10 Business Plan Examples for Students (2024)

Written by Peter Keszegh

Starting a business isn’t just for the established entrepreneurs. If you’re a student with a great business idea, or if you’re just looking to earn extra money on the side, you can set up your own business with the right steps and preparation, too!

In this article, we’ll list some business plan examples for students and how you can turn your business ideas into reality.

Opened notebook with white blank pages and pen on table

What is a business plan?

In simple terms, a business plan is a detailed document that explains everything you need to know about your business idea. It includes your goals for your business and how exactly you plan to achieve them.

A business plan should be able to explain why your product or service is valuable, your target market for your business, and your future plans for the business.

Having a well-written business plan is important, especially if you’re looking at seeking external funding from investors. Even if you’re planning to use personal funds for your business, the business plan will help outline all your operational and management strategies.

Tailoring your plan to your business

While business plans have some standard sections used by all industries, it’s best to tailor your business plan depending on what your market is. For instance, if you’re planning to sell food products, you need to write sections on sourcing ingredients and quality control.

Think about what’s special about your business, and make sure to incorporate that in your business plan. Put yourselves in the shoes of an external investor – what would they want to know about your business? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, too.

Document on a Clipboard

Parts of a business plan

You might be wondering – how should we structure a business plan? Here are some key sections you might want to include when writing your business plan:

Executive summary

An executive summary is exactly that – a summary of what your business is all about and your goals for the future. Make sure to include what your product or service plans to do, your target market, and key milestones you’d like to achieve. If you have plans to source external funding, mention this here, too.

Company description

You can use this section to expound on what you plan to achieve and what your business vision is. Use this section to highlight what makes your business unique, and why your product or service offers an innovative solution.

Market analysis

If you’re looking to start a business, you need to have a good understanding of the market and who your competitors are. Do the research to make sure there’s a real need for your product or service, and make sure you know what sets your business apart from competitors.

Organizational structure

If you’re working with a team and you all have different responsibilities, make sure to put that into writing. This doesn’t have to be too formal – all you have to do is make sure everyone’s tasks are clearly delineated so there’s no overstepping.

Product line or services offered

Talk about what you plan to sell or offer as a business. What exactly does your product or service do? What makes it so special, and what can your product or service do that isn’t already offered by your competitors?

Marketing and sales strategies

How do you plan to promote your business to attract customers and secure sales? You can talk about where you plan to sell your products or offer your services, and how you plan to advertise your business.

Financial projections and funding requests

Set financial goals for your business and identify when your business will likely break even. If you need to secure external funding, make sure to mention this here, and mention how much money you’ll be needing and how you’ll be spending it.

Appendix

Relevant documents that you mentioned earlier in your business plan should be included here. For instance, if you conducted market research via a survey, put your survey data here.

Of course, don’t be limited by the sections listed here. If there are other relevant details you’d like to talk about in your business plan, don’t be afraid to explore them. For instance, if you’re looking at using new technologies and tools for your product or service, you can write a relevant section in your business plan as well.

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Why students need to master business plans

Businesses aren’t just for more seasoned entrepreneurs – starting a business can prove to be useful for students who want to hone their skills and become more business-minded.

Here’s how business plans can help students:

Enhancing strategic decision-making

You’ll have to make a lot of decisions when running a business, and business plans will force you to make smarter decisions. You don’t want to make things unnecessarily difficult for you and your team only to get mediocre results – you want to make sure you make the most out of your resources!

This kind of strategic decision-making isn’t something you learn in the classroom. Hands-on business experience will be useful for you to make wise decisions, even if it means learning from mistakes.

Improving market research and analysis skills

As students, you already do a lot of research for different school projects. When setting up a business, you’ll have to do research of your own to get a better understanding of the market your business plans to work in.

Having a good understanding of the market will also improve your analysis skills. For instance, doing enough research on the retail industry will give you a better idea of who the average retail customer is, allowing you to tweak your marketing and sales strategies to capture that target market.

Honing financial literacy and forecasting

Discussions about money and numbers can get pretty confusing. When you’re setting up a business and dealing with real, tangible figures, you’ll gain a better understanding of how finances work, how profitable your business might be, and what you’ll likely be spending money on.

