business project plan template

Project planning templates for project management

Use project planning templates to get your project going faster. Organize tasks and milestones while facilitating communication by using templates product development, marketing, business plans, goals, and employee onboarding.

What are project planning templates?

Templates provide frameworks that follow best practices for specific types of projects and help you plan and manage them from beginning to end.

Simple project planning

Track progress and take notes on a calendar with an easy-to-use project planning template.

Agile project planning

Plot milestones and tasks and use charts with this agile project planning template.

Product development and launch

Plan every stage of a new product launch with this project planning template.

Project goals and objectives

Break a large project down into smaller goals with this project goals and objectives template so you achieve every milestone on time.

Benefits of project planning templates

Discover how templates help you achieve the objectives of any project.

Ready to get started?

Two workers in a warehouse looking at a tablet.

Ramp up fast

Skip building and formatting plans for entire projects from the ground up. Just download project planning templates.

See and share information

Get an in-depth view of project status and easily communicate it with your team.

Stay on task and on track

Manage tasks and milestones throughout your project timeline.

Keep track of resources

Know where you stand at all times with employees and outside contractors.

Adapt as needed

Assess and adjust on the fly with easy-to-edit templates.

Essential reading about project planning

Explore resources that will help you save time and achieve your goals for every project, from kickoff to final reporting.


The project manager’s guide to planning a perfect project


5 project management tools to save time and money


How to pick a cloud-based project planning solution

Explore microsoft project.

Discover a powerful yet simple project management tool to plan, manage, and deliver work effortlessly—from one-time projects to large initiatives.

Frequently asked questions

A project planning template is a document that follows a standard format based on the type of project and helps define the scope and objectives with a list of essential elements such as stakeholders, scope, timelines, estimated costs, and methods of communication with team members.

Project planning templates let you quickly start new projects, set organizational standards, and facilitate processes.

It’s relatively easy to find free project planning templates online that are available for download. There are project planning templates built into many apps such as Microsoft Project .

Project plan templates actually do much more than help you plan a project. They help you manage it, track information such as costs and timelines, and lets you see the big picture and communicate important information to people on your team.

There are many different types of project planning templates. Chances are the type of project or project management style you use will have planning templates. These range from Agile to Scrum and Kanban to Waterfall and everywhere in-between.

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Blog Graphic Design

30+ Project Plan Examples to Visualize Your Strategy (2024)

By Bronwyn Kienapple , Jan 24, 2024

Before you embark on any project, it’s a good idea to start with a plan. Specifically, a project plan. It’s even more important if you’re trying to better communicate with managers, clients, employees and more.

Why not just make a roadmap in Excel or Word and call it a day? Well, you could, but the end result will be pretty lackluster.

Not sure where to start? This guide will offer you tips for designing an engaging project plan and a bunch of creative project plan templates to help you along the way.

Project plan examples (click to jump ahead):

What is a project plan, what are the key elements of a project plan.

  • Project plan templates for PDF and PowerPoint
  • Project timeline templates
  • Simple project plan templates
  • Project schedule templates
  • Project checklist templates
  • Project status report templates
  • Work plan templates
  • Process map templates
  • Marketing project plan templates
  • Nonprofit strategic plan templates
  • Process mapping in healthcare
  • Marketing plan templates for financial services

Project plan design best practices

  • Project plan examples from the business world

Project plan FAQs

A project plan is an essential document for keeping a project on track. In your project plan, you identify the scope, goals, deliverables and deadlines of your project.

Here’s one example of a project plan in a timeline format:

business project plan template

A project plan should answer these questions:

  • What is the purpose of this project (what problem is it going to solve)?
  • What are the main deliverables?
  • What will the timeline be, including deadlines?
  • Who will be on the team for this project and what role will they play?
  • What resources are required to complete this project?

The problem is, people dive into writing a project plan without understanding its purpose or the importance of its various sections.

Your project plan needs to be organized, focused, readable and engaging enough to hold the attention of your team.

This is especially important if you’re including your project plan in a company newsletter, Slack channel or presentation (whether internal or to external stakeholders)–anywhere people need to understand a project at a glance.

1. Project plan templates for PDF and PowerPoint

Need a simple project plan template you can export as a PDF? Look no more. Here’s an example of a project plan mind map template you can export as a PDF document:

business project plan template

Just so you know, some of our templates are free to use and some require a small monthly fee. Sign up is always free, as is access to Venngage’s online drag-and-drop editor.

Venngage’s project planning templates are easy to customize using the drag-and-drop editor, and once you’ve finished your design — just download the project plan as a PDF or Interactive PDF (for clickable links).

Note that download capability is available in paid plans only. As a free user, you can share your project plan designs using a public link!

If you want to present your project plan in PowerPoint or Google Slides — you can do that with a Venngage template too! Customize a project plan presentation template like this one:

business project plan template

Or this one:

commercial development project plan presentation

And once you’re done, just click on the Download icon and choose Powerpoint as your export option:

Venngage powerpoint download

And voilà! Now you have project plan presentation slides that you can use on PowerPoint, Google Slides or any other platforms that accept PPTX files.

2. Use a project timeline template to visualize your deadlines

When you’re first outlining your project timeline, it can be pretty overwhelming. A visual timeline helps stakeholders get a better sense of what needs to be done, and by when .

A project timeline template is a versatile way to visualize milestones processes, and goals. In fact, a clear timeline is the backbone of a solid project plan. Confusion relating to deadlines, and what is required for those deadlines, is a common problem many teams face while working on a project.

Related : How to Write a Comprehensive Project Management Plan (+ Examples)

First off, though, you want to identify your project goals. Use a simple mind map like the one below to categorize tasks according to your goals.

Project Management Plan Mind Map Template

Now you’re ready to start planning your project.

Project plan timeline infographic template

Project Plan Timeline Template

This project timeline template uses different colors to categorize tasks for each week. It’s a compact and creative way to present a project plan. In fact, horizontal timeline layouts are popular because they’re easy to slot into a presentation.

Related : 120+ Best Presentation Ideas, Design Tips & Examples

That said, horizontal timelines can be harder to fit onto letter-sized pages. If you plan to do so, use less than seven points and keep your descriptions for each point brief.

Planning process project timeline template

5 Stage Planning Process Hospital Timeline Infographic Template

This snake timeline layout like the one above is great for timelines with lots of points and not much text. They’re very space efficient. Only use them when you want to focus on the visuals, perhaps when you’re presenting a high-level overview to a boss or client.

Monthly project milestones timeline

Monthly Project Milestones Timeline Infographic Template

When it comes to designing project reports and charts, color is particularly effective for categorizing information.

You can use color to categorize tasks by type, week, the team involved etc. This project timeline template uses alternate colors for the rows (black and orange) to keep the reader’s eye engaged.

It’s also important to break your projects down into smaller tasks with staggered deadlines. The project timeline template above includes specific dates for tasks to complete within each month.

Nonprofit fundraising project timeline template 

Nonprofit Project Timeline Template

This project timeline template would also work well on a presentation slide thanks to its size and the fact that’s it’s a high-level overview.

Its unique design and bright colors would be great for pitching potential investors, whether it’s for a new business idea or to raise funds for your nonprofit.

Related : How to Create a Business Plan to Win Over Investors (+Templates)

Creative design process project timeline template

project plan template

Project timeline templates can help you step back and create a big picture overview, especially when you’re in the initial stages of planning a project .

The above project timeline template provides an overview of all the steps involved in a particular project. It also uses icons to add visual interest and easily identify different stages.

You could insert this project timeline into a client pitch deck , business plan or proposal.

Related :  How to Create a Timeline Infographic: The Definitive Guide

3. Use a simple project plan template to keep things in perspective

When your team is working on a large project it’s sometimes hard to keep everything in perspective. You may have been working on a certain part for so long that you forget what came before it. Or what tasks come after that you need to be aware of.

Without all of this information, mistakes will be made and delays are guaranteed. That’s why it’s a great idea to use a simple project plan template that includes critical information like scope and timeframes.

Simple project plan example

business project plan template

This simple project plan template uses icons to help communicate what’s part of the scope of work, and as bullet points. Simple to edit (and clean and modern to look at), it also covers all the bases.

Setting out a timeframe with actionable short-term and long-term goals is key, as well as outlining how you plan to evaluate and monitor your progress.

Related : The 4 Project Life Cycle Phases (With Templates)

Your project plan should be the source of truth as the project progresses, so it’s important to have the scope, timeframe, budget and evaluation processes set out from the beginning.

Basic project plan example

 Basic Project Plan Template

Use a basic project plan template when all you need to do is outline key milestones and tasks. You can use it as a simple roadmap for your team to refer to to help keep them organized and on track.

This basic template would also work well as a presentation slide if you’re presenting to stakeholders.

Pro Tip : Learn how to use Venngage templates with PowerPoint in our guide How to Make Better Infographics for PowerPoint .

Simple project communication plan example

business project plan template

Nothing is more critical to the success of a project than  effective communication , according to a research paper for the Project Management Institute. In fact, the negative effects of bad communication on cost and timelines increase as the project progresses.

That’s why from the outset of a project you should have a project communication plan, such as the one above. The plan should include what formats are appropriate for communicating types of content (email updates vs. a formal report, for example), to who and when. Your project communication plan is key in ensuring complete transparency throughout your team projects.

Simple roadmap project plan example

Project Plan Example

A Next, Now, Later plan can also really help your team out. The simple project roadmap template above keeps each of the steps extremely simple and easy to follow.

Plus, it clearly states exactly what this team is working towards with each of their releases.

Also, since most project plans aren’t set in stone–they’re agile documents that will probably have to be adjusted along the way–sometimes a much simpler project plan template is the best way to go. It’s easier to edit and therefore more flexible.

 Simple multi-page project plan example

Green Stripes Project Plan Template

If you need a multi-page project plan, you can still keep it simple and easy to understand by organizing your information in an engaging way using illustrations, big headers and lots of white space, like in the template above.

4. Use a project schedule template to outline a roadmap towards completion

Sometimes you’re going to have to present a project plan to people outside the company. These days it might be an investor, a new client or a potential hire.

You should probably create a simple project schedule (or roadmap ) in these instances. And be sure to have it ready whenever you go into a meeting.

This type of project plan helps boil down complicated internal processes into something accessible.

Simple project schedule template

Simple Project Plan Roadmap Template

This project schedule template quickly communicates what teams are responsible for what tasks over certain periods of time. Very easy to grasp.

You can also categorize your tasks by priority. Simply pick a corresponding color for each level of priority, like in the monthly project schedule template below.

project plan template

Pro Tip:  Use Venngage’s simple Roadmap Maker tool to create roadmaps in minutes. No design know-how required.

Modern project schedule example

Modern Project Schedule Template

A vertical infographic is a creative way to present the tasks and timeline required to execute on a project. Big icons help the reader better understand each step. Plus, the milestones are broken out and easy to skim.

Timeline project schedule example

Client Project Schedule Template

Not looking for a roadmap? You can also use a timeline infographic to plan out your schedule. Not only can you add tasks but also any risks, dependencies and constraints at each stage which might throw off the expected completion date.

Pro Tip:  Once you’ve customized your project plan template, you can download it  in Venngage’s online editor as a PDF, Interactive PDF or PNG.

5. Use a project checklist template to provide a high-level overview of key deliverables

While a project checklist can be incredibly detailed, it can also provide a more generalized, bird’s eye view of a lengthy process.

Onboarding project checklist example


Onboarding new employees is a project that practically begs for a checklist. It’s a simple and easy-to-reference way to documenting the onboarding process. You’ll keep both trainer and trainee motivated and on track.

In the project checklist template above, a supervisor can easily glance at their company’s extensive onboarding process and keep track of their responsibilities pertaining to new hires in their first day, week, month, even year.

Simple project checklist example

Simple Project Checklist Template

Want a way to quickly add and delete items in your checklist? The above project plan checklist is a smart template, meaning you just need to press Add or Delete to add or remove rows.

HR project checklist example

business project plan template

This project checklist template is for onboarding, but you can customize it for any project and divide the tasks by milestones.

Send the checklist to your team so they know exactly what’s required of them.

Pro Tip : Not a designer? No problem. Use Venngage’s Checklist Maker to create free checklists online today.

6. Use a project status report template to track your progress visually

Once your team dives into working on a project, there will almost certainly be changes that need to be made to the project plan. Unforeseen obstacles come up, certain tasks take longer to complete than expected, and other snags happen.

That’s why it’s important to not only set your goals, but to also report on your progress throughout the process. Creating a project status report will help you keep track of your progress, while also communicating it effectively with other parties.

Monthly project status report template

project status report template

Your report doesn’t need to be complicated. This project status report template provides a simple one-page snapshot that stakeholders can understand at a glance. The status of each item and any issues are easy to skim.

Simple project status report example

Simple Project Status Progress Report Template

This project status report template features a cool “project completion” bar so everyone can know at a glance the current status. This template goes beyond issues to highlight any risks, variables or assumptions that might interfere with meeting the next milestone or closing out the project.

