If you are a small business, every bit of efficiency helps you. Free templates available online help you do exactly that. You don’t have to recreate Invoices, supply order forms, financial worksheets, NDA drafts, etc. They are all available out there. As you think about it, it seems fairly obvious to prepare templates for such repetitive tasks. It increases your productivity immensely and also gives you an opportunity to improve your brand image when you use customized templates for internal as well as external needs.
I have put together a list of useful resources. These are by no means exhaustive.
Google Docs Templates and Microsoft’s Office templates are, in general, very good resources for
presentation templates, MS Word and MS Excel based small business templates. Check them out. The resources below are in addition to the above and address a specific need.
Brainy Betty is a very good resource for free and paid templates. Besides just the templates, they also offer a range of extra utilities and add-ons to be used with PowerPoint. The premium templates are not free, but are good. You can search for different kinds of templates on the basis of keywords and template colors. Microsoft’s Business Presentation templates and HP’s business templates and images section are good sources where you can get very good free templates to be used for presentations. A couple of resources for pay-to-use PowerPoint templates are Presentation Load and Dream Template.
Business plan templates are essential for those run-ins with Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors. Having your plan ready and accessible makes you prepared for such situations. Bplans.com has a few good business plan templates to be used. Another very good resource for getting help on
making B-plans with prepared templates is Score’s template gallery. It has business plan templates for start ups and established companies.
3. Financial Accounting Worksheets
This is a very good tool for goal setting as well as continuously assessing your growth. Monitoring cash flow and financials is good habit for small and large companies.
Score’s template gallery has profit and loss projections, balance sheets, sales forecast, start up expenses, financial history and ratios, cash flow, and breakeven analysis templates.
If you are an expert in finance, Exinfm is a good resource for getting some very good and free templates for financial valuation and the like. They are organized as per expected requirements and you are bound to find some that will suit your needs.
Billing invoices need to be prepared fast and quick once the job is done. Microsoft’s site for Office products offers free templates for invoices. They are spread out over a range of different needs and requirements as anticipated for almost all kinds of businesses.
5. Office Agenda and Memos
If you need to have meetings frequently with your group, you know how important it is to have an agenda for the meeting ready and circulated among the members prior to the meeting. Having a simple template according to what you usually discuss makes it easy for you to record the proceedings and make sure that critical issues are covered. Meetings can stretch on for hours if no agenda was agreed upon in the beginning and valuable time is lost. I found that Microsoft’s online help has a good set of free templates for you to use for internal meetings, conferences, community meets among others.
6. Non-Disclosure Agreements
You often need NDAs when you share sensitive information with an affiliate or a client. Having a simple template for this is always handy. This is a fairly generic document, so you may try out any of the following templates. Please note that if there are some specific laws or clauses to be inserted, you need to have a section for them. Links: Business-in-a-box, Experienced People. You should also know that p2w2 has off-the-shelf, customizable Non Disclosure agreements that you can use when you document terms of service with a professionals.
7. Work-for-hire agreements
A simple work-for-hire document is about getting work done through others (like you can do on p2w2) but protecting the intellectual property in that work so you can claim it. P2w2 has off-the-shelf, customizable work-for-hire templates. In addition, Docstoc is a good source of such templates.
(Disclaimer: Nothing in this post or blog should be considered legal advice)
About the author: Chaitanya Sagar is the Co-Founder and CEO of p2w2, which helps small businesses outsource services like writing, software, graphic design, virtual assistance, business consulting and research. He is fascinated by entrepreneurship and the difference technology can make in people’s lives. Chaitanya blogs at p2w2 blog (RSS) and tweets at www.twitter.com/Chaitanya.
Picture credits: Envios, Endlosautomat