Are you about starting a business but you don’t know what kind of business plan to write? If YES, here are 14 types of business plans and their functions.
A business plan is a formal written document that contains business goals, the methods on how these goals can be attained, and the time frame within which these goals need to be achieved. Business plans guide owners, management and investors during the start off stage of the business, and it equally guides the business as it grows from one stage to the other.
Savvy business owners write a business plan to guide management and to promote investment capital. Businesses without a solid plan typically burn out fast or fail to turn a profit in the long run. Without a well-planned business strategy, it is not possible for a business to scale through problems smoothly, and it would equally be an uphill task to achieve success.
A foolproof business plan highlights varying aspects of a potential business and integrates few essential features like business objectives, possible growth rate and many other characteristics that your business will include and assimilate. How to promote investment capital will be illustrated broadly in a business plan.
There are various kinds of business plans and in this article we will outline the various business plans and tell you the function of each.
14 Types of Business Plans and Their Functions
- Start-Up Business Plans
One of the very popular business plans in the world of business is the startup business plan. The startup business plans contain an exhaustive approach for starting and growing a business. It is different from all other business plans because of its nature and the details that are taken into consideration right from the inception of the business till the growth stage along with the vision of at least five years.
With this business plan, new businesses need to detail the steps they need to take while starting a business. This document typically includes sections describing the company, the product or service the business will supply, market evaluations and the intended projected management team.
Potential investors will also require a financial analysis with spreadsheets describing financial areas including, but not limited to, income, profit and cash flow projections. Startup business plans can equally be used by established companies to launch a new product line or to enter an entirely new business segment in the market. Conglomerates use this plan if they are launching a new business.
- It xrays the Business: The startup business plan explains what a business is all about by describing the products or services in detail and what the ultimate goals of the business are. For example, your plan may stipulate what your revenue goals are for each of your first three years of operation. Your plan should also indicate why you believe there is a need for your business and who your main competitors will be.
- Helps in securing funding: It’s no secret that businesses can’t function without any operating capital to kick-start their production cycle. Entrepreneurs are often required to take loans from financial institutions to purchase property, get the equipment or hire manpower. Startup business plans would help them access funding speedily.
- Outlines Possible Weaknesses: Startup business plans helps businesses to find out the weaknesses of the business in question. Highs and lows are a part of life and without them; we wouldn’t feel the need for improvement. A startup business plan helps you preempt the lows and maximize the highs.
- It provides an execution plan: Describing how your business will function and perform in the market is important when dealing with sponsors and investors. A startup business plan will explain your products and services, your targeted customers, the required funds and what’s necessary for your startup to thrive
- Internal Business Plans
As the name suggests the internal business plan is for internal stakeholders of the business. This type of business plan helps to evaluate projects which are specific and they keep the team up to speed about the current status of the company.
The company has more chances of success if everyone in the team is entirely on board, that is why the internal business plan is needed to keep everyone in the company on the same lane. It contains strategies and ways to improve the current business working and suggests a new pattern for growth.
- It answers questions pertaining to the internal workings of the company: Is the company growing or declining? Does the working pattern need change, improvement or modification? These are the type of questions which internal business plans answer. The primary purpose of the internal business plan is not to show the balance sheet of the financial position of the company to the external stakeholders but it is to run the business as smoothly as possible.
- It targets specific teams to streamline their functions: Internal business plans target a specific audience within the business, for example, the marketing team who need to evaluate a proposed project. This document will describe the company’s current state, including operational costs and profitability, then calculate if and how the business will repay any capital needed for the project. Internal plans provide information about project marketing, hiring and tech costs.
- Strategic Business Plans
A strategic business plan provides a high-level view of a company’s goals and how it will achieve them, laying out a foundational plan for the entire company. While the structure of a strategic plan differs from company to company, most include five elements: business vision, mission statement, definition of critical success factors, strategies for achieving objectives and an implementation schedule.
A strategic business plan brings all levels of the business into the big picture, inspiring employees to work together to create a successful culmination to the company’s goals. These types of plans typically skip the more detailed financial data and milestones because they are not important to the team at this point.