Project management status report example

project status report template

If you’re submitting a status update to your stakeholders, however, you may want to include more context. That’s where a multi-page project status report template may be necessary.

When creating a multi-page project plan, be sure to include a summary. This will help make your project plan more reader-friendly and easier to scan.

Pink project plan template

Pro Tip : With highly collaborative project plans, it’s important to make them easily accessible to all team members. Real-Time Collaboration lets teams work together to design plans, provide feedback, and make edits in real-time.  Learn about Real-Time Collaboration here.

7. Use a work plan template to create a schedule

Want a simpler solution to creating a work schedule? Try a work plan template. Simply add your text to fill out the plan for each day. Or use our calendar maker tool to browse schedule templates and customize them for free.

Sales action work plan example

Gradient Sales Work Plan Template

This sales work plan template goes beyond planning. It also helps managers assess the quality of the work and if the employees in question were able to meet their deadlines. Which is a great asset come performance review time.

Simple work plan example

Simple Work Plan Template

Project execution depends on properly mapping out all the tasks and activities first. Then, once you get going, you can monitor progress based on your roadmap. Continual monitoring is key and be prepared to revise your goals and your roadmap as the project progresses.

This simple work plan template clearly outlines which team is responsible for what, and when, so you can keep everyone aligned as work is carried out.

8. Use a process map template to communicate across teams

Communicating across teams can be a nightmare sometimes, especially as your company continues to grow. It’s common for different people to call a certain thing many names, and that can cause unneeded confusion. Like how people in call a soft drink: “soda”, “coke” or “pop”, but it means exactly the same thing.

So assigning common titles for each step of the process in your project plan can make communication a bit easier.

In the process map template below, they used eight simple keywords for each step of their project.

Project Plan Examples11

The common words and phrases in this simple project planner template will make communication a lot smoother. Now the product team will know exactly what you mean when you say you’re working on the “Sketch” step.

4 Steps To Post a Job Admin Project Process Infographic Template

This project process template simply relies on “Step 1” etc. labelling to keep things straight.

Further Reading : Our guide to creating process infographics , with templates.

9. Use marketing project plan templates to set clear goals

The success of a marketing plan relies on setting clear goals–including specific metrics and outlining the steps your team will take to get there.

Content marketing project plan example

This marketing project plan template is incredibly detailed, with sections for goals, competitor analysis , workflow and more. Click on the template image for a full preview.

Content Marketing Project Plan Template

Project management marketing plan example

That said, sometimes you need a simple project marketing plan to help pitch your agency and provide a high-level overview, like this template does.

Project Marketing Plan Template

Further Reading : Our guide to marketing plans , including formatting tips, how to visualize data creatively (and easily) and templates to get started.

10. Use nonprofit strategic plan templates to highlight strengths

Nonprofit strategy and planning are two different animals–planning is implementing a strategy, says sgENGAGE . To get started, you’ll want to do a SWOT analysis  to fully understand your nonprofit’s unique strengths.

You can also build out a full strategic plan to identify priorities, goals, key stakeholders and more. This infographic lays out best practices for this process; click the image to see the full visual.

Nonprofit Strategic Plan Infographic Template

Here we’ll look at specific aspects of the planning process in nonprofits.

Nonprofit fundraising plan example

A fundraising timeline can be critical to your campaign–from start to finish. Include it in your fundraising plan to illustrate targets.

Then, add it to your internal reports as the campaign progresses to show the amount raised to date. You can also release it to your donors to motivate them to contribute as you inch closer to your goal.

Nonprofit Fundraising Timeline Template

You can also include a fundraising timeline in your final report to your nonprofit’s donors to show what they achieved. It’s the perfect way to say thank you and it’s also a great way to engage donors and encourage repeat donations.

End of Year Fundraising Campaign Planning Timeline Infographic Template

Nonprofit communications plan example

A communications plan should prepare your organization for key events or dates, but be flexible enough to adapt to changing times, advises the Council of Nonprofits.

It’s important to nail out your goals, who your audience is ( personas ) and what channels and stories will be most effective for said audience. This template addresses all these areas.

Simple Nonprofit Communications Plan Template

Also think about including a timeline of key events and special days such as World Mental Health Day.

Further Reading : Our complete guide to nonprofit marketing  or nonprofit communications .

11. Process mapping in healthcare

Using project process maps in healthcare help stakeholders understand an entire process, without resorting to confusing documentation. Visuals help with comprehension, especially regarding the sequence a project will follow.

These visuals can take the form of timelines, flowcharts, step-by-step infographics and more. This planning process timeline is a high-level overview of building a new hospital, from service offerings to architectural plans. When considering the implementation of such plans, healthcare professionals often delve into detailed analyses, including weighing the pros and cons of EHR systems , to ensure the optimal integration of technology in enhancing patient care and operational efficiency.

Process Mapping in Healthcare Timeline Infographic Template

Process mapping in healthcare also helps with outlining an existing system and then analyzing how that system can be improved.

Learn more: Venngage for Healthcare Organizations 

business project plan template

This process map looks at improving how healthcare organizations put in place new medical administrative processes.

Further Reading : Our post on branding guidelines , including a template specific to the healthcare industry.

12. Marketing strategy plan templates for financial services

Financial services have typically relied on referrals for new customers . That said, millennials and Gen X prefer to do their own research online , making newer marketing strategies such as search engine optimization, content and email marketing essential.

Our  guide to marketing plans has in-depth templates to help you plan what strategies will work for you. Here we’ll focus on infographics and diagrams for high-level marketing strategy planning for financial services.

This layer infographic can be edited to visualize key parts of a marketing plan such as local SEO or video marketing.

Marketing Strategy for Financial Services Infographic Template

You can also use a mind map to plan out your entire marketing strategy, from outreach to content to inbound, like in this template.

Marketing Strategy for Financial Services Template

Further Reading : Our post on case study examples , with templates that work across industries.

1. Illustrate steps in a process with icons

Colorful Marketing Timeline Project Plan

Multiple studies have found that people tend to remember images better than words . With that in mind, look for ways to incorporate visual memory-prompters in your project plan design.

Icons are one type of visual that can be used to make information more memorable. Pair an icon with an important piece of text to help it stand out and stick in the reader’s mind.

For example, this project timeline template uses an icon to illustrate each step in the process. This helps reinforce the information, and gives readers a visual to refer back to:

project plan template

2. Use a timeline to show an overview of your project plan

While your project plan should include the details of your project, offering a visual summary will help keep your team on track .

Use a project timeline template that offers an overview of your project’s phases, as well as the expected beginning and completion dates. Your team will be able to refer back to the timeline quickly, without needing to read through a bunch of text.

For example, this project timeline template outlines that tasks and milestones for each month in a year:

project plan template

3. Incorporate the theme of your project into your design

Donut Monthly Project Plan

While your priority when designing your project plan should be function, finding ways to make your design engaging is still important.

After all, your project plan will help inspire confidence in your team–and the people who will be funding your project. Especially if you can inject some of your branding into the design .

Adding surprising design elements will help engage and excite readers. An easy way to do this is to include icons and images that reflect the theme of your project.

For example, this project planning template for a baking company incorporates a donut into the design:

project plan template

4. Use a chart to track your project’s process

Creative Agency Product Plan Template

Certain phases of your project may end up taking more or less time than anticipated. That’s why it’s valuable to track your progress, so you can adjust your goals. Tracking your progress will also help you make informed decisions when planning future projects.

You can track your project using a flexible chart that’s easy to update, like the chart templates offered by Venngage. Our process infographic templates  can also come in handy here, if you want to visualize the phases in a project. 

For example, this project planning template uses a simple bar graph to track the duration of each phase. The updates are tracked in the top right corner:

project plan template

With Venngage, you can create multiple copies of a design. If you’re updating a chart or timeline, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of past iterations.

5. Use a project schedule template to keep track of tasks or events

Event Timeline Project Plan Template

Are there specific dates that certain tasks needs to be completed on? You may want to create a calendar that specifies what should be done on what day.

For example, if your team is executing on an event like a conference, then a calendar is necessary for keeping events for specific dates organized.

In this project schedule template , for example, the events are color-coded by type, making it easier to scan:

project plan template

6. Rate your process using an icon chart

Project Status Project Plan Template

An icon chart uses (you guessed it) icons to represent units of measurement. When coming up with ways to embellish your project plan design, look for opportunities to visualize information that you want to emphasize. An icon chart is a creative and effective way to do that.

For example, this project status report template uses check mark icons to rate the success of three different aspects of the project:

project plan template

7. Illustrate how each project is connected with a flowchart infographic

Mind Map Project Plan Template

At Venngage we really love using flowchart infographics  in all facets of our planning. These graphics are a solid way to show how a project should progress and how each part is connected to each other.

And when your team is working on a complicated process, a visual representation can help you keep it all organized.

Project Plan Examples3

In the project plan example above, they used a flowchart infographic to work through their productivity plan.

This approach allowed the designers to show how each step was related, and how it affected the other steps. If they would have just listed all of that information, the relationships between all of it would be lost.

We would recommend using a flowchart to help explain how a single part works, not for an entire project plan.

With Venngage, you can make flowcharts  that are functional and look great.

Project plan examples from the business world 

If you need a little more inspiration for your project plans, be sure to check out some of the examples we found below.

Project management checklist

When it comes time to launch your project or product accurately tracking what needs to get done is essential.

For a smaller company, it’s easy to keep track of what everyone is working on. But as your brand grows this becomes almost an impossible task. Especially as employees start breaking into smaller teams to tackle a project.

Now a simple project management checklist like the example below can help you ensure everything gets done on time:

Project Plan Example

In this project plan example, they use a wide range of colors to break tasks down by teams. This approach will help the managers quickly see what needs to be done next.

Plus checking off tasks like this will help each team feel like they are working towards a common goal. You could even print this example off and hang it up in your office so everyone knows exactly what’s going on.

Project plan example using multiple visuals

As you have seen in this article, there’s not one project plan example that fits every company perfectly. Some simple projects may only need a flow chart , but others could need diverse visuals across a multipage marketing plan .

That’s why your project plan should use a mix of different visuals to efficiently explain the process. Or in some cases, many processes, like in the beautiful project plan below:

Project Plan Examples4

This project plan example is almost a work of art, but it still gets their point across very effectively.

Featuring a flowchart to illustrate their ideation process:

Project Plan Examples6

A timeline project plan to break down the release schedule:

Project Plan Examples1

And even this unique bubble chart:

Project Plan Examples9

Overall, it’s one of the most unique project plans we have ever seen.

Project plan example that focuses on deliverables

At Venngage we try to make sure that at the end of each step in our project we have a deliverable to show for it. Otherwise, we are just spinning our wheels and working on things that don’t really matter at that step.

If you weren’t aware, a deliverable is something tangible that you can show to the rest of the team. Like in this simple project planner template, they include deliverables like a report or a presentation :

Project Plan Examples12

A lot of the time, simple project plans fail because they don’t list deliverables or the ones they do are too vague.

For example, a good deliverable is very descriptive and has a due date. A bad one is open and never really has an end date in mind.

Just remember to be realistic when planning your project, and you will be set.

Project plan example that breaks down tools and processes

Sometimes telling your team to just go do something is not the best course of action. Especially when there’s is an approaching due date that needs to be met. It’s safe to say that a lot of time will be wasted as they try to figure out where to start.

However, a great planner will actually give these team members the tools they need to succeed. Just like they did in this project plan sample for a startup weekend:

Project Plan Examples2

At the bottom of this bold project plan, there are a handful of tools and processes that should be followed at each step.

Now, these people can hit the ground running and get their tasks done on time. Instead of wasting half the time searching for the solution.

Infographic project plan example

Good design work is consistent, it’s as simple as that. You want each of your graphics to feel and look the same throughout. Otherwise, people are going to focus on the random design elements, instead of your important content.

Think about how much a simple misspelling distracted you in an email or presentation. Inconsistent design choices are kinda like typos in the design world.

Additionally, this consistency can help you quickly distill info to a reader. Design elements like color, shapes, and icons can add a ton of context to any complex project plan.

Project Plan Examples13

In this project plan infographic, they use colored lines to indicate the answer to a question. Then they added simple flat icons to give each question some supporting info. And a single shape to illustrate the deliverables for each process.

This may not be the most traditional project plan example, but it does get the point across with its many visual elements.

How do you plan a project from start to finish?

Actually starting the process is one of the hardest parts of project planning. This is because there’s so much potential, you might not know what to begin with.

Your team may have so many ideas, that it becomes overwhelming and unorganized in a manner of minutes.

So if you’re not sure where to start, use one of these charts to get the creative juices flowing.

With this simple process map template, you can kick off the planning in a more structured way.

Project Plan Examples7

Each step will help you define goals , future plans and a ton of other metrics without getting distracted and lead you through planning a project from start to finish. This simple project plan chart has the same objective.

