A business plan is a crucial activity for any entrepreneur or business owner looking to start or expand their business. Without a plan a business is likely to fail or stagnate.
The resulting document can serve as the blueprint for your business and be supplied to financial institutions or investors if debt or equity financing is needed to get your business off the ground.
That does not mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch. A template is great--you probably are not doing anything that has not been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized.
Operating Plan. The operating plan outlines the physical requirements of your business, such as office, warehouse, or retail space, equipment, inventory and supply needs, labor, etc. For a one-person, home-based consulting business the operating plan will be short and simple, but for a business such as a restaurant or manufacturer that requires custom facilities, supply chains, specialized equipment, and multiple employees, the operating plan needs to be much more detailed.