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Business plan examples for students

If you need a little help in thinking about the kind of business you want to set up, here are 10 business plan examples for students that you can use as inspiration:

Multiethnic female friends studying with books

Tutoring services

Some students will understand subjects better than others, which means there are a number of students who’ll need a little bit of help when it comes to their academic requirements and upcoming exams.

If you’re academically gifted and have a talent for teaching, you might want to consider offering tutoring services in your school.

  • Executive summary: Mission, services offered, and target client demographic.
  • Business description: Subjects covered, and technologies used (if applicable).
  • Services provided: Individual tutoring, group workshops, and ongoing support options.
  • Market analysis: Demographic trends, existing offerings, and unmet needs.
  • Marketing strategy: Flyers, community center partnerships, and word-of-mouth referral programs.
  • Operational plan: Scheduling system, session formats (in-person, online), and materials preparation.
  • Management and organization: Tutor recruitment, training programs, and operational leadership.
  • Financial summary: Basic costs, session pricing, financial goals, and sustainability plan.
Delivery Man Wearing a Face Mask and Holding a Bicycle

Campus delivery service business

Especially during finals weeks, students can get pretty busy and can often forget to take care of themselves. How many all-nighters have you pulled as a student, and how many times have you skipped a meal to work on a deadline?

If this sounds like the kind of culture in your university, you might want to consider setting up a campus delivery service to cater to busy students. Here’s how you can set up your business plan:

  • Executive summary: Service overview, mission, and objectives.
  • Company description: Origins, campus focus, and service differentiation.
  • Service offering: Types of delivery services offered (e.g., food, groceries).
  • Market analysis: Campus demographics, needs assessment, and competitor analysis.
  • Marketing strategy: Promotional tactics targeting students and staff, partnerships with local businesses.
  • Operations plan: Delivery logistics, technology use (e.g., apps, GPS tracking), and hours of operation.
  • Management and organization: Team roles, volunteer vs. paid staff, and management hierarchy.
  • Financial plan: Start-up costs, pricing strategy, revenue projections, and break-even analysis.
Woman Wearing Pink and Black Sports Bra Holding Towel

Campus fitness and wellness programs

Another way you can help students in your school become healthier is to offer services that focus on fitness and wellness. If there’s a need for students in your school to become more physically active or to just take better care of their overall wellness, you could offer relevant programs on campus.

  • Executive summary: Concept, target audience, and objectives of the fitness programs.
  • Business description: Range of services (classes, personal training, wellness workshops).
  • Market analysis: Campus health trends, competitor offerings, and student wellness needs.
  • Services: Detailed look at program offerings, schedules, and customization options.
  • Marketing plan: Engagement strategies, campus events, and partnership with student health services.
  • Operational plan: Instructor qualifications, equipment needs, and location logistics.
  • Management and organization: Structure of the team, roles, and experience in health and wellness.
  • Financial overview: Initial setup costs, pricing strategy, revenue streams, and financial projections.
Shallow Focus Photo of Woman Using a Laptop

Student freelance platform

Freelancing is a popular way for students to earn extra income on the side, in the middle of their busy class schedules. If you have enough know-how when it comes to setting up websites or apps, you might want to consider launching a portal where student freelancers can conveniently find more freelance gigs.

  • Executive summary: Platform purpose, target market, and value proposition.
  • Business description: Niche focus (e.g., design, tutoring, programming), platform features.
  • Market analysis: Demand for freelance work among students, analysis of existing platforms, gap identification.
  • Service description: User interface, service categories, payment processing system.
  • Marketing and sales strategy: Campus outreach, online presence, and user acquisition strategies.
  • Technology plan: Website architecture, user security measures, and scalability.
  • Operations plan: Customer support, dispute resolution process, and freelancer vetting process.
  • Financial summary: Funding requirements, monetization strategy, and financial forecasts.
Positive young diverse students surfing smartphone in hallway

Mobile app for campus services and networking business

Maybe you’ve got an enormous campus that boasts a lot of helpful activities and services that most students might not already be aware of. If you want to promote these services in an innovative way, you could think about setting up a mobile app that students can use as a one-stop-shop for all their campus service needs.