Simple Project Planning Process Infographic Template

How do I use Venngage to create a project plan?

It’s simple to modify the project planning templates in this blog post with our drag-and-drop online editor.

Here’s a sneak peek at how our editor works, including the text editing bar, icon and stock photo library (free), photo upload function and more.

project plan template

Here’s how to get started:

  • Sign up for a free Venngage account .
  • Browse our project plan templates (some are free, some are paid).
  • Click the template you like and start customizing it in our simple online editor.
  • Upgrade to a paid plan to download your project plan as a PDF, PNG or in PowerPoint format.

project plan template

With these foundational tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating an impressive — and effective! — project plan. Remember, a well-executed project begins with a solid plan.

Not a designer? No problem. Create an engaging project plan with Venngage, the simple design tool for business communication.

Project Plan for Word, PDF, Google Docs

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Template Highlights

  • This project plan template is available for download as a Microsoft Word document, Google doc, or PDF.
  • Provide an overview of the project. Identify the client's needs and the problem that needs to be solved.
  • In the Scope section, describe every activity that will occur during the project timeline. Clearly defining the scope before you begin work can prevent future confusion and issues.
  • Describe the objectives of the project. You can outline them in a list format to keep things simple.
  • Complete the roles and responsibilities table, explaining the duties of each member of the project team.
  • List all of the products that you will submit to the client during the life of the project.
  • Complete the schedule table, showing the project phase, specific task, and start and end dates. If your project is complex, consider also including a graphic timeline or Gantt chart.
  • Complete the budget table according to the costs associated with your specific project.
  • Include a section for approval and signatures. You can include signature lines directly in the document or request electronic signatures using DocuSign or a similar product.

Template Preview

Project plan.

Project Plan Template

A project plan is an essential project management tool that can help you stay on schedule and within budget. It describes the details of your project, from the scope and objectives to the timeline and cost estimates.

HubSpot Tip: A project plan can vary based on the size and complexity of the project. This template provides general guidelines, but you may need to add or remove sections to tailor it appropriately to the needs of your specific project.

In this section, you should introduce the key components of the project. Think about what your client needs and why they engaged you to complete the project. What is the problem that you need to solve? Who are the main stakeholders?

HubSpot Tip: Consider your project plan a living document. As circumstances, timelines, team members, and objectives change over the life of your project, make the appropriate adjustments in the project plan and redistribute it to the project team.

This section sets the foundation for your project and is important for gaining consensus from all stakeholders on what the project will entail. Include a broad description of all of the deliverables you will provide to the client and every activity that will occur.

In this section, it is important to not only delineate what is required in the project, but also to explain what will not be included.

HubSpot Tip: If your customer asks for additional work as the project progresses, the project plan, and in particular the Scope section, serves an excellent reference document to explain why the work cannot be completed without changes to the budget or timeline.

You already described the client’s needs in general terms in the Overview section. Now, you should list the objectives in more detail, quantifying the expected results with as much specificity as possible. Consider organizing the objectives in a list, as shown below.

1. Objective 1

2. Objective 2

3. Objective 3

HubSpot Tip: Whenever possible, design your project objectives to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). Using this type of objective as a benchmark allows you to measure your success.

Roles and Responsibilities

When establishing a new team, it is important to ensure that every member understands their role and responsibilities at the outset of the project. Use a table like the one below to organize the necessary information about all of the team members.

Team Member


Some common roles that are likely to be a part of a project team are:

Project sponsor - The person or organization who owns and funds the project.

Project manager - The person responsible for creating and executing the project plan and ensuring that the team adheres to the schedule and budget throughout the life of the project.

Project team - The individuals who create the end product or service.

End users - The group who utilizes the final project or service. It is important to include them in the decision-making process whenever possible.

HubSpot Tip: We have established that the project plan should focus on how you will meet the needs of the customer. In this section, be clear about which team member will serve as the primary contact and handle routine communications with the client. Also, be sure to denote who from your team is the ultimate decision-maker.


List the specific products or services that you will provide to the client. Provide a brief description of each and note who from the project team will be in charge of providing it. You can arrange this information in a table like the one below.



Person Responsible

HubSpot Tip: Don’t forget to include routine deliverables like monthly reports and weekly status updates.

The timeline is one of the most important parts of the project plan. Rather than just adding dates to the deliverables list that you already developed, you should aim to provide a more granular look at each step in the process.

Begin by dividing the project into phases. Then, break each deliverable into smaller, more manageable tasks. List these in a table like the one below to provide a snapshot of the key activities and dates.


HubSpot Tip: If your project has a complex timeline or many tasks that are dependent on one another, consider developing a Gantt Chart. This type of chart is simple to create in Microsoft Excel or Project.

Using the set of deliverables and tasks that you outlined in previous sections, calculate the cost of each item. The structure of your budget will vary based on the type of work you do, but the table below can be used as a starting point.

Budget Item

Overall Budget

HubSpot Tip: Include both hourly and fixed price items and recurring and one-time costs in your budget.

Approval and Signatures

Request that the client, project sponsor, and any other key stakeholders review and approve the project plan. Consider including a section for signatures like the one below.

______________________________ ______________________________

[Name], [Title], [Client Company] [Name], [Title], [Your Company]

HubSpot Tip: As mentioned above, if you take the time to create a thorough project plan and get the client’s approval, then you can use it to demonstrate how an additional request from the client is outside of the project scope.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be included in a project plan, how do you present a project plan, is this template free, related tags:.

  • Project Management
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How to Create a Realistic Project Plan with Templates & Examples

business project plan template

As a project manager, a huge part of your role is to write project plans that help you keep projects on track. But that’s not all a project plan should do. 

A project plan is arguably the most important document you’ll create for a project. At its core, a plan should communicate your project approach and the process your team will use to manage the project according to scope.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can develop a rock-solid planning process that guides your team and projects to success.

What is a project plan?

Project plan example: what to include, why you should always write a project plan, 5 steps to an effective project planning process, how to create a project plan in teamgantt, free project plan templates.

A project plan is a document that maps out the tasks, effort, timing, and resources needed to meet project goals within a predefined scope. It’s often presented in the form of a gantt chart because it’s easy to visualize the project timeline and ensure work stays on track.

Any solid project management plan should answer the following questions:

  • What are the major deliverables?
  • How will we get to those deliverables and the deadline?
  • Who’s on the project team, and what role will they play in those deliverables?
  • Which stakeholders need to provide feedback on deliverables, and when?
  • When will the team meet milestones?

A project plan communicates this information in a simple, straightforward way so everyone clearly understands the objectives and how they contribute to project success. It may also be accompanied by other planning documents, such as a project charter , risk assessment , or communication plan .

While no two project plans are alike, they all share the same common building blocks. Be sure to include the following components in any project plan you create:

  • Project tasks : A detailed list of work to be done organized by project phase, process step, or work group
  • Project schedule : A visual timeline of task start dates, durations, and deadlines, with clear progress indicators
  • Key milestones : Major events, dates, decisions, and deliverables used for tracking forward progress
  • Dependencies : A line connecting tasks that need to happen in a certain order
  • Resources : Assignments that indicate the person or team responsible for completing a task

Here’s a simple example of what a project plan looks like with these basic elements highlighted:

An example of a project plan in gantt chart format with the following components highlighted: project tasks, project schedule, key milestones, dependencies, and resources.

Some people don’t understand the power of a good project plan. If you feel pressured to skip the plan and jump right into the work, remind your team and stakeholders that having a plan benefits everyone by making it easier to:

  • Build consensus before work begins : A detailed project plan ensures everyone has a clear understanding of—and agrees on—the overall process, scope, staffing, and even communications from the outset. That goes a long way in keeping project confusion and pop-up requests from gumming up the works.
  • Avoid scheduling conflicts : Project plans enable you to organize tasks so it’s clear who's responsible for what and when. If your team is juggling multiple projects, you can cross-reference other plans to see who’s available to take on new work before committing to a timeline.
  • Monitor project goals and scope : When new tasks creep in, it’s easy to lose sight of the original objectives. Spelling out the work you need to complete in a time-based plan keeps project goals front and center so you can ensure project scope stays intact.  ‍
  • Hold your team and stakeholders accountable : A good project plan sets expectations around the process and pacing you'll follow each step of the way. When plans are shared with teams and stakeholders, it keeps folks honest about what is—or isn’t—happening and forces you to resolve issues in a timely way.

Poor planning can lead to some pretty ugly consequences—from missed deadlines and budget overages to team burnout and client frustration. That’s why it’s important to establish a solid process you can use to plan any project. 

Planning a project doesn’t have to be difficult. These basic project planning steps can help you write a plan that’s both realistic and on target.

A chart that outlines 5 steps of the project planning process: 1. Discover & define; 2. Outline & draft; 3. Formalize & format; 4. Present & confirm; 5. Execute & adjust

  • Start with project discovery & definition
  • Draft a rough outline of your plan
  • Formalize your project management plan
  • Present & confirm your plan
  • Execute your plan & adjust as needed

Step 1: Start with project discovery and definition

A project plan is more than a dry document with dates. It’s the story of your project, and you don’t want it to be a tall tale! So make sure you know all the facts before you start creating a project plan.

Understand the project scope and value

Understanding the ins and outs of the project will help you determine the best process and identify any snags that might get in the way of success. Conduct your own research to dig deeper on:

  • Project goals and outcomes
  • Partnerships and outlying dependencies
  • Potential issues and risks

Review the scope of work , and dive into any documents or communications relevant to the project (maybe an RFP or notes from sales calls or client meetings). Be thorough in your research to uncover critical project details, and ask thoughtful questions before you commit to anything. 

Interview key stakeholders

If you want to dazzle stakeholders with a stellar project delivery, you’ve got to know how they work and what they expect. Schedule time with your main project contact, and ask them some tough questions about process, organizational politics, and general risks before creating a project plan. 

This will give project stakeholders confidence that your team has the experience to handle any difficult personality or situation. It also shows you care about the success of the project from the start.

Be sure to discuss these things with your stakeholders:

  • Product ownership and the decision-making process
  • Stakeholder interest/involvement levels
  • Key outages, meetings, deadlines, and driving factors
  • Related or similar projects, goals, and outcomes
  • The best way to communicate with partners and stakeholders

See a list of sample interview questions to ask stakeholders so you can develop better project plans.

Get to know your team

The last step in the research phase is to take time to learn more about the people who’ll be responsible for the work. Sit down with your team and get to know their:

  • Collaboration and communication styles
  • Availability and workload

Understanding these basics about your team will help you craft a thoughtful plan that takes their work styles and bandwidth into consideration. After all, a happy team delivers better projects.

Step 2: Draft a rough outline of your plan

Now that you’ve gathered the basic project details, the next step is to knock out a rough draft of your plan. Take some time to think about the discussions you had in the pre-planning phase and the approach your team might take to meet the project goals.

Sketch out the main components of your project plan

Sit down with a pen and paper (or a whiteboard), and outline how the project should work at a high level. Be sure you have a calendar close by to check dates.

If you’re at a loss for where to begin, start with the who, what, when, and how of the project. A first outline can be very rough and might look something like a work breakdown structure . Make sure your project outline includes the following components:

  • Deliverables and the tasks required to create them
  • Your client’s approval process
  • Timeframes associated with tasks/deliverables
  • Ideas on resources needed for tasks/deliverables
  • A list of the assumptions you’re making in the plan
  • A list of absolutes as they relate to the project budget and/or deadlines

Considering these elements will help you avoid surprises—or at least minimize them. And remember, you’re doing this as a draft so you can use it as a conversation-starter for your team. It’s not final yet!

Get input from your team on process, effort, and timing

You don’t want to put yourself or your team in an awkward position by not coming to a consensus on the approach before presenting it to your client. That's why a project manager can’t be the only one writing a project plan.

Once you’ve created a basic project outline, take those rough ideas and considerations to your team. This enables you to invite discussion about what might work rather than simply dictating a process. After all, every project must begin with clear communication of the project goals and the effort required to meet them. 

Be sure to get input from your team on how they can complete the tasks at hand without killing the budget and the team’s morale. As a project manager, you can decide on Agile vs. Waterfall approaches , but when it comes down to it, you need to know that the team can realistically execute the plan.

You can also use this review time to question your own thinking and push the team to take a new approach to the work. For example, if you’re working on a digital product, could designers start creating visual concepts while the wireframes are being developed? Or can you have two resources working on the same task at once?

Running ideas by the team and having an open dialogue about the approach not only helps you build a more accurate project plan. It gets everyone thinking about the project in the same terms. This type of buy-in and communication builds trust and gets people excited about working together to solve a goal. It can work wonders for the greater good of your team and project.

Step 3: Formalize your project management plan

You should feel comfortable enough at this point to put together a rock-solid project schedule using whatever tool works for you. 

