First, you need to understand what key documents you need and use regularly. Then you can create your own branded versions, tailored to your business and ready for use at the click of a mouse. I’m not a graphic designer, and unless you have a budget for one, you will need to create these templates yourselves and write compelling copy for them. This can be daunting in itself, but many free online templates can be downloaded, and tailored and branded to your requirements. The main message though is not to over complicate these documents and provide clear and succinct information.
Every company is different but, to start, my suggestion for the top 7 templates you will need are:
Business Plan – this is a written description of your business’s future. It states where you are now, what you plan to do and how you strategically plan to do it – almost like the GPS of how to get your business going. It is central to how you start, grow and develop your business. It also helps reach milestones and get funding (if you need it). What’s important is that your business plan meets your needs. There are millions of templates online to access but pick a plan format that works best for you. Check out these suggestions: https://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/7-of-best-business-plan-templates-you-can-download-for-free-right-now.html
Rate card/product prices – a fundamental tool but regardless of what you do, people want to know what you charge for your products and services. Ensure the relevant information is shown and easy to see at a glance, and, if applicable, what those rates cover. Even if your prices vary due to the nature of the work, state this. As a copywriter, every project I do is different. So I tell my clients that my rate card reflects my ‘from’ prices and that a set quote is provided on full disclosure of the project scope.
New business proposal – this is typically used by a business-facing company where a seller aims to persuade a prospective buyer into buying their goods or services. Primarily a sales pitch, it is designed to provide information on:
- Who you are and what your company does
- The problem your buyer faces
- The solution your company offers to alleviate the problem
- How your company will implement this solution effectively
- An estimate of resources (time, money, etc.) required to implement the solution
If this is something you need to grow your business, then check out these free templates:
Client emails – There is truly nothing worse than an automated, lifeless email from a company. You always want your customers to feel engaged and pleased to hear from you. Although you would love every email to a prospective or current customer to be hand-crafted every time, this can be time-consuming and daunting. Having email templates that can be easily personalised also reduces errors and maintains a consistent brand tone and voice. You may need a few versions that include welcome business, thank you and apology email templates.
Click on this link for Hubspot and download nine free customer email templates that cover each of these scenarios:
Company newsletter – these can be a great way to grow your subscriber base, keep your business top-of-mind, and nurture your current leads. This not only needs excellent content but also needs to have a visually appealing layout too. Once you find a newsletter that you like, download it and customise it to fit your needs.
Bio template – much like an elevator pitch for networking, you will often need to provide a bio that succinctly introduces yourself and also showcases your work, competence, and areas of expertise. This can be used on a social media platform, a personal website, company team page, presentation or article.
A sample bio for a speaker, freelancer or entrepreneur:
A completed example is:
Invoice – you may have an accounting system that automatically generates invoices if not, it is essential to create your own. As the bread and butter of your business, it’s the only way to make an income legally, and hopefully, this will be your most used template! It should include title, dates, invoice number, company information, customer’s information, product/service details, price, tax and the total.
Having templates will help you going forward with your business. Initially, they take time to create, and as you grow and transform, you may need to create more or tweak your current ones.
Whatever templates you choose to have at hand, they are essential for your productivity long-term!