Strategic business plans also help to create internal efficiency so you can get the best results. The strategic business plan also comprises business vision, mission statement, strategies for achieving objectives, success factors and implementation schedules.
- They help in the execution of business strategies: Strategic business plans help to outline how the company will get to where it wants to go. They outline the strategy your team must carry out to achieve your goals, including your strengths, weaknesses and how you’re going to utilize your opportunities.
- To keep the company focused: The primary purpose of the strategic business plan is to carve the way to go ahead and answer the questions like What are you going to get and How do you intend to go about it. These answers are nothing but the strategy that the team must execute in order to achieve their targets.
- Feasibility Business Plans
A feasibility business plan answers two primary questions about a proposed business venture: who, if anyone, will purchase the service or product a company wants to sell, and if the venture can turn a profit. Feasibility business plans include, but are not limited to, sections describing the need for the product or service, target demographics and required capital. A feasibility plan ends with recommendations for going forward.
- Identify the target market of a business: The feasibility business plan determines who will purchase the service or product of the company.
- To answer the ‘why’ question of a company: The feasibility business plan describes the need for a product or service including the target demographics and the financials required to start the business.
- Operations Business Plans
Operations plans are internal plans that consist of elements related to company operations. An operations plan, specifies implementation markers and deadlines for the coming year. The operations plan outlines employees’ responsibilities. Operational business plans are typically very small because they are cut down to a year’s worth of information.
- It projects the business on a yearly basis: The operations business plan isn’t made to tell investors how you intend on turning a profit in the span of five years. It’s simply where you expect to be in 365 days. An annual plan can also be an internal plan (i.e., the strategy your employees intend to enact over the next year).
- It is used to scout for investors: The operations business plan can also be used to attract investors at the very beginning. Annual business plans are perfect for companies that expect to make big changes in the not-so-distant future. Investors love to see this.
- Growth Business Plans
Growth plans or expansion plans are in-depth descriptions of proposed business growth and are written for internal or external purposes. If company’s growth requires investment, a growth plan may include complete descriptions of the company, its management and officers. The plan must provide all company details to satisfy potential investors.
If a growth plan needs no capital, the authors may forego obvious company descriptions, but will include financial sales and expense projections. If you’re looking for a hyper-focused business plan, this is it. Growth or expansion plans focus on a specific area within your business, like opening a new location or launching a certain product.
Growth business plans are internal and external facing. Internal growth plans are a lean version of a strategic business plan. You’ll use them if your company’s growth or expansion is being funded internally, such as if you’re launching a new product line from the last product line’s revenue. You already know what you’re funding, so you don’t need to deeply explain the product.
For an external or investor-facing growth plan, you’re going to need some different information. This type of plan assumes that the bank, investor or individual you’re pitching doesn’t know much about your business at all. You’ll need to look at it like you’re a startup and include additional details about your growth or expansion.
- Helps a company attract investors: Growth plans are aimed at investors and banks so as to attract external investment. This plan usually include everything in a standard business plan. You need the financial data and projections, the market research and the funding request.
- It helps to analyse the business on a yearly basis: Growth plans are also termed as Annual Business plan and as the name suggests, the plan is for annual purposes. These types of business plans are more important to startups. This is because you only need a years’ worth of information to write it.
- It helps during the time of big changes in company: Growth plans are very helpful to companies that are trying to make monumental changes in a short time.
- The Lean Plan
Businesses use the Lean business plan to manage strategy, tactics, dates, milestones, activities, and cash flow. The Lean Plan is faster, easier, and more efficient than a formal business plan because it doesn’t include summaries, descriptions, and background details that you and your partners or employees already know. A Lean Plan includes specific deadlines and milestones, and the budgets allotted for meeting them.
- It is used to track milestones: The lean business plan is most useful if you’re trying to grow your business and want to use it as a tool to track your financials and milestones against what you projected so you can respond to opportunity and react to challenges quickly.