Build out a detailed project schedule that’s easy to read

Any good online project planning tool will help you formalize your thoughts and lay them out in a consistent, visual format that’s easy to follow and track. (Ahem, TeamGantt works nicely for a lot of happy customers. ) 

Make sure tasks have clear start and end dates so there’s no question when work needs to happen to hit project deadlines. Organize work into phases, and use labels and/or color-coding to improve scannability. The easier your project plan is to understand at a glance, the better!

See how to create a project plan in TeamGantt

Consider how your team likes to work

Be as flexible as possible when it comes to how your project plan is presented. There's no absolute when it comes to how to format your plan as long as you and your team understand what goes into one.

Remember, people absorb information differently. While you might be partial to a gantt chart, others might prefer to view tasks in a list, calendar, or even a kanban board. You can make all of those variations work if you’ve taken the steps to create a solid plan.

For example, here’s an Agile project plan we built that lists each sprint as its own task group with milestones for sprint planning and deployment.

Agile project plan example with 2 sprints scheduled on a timeline

And here’s what that same project plan looks like if you turn it into a kanban board in TeamGantt. Simply click the Board tab and set up your columns so your team can manage their daily workflows more easily.

Sample Agile project plan in a kanban board view with columns for to do, in progress, and done

If your team currently prefers spreadsheets and isn’t quite ready to use TeamGantt yet, try our free Excel gantt chart template .

Step 4: Present and confirm your plan

You’re almost finished! Now it’s time to do your due diligence. It’s easy to throw stuff in a plan, but you have to make sure you get it right.

Run your final plan by your internal team

Your team needs to know the reality of your plan as it stands after you’ve built it out in TeamGantt. And you want to be sure they’re comfortable committing to the details. If they don’t, things will quickly fall apart!

Always review your final plan with your team before delivering it to stakeholders. Why? Because things like dates and tasks—and even assignments—will shift as you formalize the rough sketch of your plan. 

Here are a few things you’ll want to discuss with your team as you review the final plan together:

  • Review times
  • Team work times
  • Dependencies
  • Time off, meetings, and milestones
  • The final deadline
  • Any assumptions you’ve made
  • Major changes since your last talk

There’s nothing more embarrassing than delivering a plan with an error or a promise you can’t keep. Taking a few minutes to get buy-in from your team will give everyone peace of mind about your plan.

Review your project plan with stakeholders

Once you’ve confirmed the plan with your team and have their full sign-off, you’re ready to share your project plan with stakeholders . 

When delivering your project plan, make sure you provide an executive summary. This might come in the form of a project brief . A short recap of the overall methodology, resources, assumptions, deadlines, and related review times will help you convey what the plan means to the project and everyone involved.

Project plans can be daunting, so schedule time to present your project plan to stakeholders at a high level. Here are some things you’ll want to point out about your plan during this review:

  • Overall process and pacing
  • Major deliverables and timing
  • The time they’ll have to review deliverables
  • Overall timing for task groups or phases
  • How far off you are from the deadline
  • Wiggle room on the final deadline

If a stakeholder is interested in the day-to-day details, feel free to walk them through the plan line by line. Otherwise, start by explaining overall sections or phases, and be sure to come back to your plan at intervals throughout the project to remind them of tasks, next steps, and overall progress.

Step 5: Execute your plan and adjust as needed

Some projects are smooth and easy to manage, and others are a complete nightmare that wake you up at 3 a.m. every other night. Thankfully, having a solid project plan is your best defense against project chaos once work gets underway.

Keep in mind that project plans are living documents. Projects change constantly, and someone has to stay on top of—and document—that change. Remember to:

  • Update your plan regularly as work progresses and things change
  • Communicate changes to your team, partners, and stakeholders
  • Monitor and communicate risks as your project evolves

Ready to plan your project in TeamGantt? Follow these easy steps to build a plan that’s structured well and includes the elements you need for project success.

1. Enter your basic project details.

To create a new project plan in TeamGantt, click the New Project button in the upper right corner of the My Projects screen. Then enter your project name and start date, and select the days of the week you want to include in your plan. Click Create New Project to move on to the next step.

Example of the project creation screen in TeamGantt

2. List out your project tasks and milestones.

Now the real planning fun begins! Enter all the different tasks it will take to get the job done. If there are any key meetings, deliverable deadlines, or approvals, add those as milestones in your project plan.

List of tasks organized into 2 task groups in a project plan

3. Organize tasks into subgroups. 

Scrolling through one long list of tasks can be mind-numbing, even to the best of us. Break tasks down into phases or sections to ensure your project plan is easy to read and understand. 

4. Add task durations and milestone dates to the project timeline.

A visual project plan makes it easy to see exactly what needs to get done by when. Make sure every task has a start and end date so nothing falls through the cracks. TeamGantt’s drag and drop feature makes this planning step quick and easy.

Example of TeamGantt's drag and drop scheduling for task durations

5. Connect related tasks with dependencies.

Adding dependencies between tasks ensures work gets done in the right order and also helps you plan for delay risks. If your plan shifts and you need to move tasks around, dependencies speed up the process.

Example of a dependency line connecting a task assigned to Peggy to a subsequent task assigned to Don

6. Assign responsible team members to tasks.

That way there’s no confusion about who’s doing what, and your team can update and manage their daily tasks . Don’t forget to check team availability along the way to avoid overloading anyone with too much work.

Task assignment in TeamGantt

7. Use the RACI chart to define task roles more clearly.

This feature takes accountability one step further by letting you assign more specific roles to each task: Responsible , Accountable , Consulted , and Informed . Learn how RACI charts work and what each role means.

Example of RACI assignments in TeamGantt for a digital marketing campaign project plan

8. Add hourly estimates and/or points to each task. 

This makes it easy to see the lift each task involves at a glance. Including hourly estimates in your project plan also enables you to manage workloads and track overages more accurately.

Example of estimated hours for tasks in a project plan with actual vs estimated hours progress indicators

9. Color-code tasks for better scannability.

You can use colors to categorize tasks by project phase, priority, department, or team member—whatever makes visual sense to you and your team.

Example of color selection menu in TeamGantt for color-coding taskbars on the timeline

10. Add notes to clarify tasks or spell out important details.

There’s no such thing as too much information if it means your team has what they need to deliver quality work on time. Use the Notes section of your Discussion tab to enter any pertinent details your team will find helpful.

Task detail window example with notes on scope and word count, as well as a creative brief attached to the task

11. Upload important documents to the project.

This ensures project files are accessible to everyone in a centralized hub.  For example, you might attach your creative brief to the project so your content and design teams have clear direction for completing their deliverables.

If you’re planning a project for the first time or taking on a totally new type of project, you might be struggling to get your plan off the ground. We created a simple project management plan template to help you get started.

TeamGantt gives you the ability to quickly and easily build and adjust your plan using drag and drop scheduling. Plus, it comes with customizable views to fit every team member’s work style. 

Try our basic project plan template for free!

Basic project plan template in TeamGantt with placeholder tasks that can easily be customized

Looking for more specific project plan examples to jumpstart your process? Use these project planning templates to generate ideas and save time building out your plan:

  • Construction project plan template
  • Event planning template
  • Strategic marketing plan template
  • Tactical marketing plan template
  • Software development plan template
  • Video production schedule template
  • Website project plan template

Plan your next project in minutes

Discover just how easy project planning can be with TeamGantt. Create your first gantt chart for free!

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Business tips

21 project management templates to organize any workflow

Hero image with an icon of a Gantt chart for product roadmaps and project management

I recently went on a 20-hour road trip that involved stuffing three adults, two dogs, a baby, and two grandparents' worth of Christmas gifts into a Subaru Forester. 

While turning said compact SUV into Mary Poppins' handbag, I realized the only way to make it work was to abide by a structure I could replicate when we had to unload at hotels along the way.

That's what project management templates are to project managers: replicable systems of organization that keep everything efficiently structured.

If you're one of those people packing all those tasks and teams into a single, unified, potentially 4WD structure, these downloadable templates should help you set a workflow foundation.

What are project management templates?

In our case, these are shareable spreadsheets that can be customized and inserted into processes across various project types. They give people (you) effective starting places for building out repetitive processes, so you don't have to start from scratch every time. 

While project managers in particular may use them most, other team leads could find them useful for iterative processes within HR, financial, sales, and marketing teams.

Project management template example

To illustrate, here's an example of a project management template in action:

A marketing executive for a software company uses a project plan template to start every new campaign proposal. This template summarizes the goals, tasks, timelines, and budget, so they can submit a structured proposal to get approval from stakeholders before kicking off the campaign.

Project management planning templates

These project management planning templates can be used for a wide range of project types. Use these for basic plan proposals, briefs, organization, and even management role descriptions.

1. Project management template

 Mockup showcasing Zapier's project management template

That's it; the search is over. If you're looking for a one-stop project management template, you can probably just stop here. This baby has it all: project names, color-coded priority markers, description fields, deliverable timelines and progress, and hour tracking. 

Best for: Effectively organizing multiple projects in one place

2. Project plan template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project plan template

For those who like to apply a little structure to new projects (generally a key characteristic of most project managers), this project plan template has you covered. Designed for general use, it's got fields for overall timelines, individual task timelines, goals, and resource expense tracking. 

Best for: Showing what you plan to do, how long it'll take, and how much it'll cost

3. Gantt chart project plan template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's Gantt chart template

If Gantt is your chart of choice, this is the template for you. This project scheduling spreadsheet visualizes your project, so you can easily see where tasks and phases stand at a glance. Just fill it in with your dates and task names, update the dates, and let the spreadsheet do the rest of the heavy lifting.

Best for: Visually tracking project progress and timelines

4. Project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project proposal template

For those who need a more formal, standardized method of kicking off projects, a template for a project proposal makes sense. By clearly laying out your project's timelines, budget, purpose, methodologies, and risks, you can help ensure stakeholder buy-in is—like the plastic topper holding suitcases and baby toys on top of a Subaru—secured.

Best for: Outlining project concepts for early buy-in

5. Business project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's business project proposal template

If you need a slightly less detailed project proposal for business use cases, this document should help. This simpler version of our project proposal template includes fields for an executive summary, multiple goals, a task roadmap, a schedule, a budget, and necessary resources.

Best for: Simplified project proposals for business use cases

6. Project brief template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project brief template

Whether you need a document to submit a project for approval or just like the clarity of starting projects with a concise summary, a project brief covers your bases. This simple project management template has only a few fields that give a very basic, high-level overview of a project that's either under consideration or underway.

Best for: Succinctly summarizing an upcoming or in-progress project

7. Agile feature rollout Kanban board template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's agile feature rollout template

Agile teams are their own animal, and they get their own Kanban board template to match. This highly detailed spreadsheet even has drag-and-drop functionality to mirror typical Kanban software functionality as projects progress through feature rollout phases. To use this one, check out more detailed spreadsheet DIY instructions .

Best for: Agile teams with structured feature rollouts

8. Construction project template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's construction project template

If you're looking to plan a construction project, try this template. A variation on the general project management spreadsheet, this one has simplified fields for timelines with day totals, cost estimates, and customizable dropdowns for assigning tasks to relevant contractors and personnel.

Best for: Planning projects in construction or with multiple contractors

9. Project manager planner template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project manager planner template

For team leads looking to lasso multiple projects and team members into a single, easy-to-review document, this project manager planner template could be your rope. (Pardon the rodeo metaphor—I come from a cow town.) This simple template can be organized by filters, like task, date, assignee, and project status, to give you an instant look at who's doing what, when, and for how long. 

Then, fill in the assignee block as you go to keep track of utilization by period. I recommend using this as a recurring template with a structured timeline: start it fresh by week, month, sprint, or project.

Best for: Organizing tasks and tracking team member utilization

Budgeting and financial templates

Though some of the project management planning templates above include fields for projecting budgets, they may not allow for the kind of granularity you need for more detailed budgeting or expense reporting. That's where these come in.

10. Project budget allocation template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project budget allocation template

For a more detailed look at the likely costs of executing a project, you'll need a project budget allocation template. This form is dedicated solely to communicating the estimated costs and allocated amounts for specific items within a project to give all stakeholders a more transparent financial picture.

Best for: Calculating and communicating budgets for specific items in a project

11. Resource management project plan template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's resource management template

When you're planning a project, you also need to plan for expenses. This resource management plan template can serve as your one-stop shop for all things project budget so you can break resources down into quantities and estimates.

Best for: Detailed estimates for individual resources

12. Timesheet template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's timesheet template

Most of these templates are for bigger-picture planning and documentation from the manager's perspective, but managers are just one piece of the project puzzle. This timesheet template should help your team members track the time they spend working on a daily basis.

Best for: Tracking individual working time

13. Timesheet invoice template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's timesheet invoice template

While the timesheet template is designed for general clocking in and out, this invoice is perfect for drilling into individuals' time spent on specific tasks, so you can stay on top of—and ideally under—budgets.

Best for: Individual time and cost logging by task

14. Project-based invoice template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project-based invoice template

If you want your teams to submit time and incurred costs on completed projects and tasks without having to clock in and out manually, a simpler project-based invoice template is probably more your speed. 

