates from PandaDoc can help you reach an effective go-to-market strategy even faster by asking you to provide all the relevant information you need when creating an effective business plan.

Grab a free template to get started!

Frequently asked questions

How many pages should my business plan be.

This depends on the kind of business plan you need to write and how you intend to use the plan that you create.

For example, a plan for a small business seeking potential investors or a business loan will need to provide income statements, cash flow statements, and a balance sheet (usually for a three-year or five-year forecast period).

These financial statements can be omitted if a small business owner isn’t seeking funding and is instead planning to use their business plan as a guiding document for themselves and their management team members.

Some business plans may only run a few pages. Fully-developed business plans can be as long as 50 pages. Much of this depends on the type of business, the operational strategy, and the level of detail that goes into developing the business plan.

Who needs a business plan?

Every business should have a business plan. This is an essential guidance document for any founder or CEO.

Good business plans help a company determine the viability of its place in the market and can help the business develop better strategies for differentiating itself from its competitors.

Business planning also forces business owners to evaluate their marketing strategy, the cost of customer acquisition and retention, and how they plan to grow their business over time.

What is the best business plan template?

Business plans come in all shapes and sizes. The best business plan template for your business is one that you understand and that matches the size and legal structure of your operation.

If you’re a sole proprietor, a business plan template designed for a big corporation probably doesn’t make sense. However, a business plan that helps you build an effective roadmap to grow your business while protecting your intellectual property is a good starting point.

PandaDoc offers specialized business plan templates for common industries along with tips to help you get started with business planning.

Should I hire someone to write my business plan for me?

No. You’ll find freelance writers and business strategy companies out there who are happy to write your business plan for a fee.  These resources can guide you through the process, but you should write (or be heavily involved in) the creation of your business plan.

The reason for this is simple: You know the most about your business, and your business needs you to succeed.

A writer can work with you to make your business plan sound better to investors, and a consultant can help you fill in knowledge gaps — like how to conduct a SWOT analysis — and point out weaknesses in your plan. But, at the end of the day, you need to use the business plan to pitch investors and run your business.

Those ideas and guiding principles aren’t something you can outsource.

Should I use business planning software?

Software isn’t required when creating an effective business plan. Most business planning software is designed to help you navigate the outlining and writing process more effectively.

You don’t need software to write a professional business plan, but a solid template can help you get started. Download a free template from PandaDoc today and take your business to the next level.

Get started with PandaDoc today

No credit card required

Fingers Stairs

More From Forbes

Business plan template: a step-by-step guide for entrepreneurs.

What should be in your business plan?

Creating a business plan is a key part of starting any business venture. Even if you’ll never use it in this format for attracting investors and raising capital, it can be vital for helping all entrepreneurs to ask and think through essential questions.

Nowadays business plans are used as an internal roadmap for the execution of the company since pitch decks have taken over when it comes to fundraising required materials.  For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel ( see it here ) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million ( see it here ).

Don’t skip this part of the process. Though, do not let it become a distraction and slow you down from creating an actual business either.

For key insights on the why, when and how to create a business plan, and emerging alternatives for startups versus small businesses, see my Forbes article on How To Create A Business Plan .

There are many variations of business plans today. Especially, with the rapid growth of lean startups. A few minutes on Google will provide plenty of free business plan template options. The following is adapted from the SCORE Association’s recommended outline of categories, which covers most of the bases for exactly what to include in your business plan.

Executive Summary

This is the most critical part of your business planning. If you never flesh out a full business plan, make sure you create a fantastic executive summary. This brings together all of the key elements of your plan and will often be the make or break document which decides whether commercial lenders or investors will have any interest in seeing the rest of your documentation or pursuing a relationship with you. For additional guidance, you may want to review the Executive Summary Template that I recently covered on Forbes as well.

Company Description

This section provides a further overview of your company now.

Products & Services

List what products and services your company has been formed to create. How are you solving the main problem and are serving the community with your business?

Marketing Plan

This is another section which is an absolute must-have, even if you never develop a fully fledged business plan in its entirety. This holds key information that all financiers and potential investors are going to want to know. Even if you hope to just get away with using a pitch deck to raise the capital you need.

This is also a vital guide for yourself as a founder, and for your growing team as to what needs to be done and how.

Every minute invested in this section can pay great dividends over the longer term.

For further guidance on this section, you may want to review the piece on Forbes with the title How To Create A Marketing Plan . 