  • Executive summary: Introduction to the app, its core functionalities, and target user base.
  • Business description: Insight into how the app facilitates campus life, services offered, and networking features.
  • Market analysis: Current apps in the market, student needs analysis, and potential for growth.
  • Product description: Detailed functionalities, user interface design, and privacy features.
  • Marketing plan: Strategies for app launch, user acquisition, and partnerships with university departments.
  • Technology plan: Development roadmap, platform compatibility, and maintenance plan.
  • Management and operations: Team structure, developer roles, and operational milestones.
  • Financial projections: Budget for app development, marketing costs, monetization strategies, and revenue forecasts.
Leaves and a Flower on a Person's Socks

Eco-friendly apparel brand

Everyone’s becoming more eco-conscious nowadays, and brands who often highlight their environmentally-friendly practices do get a good reputation. If you want to tap into that market and mix it with a bit of fashion design, you can choose to set up an eco-friendly apparel business.

  • Executive summary: Brand mission, product range, and sustainability goals.
  • Company background: Inspiration behind the brand, target demographic, and brand story.
  • Products and services: Description of apparel line, materials used, and production process.
  • Market analysis: Trends in sustainable fashion, target market behavior, and competitive landscape.
  • Marketing strategy: Branding, social media campaigns, and collaborations with eco-conscious influencers.
  • Operational plan: Supply chain management, ethical sourcing, and online versus physical sales approach.
  • Management team: Roles, responsibilities, and background of team members.
  • Financial plan: Initial investment, cost structure, sales forecast, and profitability analysis.
Set of natural nonpolluting toiletries on marble table

Sustainable campus living products

Maybe you’re not too keen on selling apparel, but you’d still like to tap into the market of students who prioritize sustainable brands and products. 

If you also share the same passion for sustainability and have ideas on how to cater to students’ needs, you might want to consider selling sustainable products instead that dormers and other students will find useful for everyday life.

  • Executive summary: Mission statement, product line overview, and sustainability goals.
  • Company overview: Background on the inspiration for eco-friendly products targeted at students.
  • Market analysis: Trends in sustainability, potential campus markets, and niche opportunities.
  • Products offered: Description of eco-friendly living products (reusable containers, biodegradable goods).
  • Marketing and sales strategy: Campus-based initiatives, eco-friendly partnerships, and social media.
  • Operations: Sourcing of materials, product manufacturing, and logistics.
  • Management team: Founder’s background, operational management, and advisory board.
  • Financial projections: Cost analysis, sales forecast, funding requirements, and profitability timeline.
People at Event in Town

Student event planning service

A big part of student life is all about events and getting to meet new people. Not only is event planning a big thing for official student organizations, it’s also helpful for smaller communities who want to organize events to meet like-minded people.

If events are a popular thing in your school, you might benefit from setting up a student event planning service.

  • Executive summary: Overview of services, unique selling points, and business goals.
  • Company description: Types of events covered (e.g., academic, social, sporting).
  • Service offering: Full event planning, day-of coordination, and consultation services.
  • Market analysis: Campus event culture, demand for event planning services, competitor overview.
  • Marketing plan: Outreach strategies, partnerships with campus organizations, and promotional materials.
  • Operational strategy: Event logistics, vendor relationships, and event execution checklist.
  • Management structure: Leadership team, volunteer opportunities, and staffing needs.
  • Financial projections: Pricing model, expected expenses, revenue estimates, and growth potential.
Selective Focus Photography of Woman Holding Camera

Campus event photography service

Every big event needs good documentation to go with it. Even if your school isn’t big on events, you can choose to offer photography services to groups of friends who want cute little photoshoots in the most Instagrammable parts of your campus.

If you have a knack for photography, here’s how you can start offering photography services on campus:

  • Executive summary: Concept and goals for providing photography services for campus events and personal photoshoots.
  • Company description: Insights into the types of events covered (e.g., graduations, parties, portraits).
  • Services offered: Packages available, including event coverage, individual portraits, and group sessions.
  • Market analysis: Demand for photography services on campus, existing offerings, and unique selling points.
  • Marketing strategy: Portfolio development, social media presence, partnerships with event organizers.
  • Operational plan: Booking process, event execution, post-processing, and delivery of images.
  • Management team: Background of the photographer(s), roles in business management, marketing, and customer service.
  • Financial plan: Pricing strategy, cost of equipment and travel, revenue projections, and growth potential.
Woman Looking At Paintings Displayed On The Wall

Student art gallery and workshop space

Maybe you’re from an art school, or your campus boasts a rich and talented artistic community. If your school’s artists are looking for a space to display their art, setting up a gallery and workshop space might be a profitable and sustainable business opportunity.