Best for: Reporting the costs of completed projects and tasks

Sales and marketing templates

All the templates up to this point should be great options for generalists, but sales and marketing projects tend to have their own unique workflows. These templates may not apply to all project managers, but they should help sales and marketing managers and team leads stay on top of their projects.

15. Sales dashboard template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's sales dashboard template

As your completed projects stack up, it'll be worth your while to see how those projects are performing. This—quite frankly, very impressive—sales dashboard spreadsheet gives you a high-level, real-time view of individualized performance by team member. While it's geared toward sales performance tracking, it can also be formatted to show accrued expenses by individual, project, or team.

Best for: Visualizing accrued revenues or expenses

16. Social media calendar template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's social media calendar template

Take it from someone who gets anxious at the thought of social media posting: social media can be complicated. But it doesn't have to be if you use this calendar template to help align teams on content scheduling. This should help you get a clear picture of upcoming holidays and track posting patterns, so you can maximize your efforts with less anxiety. (I'll stick to making drafts and then deleting them.)

Best for: Organizing social media content schedules

17. Content calendar template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's content calendar template

If your content marketing operation tends toward robusticity, this is the template you didn't know you've been waiting for (and probably the last occasion I'll ever have for using the word "robusticity"). Use this template to keep all your content ducks in a row, whether you're recording podcasts, filming ads, writing blog posts, or even just hiring someone to do all the above for you.

Best for: Organizing content-related tasks and timelines

18. Marketing project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's marketing project proposal template

Sure, all project proposals have the same basic foundation: goals, timelines, projected expenses, slick color-coding, etc. But this marketing-specific project proposal template is specially formulated to help marketing team leads get buy-in, so they can prove the impact and import of their impending campaign.

Best for: Securing buy-in for marketing projects

19. Sales project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's sales project proposal template

Designed to flexibly include either B2C or B2B use cases, this sales-oriented project proposal template will help sales team leads prove viable ROI for their initiatives. Fill it out with pain points, timelines, and descriptions to show this sales project is worthwhile for all parties involved.

Best for: Outlining sales proposals with quotes

20. Marketing communication plan

Mockup showcasing Zapier's marketing communication plan template

Every great marketing campaign starts with one thing (along with money, personnel, time, software…): a plan. This communication plan template will set you up for success with an easy-to-follow reference document that aligns all team members on dates, projects, and contacts.

Best for: Creating a simple reference for aligning marketing teams

21. Annual marketing strategy calendar template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's annual marketing strategy calendar template

For those marketing team leads who like to think ahead—so, all marketing team leads—an easily editable calendar is your best friend. This spreadsheet is separated by tab to help you organize campaign timelines, project start and end dates, and relevant milestones, so you can ensure all projects line up with greater team goals and availability.

Best for: Organizing high-level annual strategy

Benefits of using a project management template

Can you manage a project without a template? Sure. But you can also try to cook Julia Child's coq au vin on your own—or you could just use her recipe.

The obvious reason for using any template is simplicity, but there's a lot more to gain than just time and effort. Here's why you should consider using a project management template like one of the above:

Workflow standardization: Incorporating standardized templates into workflows ensures all stakeholders know what to expect and keeps procedures consistent.

Scalability: As shareable and iterable assets, templates scale easily and ensure processes stay standardized as teams grow.

Improved organization: When you use templates with preset fields, you know every document is labeled, searchable, and includes the information you expect.

Transparency: With clearly outlined timelines, budgets, tasks, resources, and workflows, templates give everyone a clear idea of what's entailed in each element of their unique processes.

Automation: The best thing about templates is that they can be integrated with automation triggers, so they can be shared, filled, and delivered automatically.

Automating your project management templates

Now that you've got a truckload (compact-SUV-load doesn't quite have the same ring) of project management templates at your disposal, you can make them even more powerful with automation.

You can use Zapier to create no-code automations, so your Google Sheet template can talk to all the other apps you use. Here are some examples to get you started, but you can connect Google Sheets to thousands of other apps with Zapier.

Send emails via Gmail when Google Sheets rows are updated

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Send Slack messages whenever Google Sheets rows are updated

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Or you can use Zapier's simple project plan template to keep track of everything in one app.

Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works .

Templates alone can be hugely helpful when managing projects. But when you add automation to the mix, you can make them even more powerful, creating more structured workflows that seamlessly incorporate the tools your team depends on.

Related reading:

The best free project management software

How project management automation makes your job easier

How to streamline project management with automation and AI

How to make the most of your project management software

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Bryce Emley

Currently based in Albuquerque, NM, Bryce Emley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NC State and nearly a decade of writing and editing experience. His work has been published in magazines including The Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, and Modern Farmer and has received a regional Emmy and awards from venues including Narrative, Wesleyan University, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Pablo Neruda Prize. When he isn’t writing content, poetry, or creative nonfiction, he enjoys traveling, baking, playing music, reliving his barista days in his own kitchen, camping, and being bad at carpentry.

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  • Project planning |
  • What is project planning? (Plus, 7 ste ...

What is project planning? (Plus, 7 steps to write a successful project plan)

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Organize your projects with project plans to keep things on track—before you even start. A project plan houses all the necessary details of your project, such as goals, tasks, scope, deadlines, and deliverables. This shows stakeholders a clear roadmap of your project, ensures you have the resources for it, and holds everyone accountable from the start. In this article, we teach you the seven steps to create your own project plan.

Project plans are essential to keeping your project organized and on track. A great project plan will help you kick off your work with all the necessary pieces—from goals and budgets to milestones and communication plans—in one place. Save yourself time (and a few headaches) by creating a work plan that will make your project a success.

What is a project planning?

Project planning is the second stage in the project management process, following project initiation and preceding project execution. During the project planning stage, the project manager creates a project plan, which maps out project requirements. The project planning phase typically includes setting project goals, designating project resources, and mapping out the project schedule.

What is a project plan?

If you're still unsure about what a project plan is, here's how it differs from other project elements:

Project plan vs. work plan: A project plan and a work plan are the same thing. Different teams or departments might prefer one term or another—but they both ultimately describe the same thing: a list of big-picture action steps you need to take to hit your  project objectives .

Project plan vs. project charter: A project charter is an outline of your project. Mostly, you use project charters to get signoff from key stakeholders before you start. Which means your project charter comes before your project plan. A project charter is an outline of a simple project plan—it should only include your project objectives, scope, and responsibilities. Then, once your charter has been approved, you can create a project plan to provide a more in-depth blueprint of the key elements of your project.

Project plan vs. project scope: Your project scope defines the size and boundaries of your project. As part of your project plan, you should outline and share the scope of your project with all project stakeholders. If you’re ever worried about scope creep , you can refer back to your pre-defined scope within your project plan to get back on track.

Project plan vs. agile project: Agile project management is a framework to help teams break work into iterative, collaborative components . Agile frameworks are often run in conjunction with scrum and sprint methodologies. Like any project, an Agile project team can benefit from having a project plan in place before getting started with their work.

Project plan vs. work breakdown structure: Similar to a project plan, your work breakdown structure (WBS) helps you with project execution. While the project plan focuses on every aspect of your project, the WBS is focused on deliverables—breaking them down into sub-deliverables and project tasks. This helps you visualize the whole project in simple steps. Because it’s a visual format, your WBS is best viewed as a Gantt chart (or timeline), Kanban board , or calendar—especially if you’re using project management software .

Why are project plans important?

Project plans set the stage for the entire project. Without one, you’re missing a critical step in the overall project management process . When you launch into a project without defined goals or objectives, it can lead to disorganized work, frustration, and even scope creep. A clear, written project management plan provides a baseline direction to all stakeholders, while also keeping everyone accountable. It confirms that you have the resources you need for the project before it actually begins.

A project plan also allows you, as the person in charge of leading execution, to forecast any potential challenges you could run into while the project is still in the planning stages. That way, you can ensure the project will be achievable—or course-correct if necessary. According to a study conducted by the  Project Management Institute , there is a strong correlation between project planning and project success—the better your plan, the better your outcome. So, conquering the planning phase also makes for better project efficiency and results.

[Product UI] Brand campaign project plan in Asana, spreadsheet-style list (Lists)

7 steps to write a project plan to keep you on track

To create a clear project management plan, you need a way to track all of your moving parts . No matter what type of project you’re planning, every work plan should have:

Goals and project objectives

Success metrics

Stakeholders and roles

Scope and budget

Milestones , deliverables , and project dependencies

Timeline and schedule

Communication plan.

Not sure what each of these mean or should look like? Let’s dive into the details:

Step 1: Define your goals and objectives

You’re working on this project plan for a reason—likely to get you, your team, or your company to an end goal. But how will you know if you’ve reached that goal if you have no way of measuring success?

Every successful project plan should have a clear, desired outcome. Identifying your goals provides a rationale for your project plan. It also keeps everyone on the same page and focused on the results they want to achieve. Moreover, research shows that employees who know how their work is contributing to company objectives are 2X as motivated . Yet only 26% of employees have that clarity. That’s because most goal-setting happens separate from the actual work. By defining your goals within your work plan, you can connect the work your team is doing directly to the project objectives in real-time.

What's the difference between project goals and project objectives?

In general, your project goals should be higher-level than your project objectives. Your project goals should be SMART goals that help you measure project success and show how your project aligns with business objectives . The purpose of drafting project objectives, on the other hand, is to focus on the actual, specific deliverables you're going to achieve at the end of your project. Your project plan provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, so you can create a workflow that hits project objectives.

Your project  plan  provides the direction your team needs to hit your goals, by way of your project objectives. By incorporating your goals directly into your planning documentation, you can keep your project’s North Star on hand. When you’re defining your project scope, or outlining your project schedule, check back on your goals to make sure that work is in favor of your main objectives.

Step 2: Set success metrics

Once you’ve defined your goals, make sure they’re measurable by setting key success metrics. While your goal serves as the intended result, you need success metrics to let you know whether or not you’re performing on track to achieve that result. The best way to do that is to set  SMART goals . With SMART goals, you can make sure your success metrics are clear and measurable, so you can look back at the end of your project and easily tell if you hit them or not.

For example, a goal for an event might be to host an annual 3-day conference for SEO professionals on June 22nd. A success metric for that goal might be having at least 1,000 people attend your conference. It’s both clear and measurable.

Step 3: Clarify stakeholders and roles

Running a project usually means getting  collaborators  involved in the execution of it. In your project management plan, outline which team members will be a part of the project and what each person’s role will be. This will help you decide who is responsible for each task (something we’ll get to shortly) and let stakeholders know how you expect them to be involved.

During this process, make sure to define the various roles and responsibilities your stakeholders might have. For example, who is directly responsible for the project’s success? How is your project team structured (i.e. do you have a project manager, a project sponsor , etc.)? Are there any approvers that should be involved before anything is finalized? What cross-functional stakeholders should be included in the project plan? Are there any  risk management factors  you need to include?

Consider using a system, such as a  RACI chart , to help determine who is driving the project forward, who will approve decisions, who will contribute to the project, and who needs to remain informed as the project progresses.

Then, once you’ve outlined all of your roles and stakeholders, make sure to include that documentation in your project plan. Once you finalize your plan, your work plan will become your cross-functional source of truth.

Step 4: Set your budget

Running a project usually costs money. Whether it’s hiring freelancers for content writing or a catering company for an event, you’ll probably be spending some cash.

Since you’ve already defined your goals and stakeholders as part of your project plan, use that information to establish your budget. For example, if this is a cross-functional project involving multiple departments, will the departments be splitting the project cost? If you have a specific goal metric like event attendees or new users, does your proposed budget support that endeavor?

By establishing your project budget during the project planning phase (and before the spending begins), you can get approval, more easily track progress, and make smart, economical decisions during the implementation phase of your project. Knowing your budget beforehand helps you with resource management , ensuring that you stay within the initial financial scope of the project. Planning helps you determine what parts of your project will cost what—leaving no room for surprises later on.

Step 5: Align on milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies

An important part of planning your project is setting milestones, or specific objectives that represent an achievement. Milestones don’t require a start and end date, but hitting one marks a significant accomplishment during your project. They are used to measure progress. For example, let’s say you’re working to develop a  new product for your company . Setting a milestone on your project timeline for when the prototype is finalized will help you measure the progress you’ve made so far.

A project deliverable , on the other hand, is what is actually produced once you meet a milestone. In our product development example, we hit a milestone when we produced the deliverable, which was the prototype. You can also use project dependencies —tasks that you can’t start until others are finished. Dependencies ensure that work only starts once it’s ready. Continuing the example, you can create a project dependency to require approval from the project lead before prototype testing begins.  

If you’re using our free project plan template , you can easily organize your project around deliverables, dependencies, and milestones. That way, everyone on the team has clear visibility into the work within your project scope, and the milestones your team will be working towards.

Step 6: Outline your timeline and schedule

In order to achieve your project goals, you and your stakeholders need clarity on your overall project timeline and schedule. Aligning on the time frame you have can help you better prioritize during strategic planning sessions.

