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In this 3rd post of our start a business series, we’re releasing the business plan template we use at Happycry. The business plan can be one of the most daunting tasks when starting a business, but once you understand what it’s for – and how it can help get your prospective business get started – everything becomes clearer…

Where to start?

When we first decided to start a business I don’t think either Myself or Paul had ever even looked at a business plan, never mind written one! As designers, we didn’t have a clue where to start.

Actually, there’s plenty of places to start looking for help and advice, the Internet being the obvious one, but you should also look into local business support schemes. There are many around and some are even free or subsidised to keep costs low for potential startups. The business link website has a wealth of resources (which can seem like overkill at times) and you’ll find plenty of example business plans online.

As a web design and branding business, none of these examples or templates were quite right for what we wanted to do. We took bits from here and there, added sections, deleted sections, and structured the plan to how we felt worked best for us.

The template

We’ve decided to release our template to give other prospective businesses and freelancers a starting point from which to build on. No business is the same, so I wouldn’t advice using the template section for section. Cut, chop and mould the structure to a format that suits you and your business.

The content is obviously geared towards a creative business such as web or graphic design – so keep that in mind if your not this type of business. There is none of our original content in there (that’s confidential!), but for each section I’ve included a short explanation of the kind of content we included.

You can preview the template and download it as a public Google Doc template or a Word document (the table of contents probably won’t work in Word format). It’s released under a creative commons license.

In our next post we’ll be releasing an accompanying spreadsheet for the financial section of the plan, so eventually you’ll have a full business plan kit to get you started as a new business.

Other resources

As I said, we sourced a lot of help when starting our design business but a special thanks must go out to Ray Haigh at Pacific Stream for his invaluable help as well as everyone who helped us at the Graduate Development Centre at LJMU.

Here are some links to some other business plan resources, templates and advice:

It would be great to hear other designers/developers experience in writing business plans. How useful do you find them for starting and then running your design business?

Creative Commons License
Business Plan Template by Happycry design studio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at

Posted on 05 August 2010

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