  • Executive summary: Vision, goals, and unique aspects of the art gallery and workshop space.
  • Company overview: Concept behind promoting student art, workshop themes, and community benefits.
  • Market analysis: Interest in local art, campus cultural activities, and potential for art sales.
  • Services and products: Exhibition schedules, workshop offerings, and art sales.
  • Marketing strategy: Promotions through campus channels, local art scenes, and social media.
  • Operations: Gallery setup, workshop logistics, and artist collaboration processes.
  • Management team: Backgrounds in art management, curation, and education.
  • Financials: Start-up expenses, pricing for art and workshops, expected revenue, and growth potential.
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Common mistakes to avoid for student businesses

Setting up a business is no walk in the park, especially for young and inexperienced students. Here are some common mistakes that you can avoid when planning your own business, so you can steer clear of bigger problems down the road:

Lack of a well-defined business plan

It should go without saying that insufficient planning will make it difficult to get your business off the ground. Make sure you put down all important details in writing, and consult experts and get insights from successful small businesses if you need to.

Underestimating the importance of market research

You’ll need more than just a cool idea to start a business. There needs to be a real need or demand for your product or service, and if there’s another business already offering the same thing, you need to make sure your product or service is different or unique.

Familiarize yourself with the existing market and what the market gaps are. Once you identify what that market needs, you can tailor your business plans to try to fill in that gap.

Overlooking legal and financial regulations

Being a student doesn’t exempt you from following standard business regulations. Double check with experts and do extra research to make sure your business complies with all necessary regulations. For instance, you may need to officially register your business, or secure necessary permits.

Inadequate financial planning and management

Your business needs to be on financially stable ground for it to stay sustainable. Make sure you know if you’re in good financial standing to launch your business, and make sure you aren’t spending more than what you can actually afford.

Ignoring the importance of a strong team

It’s tempting to do everything yourself, especially if you lack funds or the ability to delegate tasks. However, you might benefit from having a team of members with various skills. A strong team will bring in more ideas to the table, and will be helpful in managing heavy workloads.

Overlooking customer feedback

You need to listen to what your customers are saying to adapt to their needs and wants. Are your products too expensive? Are people looking for different colors of your products? Engage with your customers so they can let you know how you can improve your business.

Neglecting online marketing

Social media is everything in today’s digital age! You’ll be able to reach a wider audience if you set up social media accounts on different platforms to advertise your services or products.

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Future steps for student business owners

So you’ve made your business plan – congratulations! But where do you go from here?

If you want to know whether or not your business is taking off and what future opportunities you can secure, here are some ideas:

Evaluating business performance

Regularly review how well your business is performing by checking product sales, total profits, and how wide your customer base is. If you’ve been earning a good amount of money and are selling popular products or services, that’s a great sign!

Make sure to listen to customer feedback, too, as your customers might give you helpful insights that you might not immediately be aware of. You can do this via informal chats with your customers, or via more formal means like customer surveys.

Exploring growth strategies

Once you’ve evaluated how well your business is performing, you might want to consider growing your business if there’s a demand for a product or service you aren’t already offering, or if there’s an adjacent market you can tap into.

For instance, if you’re offering tutoring services for basic algebra classes, you might want to offer sessions for more complicated math subjects if your tutees need them. If you’ve set up an art space that can also be used as a venue for student events, you can consider expanding your offerings.

Scaling the business

Maybe your business has really taken off and has hit a point that you can no longer meet the customer demand with your tiny team. If that’s the case, you might want to consider scaling.

You can scale your business by adding more people to your team, or ramping up your production efforts.

Building a brand

Don’t be afraid to make a name for yourself! Explore how you can create a brand for your business. This is where you can let your creative juices flow – do you want to appear like a sophisticated and professional brand, or are you going for a more quirky approach?

Cheerful multiethnic students with books sitting near university

Takeaways for business plan examples for students

The opportunities are endless if you want to set up a business as a student. Let your imagination run wild and look through business plan examples for students if you want to start selling or offering something new to your school’s community.

Don’t be intimidated by your lack of expertise or resources just yet – with the right mindset and enough determination, you’ll be able to set up your business for success and start your journey as a solid business owner!

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