Not all projects will have clear-cut timelines. If you're working on a large project with a few unknown dates, consider creating a  project roadmap  instead of a full-blown project timeline. That way, you can clarify the order of operations of various tasks without necessarily establishing exact dates.

Once you’ve covered the high-level responsibilities, it’s time to focus some energy on the details. In your  work plan template , start by breaking your project into tasks, ensuring no part of the process is skipped. Bigger tasks can even be broken down into smaller subtasks, making them more manageable.

Then, take each task and subtask, and assign it a start date and end date. You’ll begin to visually see everything come together in a  cohesive project timeline . Be sure to add stakeholders, mapping out who is doing what by when.

[Product UI] Brand campaign project in Asana, Gantt chart-style view (Timeline)

Step 7: Share your communication plan

We’ve established that most projects include multiple stakeholders. That means communication styles will vary among them. You have an opportunity to set your expectations up front for this particular project in your project plan. Having a communication plan is essential for making sure everyone understands what’s happening, how the project is progressing, and what’s going on next. And in case a roadblock comes up, you’ll already have a clear communication system in place.

As you’re developing your communication plan, consider the following questions:

How many project-related meetings do you need to have? What are their goals?

How will you manage project status updates ? Where will you share them?

What tool will you use to manage the project and communicate progress and updates?

[inline illustration] Communication plan for brand campaign in Asana (example)

Like the other elements of your project plan, make sure your communication plan is easily accessible within your project plan. Stakeholders and cross-functional collaborators should be able to easily find these guidelines during the planning and execution phases of your project. Using project planning tools or task management software that integrates with apps like Slack and Gmail can ensure all your communication happens in one easily accessible place. 

Example project plan

Next, to help you understand what your project management plan should look like, here are two example plans for marketing and design projects that will guide you during your own project planning.

Project plan example: annual content calendar

Let’s say you’re the Content Lead for your company, and it’s your responsibility to create and deliver on a content marketing calendar for all the content that will be published next year. You know your first step is to build your work plan. Here’s what it might look like:

Goals and success metrics

You establish that your goal for creating and executing against your content calendar is to increase engagement by 10%. Your success metrics are the open rate and click through rate on emails, your company’s social media followers, and how your pieces of content rank on search engines.

Stakeholders and each person’s role

There will be five people involved in this project.

You, Content Lead: Develop and maintain the calendar

Brandon and Jamie, Writers: Provide outlines and copy for each piece of content

Nate, Editor: Edit and give feedback on content

Paula, Producer: Publish the content once it’s written and edited

Your budget for the project plan and a year’s worth of content is $50,000.

Milestones and deliverables

Your first milestone is to finish the content calendar, which shows all topics for the year. The deliverable is a sharable version of the calendar. Both the milestone and the deliverables should be clearly marked on your project schedule.

You’ve determined that your schedule for your content calendar project plan will go as follows:

October 15 - November 1: The research phase to find ideas for topics for content

November 2 - November 30: Establish the topics you’ll write about

December 1 - January 1: Build the calendar

January 1 - December 31: Content will be written by Brandon and Jamie, and edited by Nate, throughout the year

January 16 - December 31: Paula will begin publishing and continue to do so on a rolling basis throughout the year.

You’ll have a kick-off meeting and then monthly update meetings as part of your communication plan. Weekly status updates will be sent on Friday afternoons. All project-related communication will occur within a  project management tool .

How ClassPass manages project plans from start to finish

Kerry Hoffman, Senior Project Manager of Marketing Operations at  ClassPass , oversees all marketing projects undertaken by the creative, growth, and content teams. Here are her top three strategies for managing project plans:

Identify stakeholders up front: No matter the size of the project, it’s critical to know who the stakeholders are and their role in the project so you ensure you involve the right people at each stage. This will also make the review and approval process clear before the team gets to work.

Agree on how you want to communicate about your project: Establish where and when communication should take place for your project to ensure that key information is captured in the right place so everyone stays aligned.

Be adaptable and learn other people’s working styles: Projects don’t always go according to plan, but by implementing proper integration management you can keep projects running smoothly. Also, find out how project members like to work so you take that into account as you create your plan. It will help things run smoother once you begin executing.

Write your next project plan like a pro

Congratulations—you’re officially a work planning pro. With a few steps, a little bit of time, and a whole lot of organization, you’ve successfully written a project plan.

Keep yourself and your team on track, and address challenges early by using project planning software like Asana . Work through each of the steps of your project plan with confidence, and streamline your communications with the team.

Related resources

business project plan template

Scope management plan: What is it and how to create one

business project plan template

7 causes of content calendar chaos—and how to solve them

business project plan template

How to create project schedules to make work easier

business project plan template

Marketing campaign management: 7 steps for success

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Business Plan Template

Use this free Business Plan Template for Word to manage your projects better.

business project plan template

To start your business journey on the right foot, download our free business plan template and break down your business goals into actionable components.

Before you can start your business, you need to find your niche, seek financial backing and create a business plan to bring your idea to fruition. Our free business plan template will guide you through every step of the way. But first, let’s quickly define what a business plan is.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that explains how a business will operate and establish itself in the market to generate profits. Business plans are usually created before a new business starts, to make sure there are no loose ends that could affect its profitability or ability to operate. They can also be created for business improvement purposes.

Business plans are also crucial for raising funds for new business ventures, as they’re used to provide the key details an investor should know to determine whether or not a business is a sound investment.

What Is a Business Plan Template?

Our business plan template outlines the business, product or service that you want to launch. It also details the market you’re targeting, the goals and objectives of the venture and how you propose to achieve them.

ProjectManager's free business plan template for Word.

The business plan is one of the three pillars that any new idea must stand on to be successful. The other two are a marketing plan and a financial plan. These will be touched upon in part within the business plan template and included in full as supporting documents.

What Should Be Included In a Business Plan Template?

Business plans vary from one organization to another. However, there are key elements that any business plan should have to provide a clear picture of a business, especially if you’re creating a business plan to request funding from investors. Here’s an outline that includes some of the most fundamental aspects to add to your business plans.

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Marketing & sales strategy
  • Operational plan
  • Financial projections
  • Organizational structure and management
  • Legal structure

While you can decide how thorough you want your business plan to be, you’ll want to provide as many details as possible. A detailed business plan can reveal significant flaws in your business model. Business planning flaws such as ignoring industry trends can cost your company money, or could even lead to bankruptcy, so it’s important that you take your time when making a business plan.

How to Use This Free Business Plan Template

Now, let’s dive into each of those sections to have a better idea of how to use this business plan template for Word.

Executive Summary

Here’s where you lay out your idea. Your executive summary is the elevator pitch, something that encapsulates your business plan contents in just one page or a couple of paragraphs.

The main purpose of your executive summary is to highlight the key elements from your business plan thatyou wish to communicate to investors or stakeholders such as the market opportunity, an overview of how you’ll manage the venture, competitive advantages, key aspects of the company background, etc.

Company Description

This section explains what your company does and what it intends to achieve.

  • Mission statement: The mission statement is a short action declaration that explains the purpose of your business and what it does. It should be one or two sentences long.
  • Vision statement: The vision statement is similar to your mission statement in terms of length, but the vision statement states the future goals of the organization.
  • Value proposition: The value proposition explains how your company will offer value to customers in a unique way that differentiates it from the competition.
  • Core values: The core values are the guiding principles that shape your company’s organizational culture, such as integrity, innovation and collaboration.

Market Analysis

This section should explain to readers how your company intends to compete and position itself in a particular market. To do so, you should include the following:

  • Industry analysis: Provide an overview of your business industry. Briefly explain if there are any current trends that might affect your business, either positively or negatively, such as new competitors, new technologies or any other changes. You should include statistics to explain how your industry has grown over the years to convince stakeholders of its value.
  • Target market: The target market section should explain the ideal customer for your products. Your marketing activities will be focused on this type of customer, so it should be the most profitable customer to serve. You can easily express what your target market is by creating buyer personas.
  • Direct competitors: Direct competitors are businesses that offer exactly the same type of product you do and also serve the same target market. For this reason, you should use your unique value proposition to differentiate from them. Think about two different brands of soda. They offer the exact same product to the same market, at the same place.
  • Indirect competitors: Indirect competitors are businesses that offer substitute products to your target market, which means they don’t offer the same product as you do, but their product could also be used to satisfy the same customer need. Now think about butter and margarine. While the product isn’t exactly the same, it can be purchased by customers to satisfy the same need.
  • SWOT analysis: SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis is a very important part of a business plan because it allows you to do a quick assessment of your current competitive position by looking at the internal strengths and weaknesses of your business while also considering any opportunities and threats from the external environment, such as the risk of new competitors or the opportunity of an underserved market.

Marketing & Sales Strategy

The purpose of this section is to explain how your company will market the product to your customers. It uses the 4 Ps of marketing as the guiding principle.

  • Product: Explain what your product is, how it works and how it’s meant to be used. Also, explain some of the main attributes or features that make it superior to other products on the market. This can be anything such as lower production costs , durability or ease of use.
  • Price: Pricing is an important part of your marketing strategy. Use this template to indicate your estimated profit margin along with a general description of the expected costs.
  • Place: Place simply refers to two main things. Your sales channels, which are the methods you use to sell your product, such as online e-commerce platforms or brick-and-mortar locations and your distribution channels, which are the methods of transportation you’ll use to bring your product from the production line to the final customer.
  • Promotion: Use this section to explain the various methods you’ll use to advertise your product, such as websites, social media platforms or traditional methods such as TV, newspaper or radio ads.

Operational Plan

This section should provide a quick overview of how your business will operate by outlining the following areas:

  • Day-to-day operations: Briefly explain how your business will serve customers or manufacture products. The goal is to provide a quick overview of the daily operations of your business for stakeholders and investors.
  • Supply chain: Every business needs to purchase raw materials, parts and components to deliver products or services to its target market. Use this section to explain the key steps in your supply chain , and who are your key suppliers.
  • Permits and regulatory compliance: Use this section to list any permits or regulatory compliance standards your products should meet, if any.

Financial Projections

Use this section to attach any financial documents you might have. If you’re starting a new business you can use financial forecasts. Here are some of the financial documents you can include.

  • Income statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Cash flow statements
  • Capital expenditure budgets
  • Cost forecasts
  • Gross profit projections
  • Profit & loss statement
  • Projected balance sheet

In addition to these documents, it’s advisable to include an exit strategy. The exit strategy is a contingency plan that’s executed to minimize losses for investors and business owners in the event of bankruptcy or if the business must be terminated at some point. Use this section to briefly explain how you’d execute your exit strategy.

Management Team and Key Personnel

It helps to build confidence and give investors a sense of the risk they’re dealing with if you can provide profiles of your executive and management team. In fact, anyone who will be instrumental in executing the business plan should be included. Their skills and experience can go a long way to realizing your business plan.

Legal Structure

Last but not least, use this section to explain whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or any other type of legal structure.

While you can decide how thorough you want your business plan to be, the more details you provide the better, as a detailed business plan can reveal significant flaws in your business model. Business planning flaws such as ignoring industry trends can cost your company money, or could even lead to bankruptcy, so it’s important that you take your time when making a business plan.

Why Should You Use a Business Plan Template?

The main reason for a business plan template is to show off your idea in the best possible way to attract investors by collecting the points that show why your business, product or service is viable.

The other reason is that nothing is possible without a plan. Launching a new business, product or service is a project, and a project without a plan is like a boat without a rudder. It might not sink, but it’s unlikely to get where you want it to go.

There are more detailed reasons to take the time and effort required to fill in our business plan template. For example, a bank and investors won’t let you in the door without a business plan. The same is true for any potential partners.

On top of that, the template provides broad strokes as to how to implement your idea . This is vitally important if you sway your investors and need to make the plan a reality.

Once you have investors on board, you need to turn your business plan into a viable project. Project management software like ProjectManager can help. Our Gantt charts can organize tasks, track costs, allocate resources and more. Plus, live dashboards give you a high-level view of performance to catch issues before they become problems. With project management software, you can plan, track and report on everything that matters. We’ll help you make your business plan a successful venture.

business project plan template

When Should You Use This Free Business Plan Template for Word?

You should use a business plan template when you’re getting ready to shop your idea for the bank, investors or a partner. Before using our template, you’ll want to have done all the necessary due diligence.

In other words, once you have an idea for the business, product or service, you need to do market research to see where it fits in the larger commercial landscape. Then, you’ll need to figure out how much capital you’ll need to realize the idea.

Once you have all the work done for your proposal, then you can start the process of filling in the business plan template. The more thorough your preparation, the more convincing your plan and the more likely you’ll get it off the ground.

Who Should Use This Free Business Plan Template for Word?

Anyone who is planning to run a business needs to use our business plan template. It’s your roadmap  and provides you with a plan forward by outlining objectives, establishing priorities and more.

You’ll also need this business plan template if you already have an established business and are looking for buyers to sell it to. This is also true if you’re looking to determine the value of your business says for taxes or estate planning.