Operational Plan

This is your opportunity to organize and demonstrate your understanding of this industry and business.

Management & Organization

This section of your business plan will help you to identify your own needs, and demonstrate to investors and other licensing bodies and agencies that you are the team to get this job done.

It basically shows your management and industry experience and who will do what.

Financial Plan

Provide an honest snapshot of where you are and where you reasonably hope to go, providing you secure the funding you need.

In this section you may also be including startup cost and capitalization requirements, or funding and loan requests.

Startup costs should be thorough, have some additional cushion built in, and focus on development of physical product or intellectual property and growth. Not what you want to pay yourself as a salary.

If fundraising, be sure to include a repayment schedule for any loans, use of funds, runway to follow up fundraising rounds, and the milestones you expect to achieve by then.

Include all other information, references and required documentation here.

This will typically include:

Stay Flexible

Just like your first attempt at coding a website, practicing your pitch, or riding a bike, it’s not going to be perfect. Do your best. Get outside input from an expert. Just don’t wait until you think your business plan is perfectly polished and cannot possible go any further in depth. Otherwise, chances are you will have missed your window of opportunity by a long way.

It is also crucial to understand that nothing in this document is set in stone. Pretty much everything will absolutely change over time. Roles will change, marketing will change, financial projections will change, and your product and service menu can change.

Having raised money for startups, exited them, and after interviewing many of the most successful founders and angel investors on the DealMakers Podcast , I’ve got to experience both the struggles and wins in startup life. Things change rapidly overnight and for this reason you need to adapt quickly to the market and change whatever is required. 

This is a great guide and exercise. It’s a gateway to getting to the next step. Get it done, start taking action and stay flexible.

Creating a business plan remains a valuable part of launching any new business venture. Formats and business plan templates may have evolved, and new documents like pitch decks are becoming even more important.

Though without going through this process many entrepreneurs will find they have huge gaps in their ideas and may fall short when it comes to fielding questions from serious investors. Using this template you will cover most of the bases and will be able to take the next steps with confidence.

Alejandro Cremades


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Business Plan

Creating and managing a realistic business plan can help you secure finance and funding and measure success

Download your free business plan template

Financial Projection

Financial projections are key management tool for any business and are an essential tool when fundraising.

Access a guide to Financial Projections which covers the process of creating a financial model

Market Insights

Whatever stage you are at in your business journey, in this fast paced business environment, it is crucial that you have the latest market knowledge to help you make informed decisions.

Source market intelligence relevant to your company

Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan will help you to analyse where your business is currently, where you’d like it to be, and help you establish the bit in between: how to get there. 

Your guide to creating a marketing plan

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Recent research shows that spending an extra £100 a year with local business can inject millions into the local economy and so we a developed a trade local online directory. I t only takes a few minutes to register your business and could help grow your customer outreach. 

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Free and available 24/7, our online tutorial series offers you advice & tips on the likes of paid advertising, cyber resilience & digital marketing.

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Government of B.C.

Business Planning

The restaurant industry is a dynamic, fast-paced one that requires careful planning. On this page, you’ll find information on business planning, business structure, and why it's important to plan your menu early.

Create a business plan

Your restaurant’s success will depend on your knowledge of the industry, your finances, and your customers.

Before you invest, start with a business plan that contains a realistic assessment of costs and profits to make sure your business is viable.

Check out these resources from Small Business BC :

Do your research:

Decide on your restaurant type. Different business types may result in different costs and requirements as you work toward opening day. Things to consider include:

Demographic information can also be invaluable to help plan and evaluate your business idea. For market and statistical information in B.C., see:

For more support, contact the business planning advisory services from Small Business BC.

Choose a business structure

Decide which business structure is most appropriate for you: a sole proprietorship, partnership, or incorporation.

Each structure has different legal and financial implications. To learn about the advantages and disadvantage of each, visit the Business Structures Information Sheet from Small Business BC .

A lawyer or chartered accountant can also help you determine which structure is most appropriate for you.

Plan your menu

Planning your menu early is beneficial for several reasons:

Find required permits and licences

Visit BizPaL to generate a list of the permits and licences you may need to start your restaurant based on your location.

Restaurants are heavily regulated in British Columbia, for health and safety reasons. Having a clear idea of the requirements can help you plan ahead and avoid delays.

Get Help With Planning

The following organizations can offer more support as you plan your restaurant business.

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