How to Track the Execution of Your Business Plan With ProjectManager

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you organize your plan and execute it more effectively. Once you’ve filled in your business plan template, the real work begins. Our tool helps you create a schedule and manage your resources to successfully deliver your plan.

Gantt Charts to Plan

Use our Gantt chart project view to input your tasks or import the task list from any spreadsheet. You can also use one of the many industry-specific templates loaded into the tool to get you started. Then add durations for your tasks and they’ll populate the timeline side of the Gantt, giving you a full picture of the plan laid out chronologically.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart

Dashboards to Track Progress

When you execute your plan, you need to monitor its actual progress to make sure you’re on track. Our real-time dashboard collects status updates and automatically monitors your schedule, costs and other vital metrics, displaying them in easy-to-read graphs and charts. This high-level view helps you catch issues before they become problems.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Reports for Your Stakeholders

Keeping executives and other stakeholders in the loop is important. One-click reporting makes it simple to get data on the performance of your plan as it’s executed and then share those reports. They can even be filtered to give stakeholders the only information they want.

ProjectManager's status report filter

There’s so much more that ProjectManager does to make sure your plan is a success. From unlimited file storage to resource and team management, we allow you to make your business plan and implement it successfully.

What Other Free Excel Templates Can Help You Build a Business Plan?

Our business plan template collects a lot of information, but in order to have a thought-through plan, you’ll want to use some of the other free project management templates we have free on our website.

Project Charter Template

For your plan to work, you need to have a project charter. Our free project charter template helps you figure out the scope of your project, identify objectives and deliverables and even start figuring out the tasks, resources and costs for the work to come.

Statement of Work Template

The statement of work outlines the course of your project plan, including activities, deliverables and the timetable. It defines these essential components of any plan and acts as the first step in your journey to creating a project plan. The free statement of work (SOW) template lays it all out for you.

Project Proposal Template

Before the plan comes the proposal. It’s the pitch to get your project approved so you can then create a plan. The free project proposal template sets the stage and all you have to do is add the details. When approved you have already made the first step towards a plan, which makes it that much easier.

Related Business Planning Resources

If you’re looking for more information about business and planning, then check out the resources page on our website. We have tutorial videos, blog posts and guides that address every aspect of project management. Here are just a few relevant articles.

  • 15 Free Word and Excel Templates for Business 
  • Strategic Planning in Business
  • Why You Need a Reliable Business Continuity Plan
  • How to Choose a Project Planner That’s Right for You

ProjectManager is an online tool that gives you real-time data to make better decisions when managing your project. Organize your teams, help them collaborate and drive your project more efficiently to a successful end. Join the tens of thousands of teams that already use ProjectManager and take your free 30-day trial today.

Start your free 30-day trial

Deliver faster, collaborate better, innovate more effectively — without the high prices and months-long implementation and extensive training required by other products.

Powerful business plan templates

Plan for the future, no matter what your business plans are or the size of your business with these designs and templates. whether it's just one big project or an entire organization's worth of dreams, these templates will keep you and your company on track from ideation to completion..

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Put your ideas to work with simple templates for every business plan

Every successful business took a lot of planning to get there, and these templates will be cornerstones of your future success. Whether you're looking to attract new business, pitch your services or reimagine your company, with these simple, customizable templates at your fingertips you can turn complexity into something tangible. These templates can become marketing assets or simply remain internal touchpoints for your team. And as your dreams change, you'll always have this template to refer to – it's easy to change what exists on paper. If you're a small business, focusing on your niche can help you dominate in your field, and you can forge a plan to figure out exactly what that niche might be and how to target your ideal customer . When it's time to share your vision with stakeholders, craft a presentation that outlines your plan succinctly and with style. Let these templates from Microsoft Designer be your partner in business strategy for years to come.

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Project Management Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

project management business plan

Project Management Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their project management companies.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating a project management business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a project management business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your project management business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a project management business or grow your existing project management company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your project management business to improve your chances of success. Your project management business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Project Management Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a project management business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for project management companies.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a project management business.

If you want to start a project management business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your project management business plan.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of project management business you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a project management business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of project management businesses?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overview of the project management industry.
  • Discuss the type of project management business you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of project management business you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of project management businesses:

  • Marketing project management : this type of project management involves overseeing projects related to marketing and advertising.
  • Construction project management: this type of project management involves overseeing responsibilities related to planning and the logistics of a construction project.
  • Engineering project management: this type of project management is responsible for overseeing engineering projects to ensure they’re completed appropriately.
  • IT project management: this type of project management involves overseeing job duties such as establishing IT goals, overseeing the IT team’s processes and ensuring all project-related employees have the necessary resources to complete the project.

In addition to explaining the type of project management business you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of clients served, the number of clients with positive outcomes, reaching X number of clients served, etc.
  • Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the project management industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the project management industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your project management business plan:

  • How big is the project management industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your project management business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your project management business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: small businesses, midsize companies and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of project management business you operate. Clearly, corporations would respond to different marketing promotions than small businesses, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

Finish Your Project Management Business Plan in 1 Day!

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With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other project management businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. This includes in-house employees, online programs, or software. You need to mention such competition as well.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of clients do they serve?
  • What type of project management business are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide your own staff?
  • Will you offer products or services that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a project management business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of project management company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide consulting, scheduling, budgeting, or staffing?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your project management company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your project management business located in a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your project management marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Attend industry events and tradeshows
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your project management business, including answering calls, planning and providing project services, client interaction,  billing clients and/or vendors, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth client, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your project management business to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your project management business’ potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing project management businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a project management business or successfully running a small consulting firm.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you manage 5 clients per day, and/or offer consulting services? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your project management business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a project management business:

  • Cost of equipment and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of project management services you plan to offer.

Writing a business plan for your project management business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the project management industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful project management business.

Project Management Business Plan Template FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my project management business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your project management business plan.

How Do You Start a Project Management Business?

Starting a project management business is easy with these 14 steps:

  • Choose the Name for Your Project Management Business
  • Create Your Project Management Business Plan
  • Choose the Legal Structure for Your Project Management Business
  • Secure Startup Funding for Your Project Management Business (If Needed)
  • Secure a Location for Your Business
  • Register Your Project Management Business with the IRS
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  • Get Business Insurance for Your Project Management Business
  • Buy or Lease the Right Project Management Business Equipment
  • Develop Your Project Management Business Marketing Materials
  • Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Project Management Business
  • Open for Business

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your Project Management business plan?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.   Click here to see how a Growthink business planning advisor can create your business plan for you.

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Business Plan Template For Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Simple Business Plan

By Joe Weller | October 11, 2021

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A business plan is the cornerstone of any successful company, regardless of size or industry. This step-by-step guide provides information on writing a business plan for organizations at any stage, complete with free templates and expert advice. 

Included on this page, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan and a chart to identify which type of business plan you should write . Plus, find information on how a business plan can help grow a business and expert tips on writing one .

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that communicates a company’s goals and ambitions, along with the timeline, finances, and methods needed to achieve them. Additionally, it may include a mission statement and details about the specific products or services offered.

A business plan can highlight varying time periods, depending on the stage of your company and its goals. That said, a typical business plan will include the following benchmarks:

  • Product goals and deadlines for each month
  • Monthly financials for the first two years
  • Profit and loss statements for the first three to five years
  • Balance sheet projections for the first three to five years

Startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses all create business plans to use as a guide as their new company progresses. Larger organizations may also create (and update) a business plan to keep high-level goals, financials, and timelines in check.

While you certainly need to have a formalized outline of your business’s goals and finances, creating a business plan can also help you determine a company’s viability, its profitability (including when it will first turn a profit), and how much money you will need from investors. In turn, a business plan has functional value as well: Not only does outlining goals help keep you accountable on a timeline, it can also attract investors in and of itself and, therefore, act as an effective strategy for growth.

For more information, visit our comprehensive guide to writing a strategic plan or download free strategic plan templates . This page focuses on for-profit business plans, but you can read our article with nonprofit business plan templates .

Business Plan Steps

The specific information in your business plan will vary, depending on the needs and goals of your venture, but a typical plan includes the following ordered elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Description of business
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Description of organizational management
  • Description of product or services
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Funding details (or request for funding)
  • Financial projections

If your plan is particularly long or complicated, consider adding a table of contents or an appendix for reference. For an in-depth description of each step listed above, read “ How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step ” below.

Broadly speaking, your audience includes anyone with a vested interest in your organization. They can include potential and existing investors, as well as customers, internal team members, suppliers, and vendors.

Do I Need a Simple or Detailed Plan?

Your business’s stage and intended audience dictates the level of detail your plan needs. Corporations require a thorough business plan — up to 100 pages. Small businesses or startups should have a concise plan focusing on financials and strategy.

How to Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

In order to identify which type of business plan you need to create, ask: “What do we want the plan to do?” Identify function first, and form will follow.

Use the chart below as a guide for what type of business plan to create:

Is the Order of Your Business Plan Important?

There is no set order for a business plan, with the exception of the executive summary, which should always come first. Beyond that, simply ensure that you organize the plan in a way that makes sense and flows naturally.

The Difference Between Traditional and Lean Business Plans

A traditional business plan follows the standard structure — because these plans encourage detail, they tend to require more work upfront and can run dozens of pages. A Lean business plan is less common and focuses on summarizing critical points for each section. These plans take much less work and typically run one page in length.

In general, you should use a traditional model for a legacy company, a large company, or any business that does not adhere to Lean (or another Agile method ). Use Lean if you expect the company to pivot quickly or if you already employ a Lean strategy with other business operations. Additionally, a Lean business plan can suffice if the document is for internal use only. Stick to a traditional version for investors, as they may be more sensitive to sudden changes or a high degree of built-in flexibility in the plan.

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

Writing a strong business plan requires research and attention to detail for each section. Below, you’ll find a 10-step guide to researching and defining each element in the plan.

Step 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary will always be the first section of your business plan. The goal is to answer the following questions:

  • What is the vision and mission of the company?
  • What are the company’s short- and long-term goals?

See our  roundup of executive summary examples and templates for samples. Read our executive summary guide to learn more about writing one.

Step 2: Description of Business

The goal of this section is to define the realm, scope, and intent of your venture. To do so, answer the following questions as clearly and concisely as possible:

  • What business are we in?
  • What does our business do?

Step 3: Market Analysis

In this section, provide evidence that you have surveyed and understand the current marketplace, and that your product or service satisfies a niche in the market. To do so, answer these questions:

  • Who is our customer? 
  • What does that customer value?

Step 4: Competitive Analysis

In many cases, a business plan proposes not a brand-new (or even market-disrupting) venture, but a more competitive version — whether via features, pricing, integrations, etc. — than what is currently available. In this section, answer the following questions to show that your product or service stands to outpace competitors:

  • Who is the competition? 
  • What do they do best? 
  • What is our unique value proposition?

Step 5: Description of Organizational Management

In this section, write an overview of the team members and other key personnel who are integral to success. List roles and responsibilities, and if possible, note the hierarchy or team structure.

Step 6: Description of Products or Services

In this section, clearly define your product or service, as well as all the effort and resources that go into producing it. The strength of your product largely defines the success of your business, so it’s imperative that you take time to test and refine the product before launching into marketing, sales, or funding details.

Questions to answer in this section are as follows:

  • What is the product or service?
  • How do we produce it, and what resources are necessary for production?

Step 7: Marketing Plan

In this section, define the marketing strategy for your product or service. This doesn’t need to be as fleshed out as a full marketing plan , but it should answer basic questions, such as the following:

  • Who is the target market (if different from existing customer base)?
  • What channels will you use to reach your target market?
  • What resources does your marketing strategy require, and do you have access to them?
  • If possible, do you have a rough estimate of timeline and budget?
  • How will you measure success?

Step 8: Sales Plan

Write an overview of the sales strategy, including the priorities of each cycle, steps to achieve these goals, and metrics for success. For the purposes of a business plan, this section does not need to be a comprehensive, in-depth sales plan , but can simply outline the high-level objectives and strategies of your sales efforts. 

Start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the sales strategy?
  • What are the tools and tactics you will use to achieve your goals?
  • What are the potential obstacles, and how will you overcome them?
  • What is the timeline for sales and turning a profit?
  • What are the metrics of success?

Step 9: Funding Details (or Request for Funding)

This section is one of the most critical parts of your business plan, particularly if you are sharing it with investors. You do not need to provide a full financial plan, but you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How much capital do you currently have? How much capital do you need?
  • How will you grow the team (onboarding, team structure, training and development)?
  • What are your physical needs and constraints (space, equipment, etc.)?

Step 10: Financial Projections

Apart from the fundraising analysis, investors like to see thought-out financial projections for the future. As discussed earlier, depending on the scope and stage of your business, this could be anywhere from one to five years. 

While these projections won’t be exact — and will need to be somewhat flexible — you should be able to gauge the following:

  • How and when will the company first generate a profit?
  • How will the company maintain profit thereafter?

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Download Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Smartsheet

This basic business plan template has space for all the traditional elements: an executive summary, product or service details, target audience, marketing and sales strategies, etc. In the finances sections, input your baseline numbers, and the template will automatically calculate projections for sales forecasting, financial statements, and more.

For templates tailored to more specific needs, visit this business plan template roundup or download a fill-in-the-blank business plan template to make things easy. 

If you are looking for a particular template by file type, visit our pages dedicated exclusively to Microsoft Excel , Microsoft Word , and Adobe PDF business plan templates.

How to Write a Simple Business Plan

A simple business plan is a streamlined, lightweight version of the large, traditional model. As opposed to a one-page business plan , which communicates high-level information for quick overviews (such as a stakeholder presentation), a simple business plan can exceed one page.

Below are the steps for creating a generic simple business plan, which are reflected in the template below .

  • Write the Executive Summary This section is the same as in the traditional business plan — simply offer an overview of what’s in the business plan, the prospect or core offering, and the short- and long-term goals of the company. 
  • Add a Company Overview Document the larger company mission and vision. 
  • Provide the Problem and Solution In straightforward terms, define the problem you are attempting to solve with your product or service and how your company will attempt to do it. Think of this section as the gap in the market you are attempting to close.
  • Identify the Target Market Who is your company (and its products or services) attempting to reach? If possible, briefly define your buyer personas .
  • Write About the Competition In this section, demonstrate your knowledge of the market by listing the current competitors and outlining your competitive advantage.
  • Describe Your Product or Service Offerings Get down to brass tacks and define your product or service. What exactly are you selling?
  • Outline Your Marketing Tactics Without getting into too much detail, describe your planned marketing initiatives.
  • Add a Timeline and the Metrics You Will Use to Measure Success Offer a rough timeline, including milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure your progress.
  • Include Your Financial Forecasts Write an overview of your financial plan that demonstrates you have done your research and adequate modeling. You can also list key assumptions that go into this forecasting. 
  • Identify Your Financing Needs This section is where you will make your funding request. Based on everything in the business plan, list your proposed sources of funding, as well as how you will use it.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

Microsoft Excel |  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this simple business plan template to outline each aspect of your organization, including information about financing and opportunities to seek out further funding. This template is completely customizable to fit the needs of any business, whether it’s a startup or large company.

Read our article offering free simple business plan templates or free 30-60-90-day business plan templates to find more tailored options. You can also explore our collection of one page business templates . 

How to Write a Business Plan for a Lean Startup

A Lean startup business plan is a more Agile approach to a traditional version. The plan focuses more on activities, processes, and relationships (and maintains flexibility in all aspects), rather than on concrete deliverables and timelines.

While there is some overlap between a traditional and a Lean business plan, you can write a Lean plan by following the steps below:

  • Add Your Value Proposition Take a streamlined approach to describing your product or service. What is the unique value your startup aims to deliver to customers? Make sure the team is aligned on the core offering and that you can state it in clear, simple language.
  • List Your Key Partners List any other businesses you will work with to realize your vision, including external vendors, suppliers, and partners. This section demonstrates that you have thoughtfully considered the resources you can provide internally, identified areas for external assistance, and conducted research to find alternatives.
  • Note the Key Activities Describe the key activities of your business, including sourcing, production, marketing, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
  • Include Your Key Resources List the critical resources — including personnel, equipment, space, and intellectual property — that will enable you to deliver your unique value.
  • Identify Your Customer Relationships and Channels In this section, document how you will reach and build relationships with customers. Provide a high-level map of the customer experience from start to finish, including the spaces in which you will interact with the customer (online, retail, etc.). 
  • Detail Your Marketing Channels Describe the marketing methods and communication platforms you will use to identify and nurture your relationships with customers. These could be email, advertising, social media, etc.
  • Explain the Cost Structure This section is especially necessary in the early stages of a business. Will you prioritize maximizing value or keeping costs low? List the foundational startup costs and how you will move toward profit over time.
  • Share Your Revenue Streams Over time, how will the company make money? Include both the direct product or service purchase, as well as secondary sources of revenue, such as subscriptions, selling advertising space, fundraising, etc.

Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Lean Business Plan Templates for Startups

Download Lean Business Plan Template for Startups

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Startup leaders can use this Lean business plan template to relay the most critical information from a traditional plan. You’ll find all the sections listed above, including spaces for industry and product overviews, cost structure and sources of revenue, and key metrics, and a timeline. The template is completely customizable, so you can edit it to suit the objectives of your Lean startups.

See our wide variety of  startup business plan templates for more options.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Loan

A business plan for a loan, often called a loan proposal , includes many of the same aspects of a traditional business plan, as well as additional financial documents, such as a credit history, a loan request, and a loan repayment plan.

In addition, you may be asked to include personal and business financial statements, a form of collateral, and equity investment information.

Download free financial templates to support your business plan.

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

Outside of including all the key details in your business plan, you have several options to elevate the document for the highest chance of winning funding and other resources. Follow these tips from experts:.

  • Keep It Simple: Avner Brodsky , the Co-Founder and CEO of Lezgo Limited, an online marketing company, uses the acronym KISS (keep it short and simple) as a variation on this idea. “The business plan is not a college thesis,” he says. “Just focus on providing the essential information.”
  • Do Adequate Research: Michael Dean, the Co-Founder of Pool Research , encourages business leaders to “invest time in research, both internal and external (market, finance, legal etc.). Avoid being overly ambitious or presumptive. Instead, keep everything objective, balanced, and accurate.” Your plan needs to stand on its own, and you must have the data to back up any claims or forecasting you make. As Brodsky explains, “Your business needs to be grounded on the realities of the market in your chosen location. Get the most recent data from authoritative sources so that the figures are vetted by experts and are reliable.”
  • Set Clear Goals: Make sure your plan includes clear, time-based goals. “Short-term goals are key to momentum growth and are especially important to identify for new businesses,” advises Dean.
  • Know (and Address) Your Weaknesses: “This awareness sets you up to overcome your weak points much quicker than waiting for them to arise,” shares Dean. Brodsky recommends performing a full SWOT analysis to identify your weaknesses, too. “Your business will fare better with self-knowledge, which will help you better define the mission of your business, as well as the strategies you will choose to achieve your objectives,” he adds.
  • Seek Peer or Mentor Review: “Ask for feedback on your drafts and for areas to improve,” advises Brodsky. “When your mind is filled with dreams for your business, sometimes it is an outsider who can tell you what you’re missing and will save your business from being a product of whimsy.”

Outside of these more practical tips, the language you use is also important and may make or break your business plan.

Shaun Heng, VP of Operations at Coin Market Cap , gives the following advice on the writing, “Your business plan is your sales pitch to an investor. And as with any sales pitch, you need to strike the right tone and hit a few emotional chords. This is a little tricky in a business plan, because you also need to be formal and matter-of-fact. But you can still impress by weaving in descriptive language and saying things in a more elegant way.

“A great way to do this is by expanding your vocabulary, avoiding word repetition, and using business language. Instead of saying that something ‘will bring in as many customers as possible,’ try saying ‘will garner the largest possible market segment.’ Elevate your writing with precise descriptive words and you'll impress even the busiest investor.”

Additionally, Dean recommends that you “stay consistent and concise by keeping your tone and style steady throughout, and your language clear and precise. Include only what is 100 percent necessary.”

Resources for Writing a Business Plan

While a template provides a great outline of what to include in a business plan, a live document or more robust program can provide additional functionality, visibility, and real-time updates. The U.S. Small Business Association also curates resources for writing a business plan.

Additionally, you can use business plan software to house data, attach documentation, and share information with stakeholders. Popular options include LivePlan, Enloop, BizPlanner, PlanGuru, and iPlanner.

How a Business Plan Helps to Grow Your Business

A business plan — both the exercise of creating one and the document — can grow your business by helping you to refine your product, target audience, sales plan, identify opportunities, secure funding, and build new partnerships. 

Outside of these immediate returns, writing a business plan is a useful exercise in that it forces you to research the market, which prompts you to forge your unique value proposition and identify ways to beat the competition. Doing so will also help you build (and keep you accountable to) attainable financial and product milestones. And down the line, it will serve as a welcome guide as hurdles inevitably arise.

Streamline Your Business Planning Activities with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

Process Street

Project Management Project Plan Template

Define project scope, identify key stakeholders, create project schedule, determine budget, define communication strategy.

  • 4 Project Management Software
  • 5 In-person
  • 5 As needed

Identify Risks and Mitigation Strategies

Define project success criteria, approval: project manager for project scope.

  • Define Project Scope Will be submitted

Develop Detailed Project Plan

Set up project tracking tools.

  • 1 Project Management Software
  • 2 Spreadsheets
  • 3 Kanban Board
  • 4 Task Management Software
  • 5 Gantt Chart

Initiate Kickoff Meeting

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 2 Client Representative
  • 3 Team Members
  • 4 Stakeholders
  • 5 External Consultants

Assign Roles and Responsibilities

  • 2 Team Lead
  • 3 Subject Matter Expert
  • 4 Quality Analyst
  • 5 Technical Support

Monitor Project Progress

  • 1 Checklists
  • 2 Progress Reports
  • 3 Task Assignments
  • 4 Milestone Tracking
  • 5 Status Meetings
  • 5 Quarterly

Conduct Regular Project Status Meetings

  • 4 As needed

Maintain Project Documentation

  • 1 Project Charter
  • 2 Requirements Document
  • 3 Risk Register
  • 4 Meeting Minutes
  • 5 Change Requests

Apply Risk Management Practices

  • 1 Risk Identification
  • 2 Risk Assessment
  • 3 Risk Mitigation
  • 4 Risk Monitoring
  • 5 Risk Communication
  • 4 Quarterly

Facilitate Change Management

Approval: stakeholder for project deliverables.

  • Develop Detailed Project Plan Will be submitted

Conduct Project Closure Meeting

Analyze project performance.

  • 2 Key Performance Indicators
  • 3 Benchmarking
  • 4 Project Success Criteria Evaluation
  • 5 Stakeholder Feedback

Take control of your workflows today.

More templates like this.

Project Plan Template for BI

Project Plan Template for BI

  • Break down large tasks into smaller ones for faster progress
  • Align teams around overarching objectives
  • Ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities

Benefits of a Business Intelligence Project Plan Template

  • Preparation allows you to avoid costly surprises
  • Helps you track progress and stay on schedule
  • Facilitates communication and collaboration between team members
  • Reduces the risk of errors and misunderstandings

Main Elements of a Project Plan Template for BI

  • Project goals
  • A business need for the BI project
  • Scope of the project
  • Duration of the project
  • Team members assigned to the project
  • Detailed work breakdowns for each phase of the project
  • Resources required for the project

How to Use a Business Intelligence Project Plan Template

1. establish your strategy., 2. define roles and responsibilities., 3. identify data sources., 4. develop a timeline., 5. set up kpis & metrics., related project plan templates.

  • Business Analysis Project Plan Template
  • eLearning Project Plan Template
  • Building Renovation Project Plan Template
  • Data Analysis Project Plan Template
  • Road Construction Project Plan Template

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Tip:  When you’re giving Copilot instructions, you can direct it to specific work content by using the forward slash key (“/”), then typing the name of a file, person, or meeting.  If you write a prompt and don’t reference a specific file, person, or meeting, Copilot will determine the best source of data for its response, including all your work content.

Synthesize large amounts of data into simple, consumable responses and catch up on things quickly. Here are some examples:

You've been on vacation now you're back. You need to find out what's going on with Project X. Find the latest about Project X. What's the current timeline? When are deliverables due?

You've just joined a new team and you're trying to ramp up on recent activities. Summarize team communications over the last 30 days. What are the team's priorities? 

There's been a recent change in how your team is tracking work. Find information about the new way our team is tracking work. Include email communications and points of contact for questions.

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Brainstorm ideas and draft new content based on information at work. Here are some examples:

You want to draft a one-page description of a new project (let's call it Project Foo) that's just about to kick off at work. Using information in file1, file2, and file3, write a one-page description of Project Foo. Write it so non-technical people can understand what the project is about and when it's scheduled to be completed.

You're preparing an email to invite customers to attend an upcoming conference and visit your company's booth. Using information in Document Z, write a fun, catchy email inviting our customers to come see us at our booth during next month's conference.

You want to plan a morale event for your team. List 3-5 ideas for group activities in the Seattle area that would be suitable for my team. Include approximate cost and time estimates. 

Ask questions

Find information and get answers quickly, even if you can't remember where the information you need is or how it was shared. Here are some examples:

You need to know what's left in the budget for supplies. How much did we spend on supplies for Project Foo?  How much budget do we have left for Project Foo?

Your team received customer feedback. You want to identify the top things your team should address. Review the feedback we received from customers via email last week. What are the top three issues we should address?

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  3. 48 Professional Project Plan Templates [Excel, Word, PDF] ᐅ TemplateLab

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