- The standard business plan
You’ll need to put together a stand business plan if you have a business plan event, which is what it is called when a business needs to present a business plan to a bank, prospective investor, vendor, ally, partner, or employee.
The most standard business plan starts with an executive summary and includes sections or chapters covering the company, the product or service it sells, the target market, strategy and implementation milestones and goals, management team, and financial forecasting, and analysis. The exact order of topics is not important, but most people expect to see all of these topics covered as part of the standard plan.
Think of your Lean Plan as a good first draft of a standard plan. Those complete projections include the three essential financial projections (also called pro-forma statements): profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow. Every standard business plan needs sales plus these three essentials.
- To analyze cash flow: The cash flow is an essential part of a standard business plan. Businesses need cash to stay open. Even if a business can survive temporarily without profits, it still needs the cash to pay its bills. And since profits alone don’t guarantee cash in the bank, projected cash flow is essential.
Many standard plans also include a table for personnel spending. Some standard plans will need additional projections to meet the needs of the specific business plan event.
For example, plans for seeking outside investment should include a discussion of an eventual exit for investors, and of course the planned use of the invested funds. Plans supporting a bank loan application might include projected ratios the bank wants to see, such as debt to equity, quick, or current ratios.
- One-page business plan
A one-page business plan is typically a one-page summary of the business, and it includes highlights only. This business plan is used to offer a very quick overview of a business.
- To provide a quick business summary: The one-page business plan summarizes the target market, business offering, main milestones, and essential sales forecast of a business in a single page. Such a summary can be useful as a summary for banks, potential investors, vendors, allies, and employees. A one-page business plan can also be called a business pitch.
- The Miniplan
The miniplan is a sort of abridged version of the normal business plan. This business plan is preferred by many recipients because they can read it, or download it quickly to read later on their iPhone or tablet. You include most of the same ingredients that you would in a longer plan, but you cut to the highlights while telling the same story.
- It provides a quick overview of the business for investors: The miniplan provides a quick summary of the business or company for someone who may not have the time to go through the longer version.
- The Presentation Plan
The advent of PowerPoint presentations changed the way many, if not most, plans are presented. And while the plan is shorter than its predecessors, it’s not necessarily easier to present. Many people lose sleep over an upcoming presentation, especially one that can play a vital role in the future of their business. But presenting your plan as a deck can be very powerful.
Readers of a plan can’t always capture your passion for the business nor can they ask questions when you finish. But in 20 minutes, you can cover all the key points and tell your story from concept and mission statement through financial forecasts.
- It helps to present the company in a detailed format to an audience: The presentation plan helps to present the company in a concise to a listening audience. In 20 minutes, you can cover all the key points and tell the story of your organisation from concept and mission statement through to financial forecasts.
- The Working Plan
A working plan is a tool to be used to operate your business. It is usually long on detail but may be short on presentation. As with a miniplan, you can probably use a somewhat higher degree of informality when preparing a working plan. It is there to work for your company and provide the required guide.
The plan is usually intended strictly for internal use, and so you can omit some elements that you need not explain to yourself and your team. Likewise, you probably don’t need to include an appendix with resumes of key executives. Nor would a working plan especially benefit from product photos.
- It provides guidelines for the day to day running of the business: The working plan is like an old pair of slacks you wear to the office on Saturdays. It’s there to be used, not admired. It provides pointers on how things are to be done in the company.
- The What-If Plan
When you face unusual circumstances, you need something a bit different from your usual working plan. For example, you might want to prepare a contingency plan when you’re seeking bank financing.
A contingency plan is a plan based on the worst-case scenario that you can imagine your business surviving—loss of market share, heavy price competition, defection of a key member of your management team. A contingency plan can soothe the fears of a banker or investor by demonstrating that you have indeed considered more than a rosy scenario.
Your business may be considering an acquisition, in which case a pro forma business plan (some call this a what-if plan) can help you understand what the acquisition is worth and how it might affect your core business. What if you raise prices, invest in staff training and reduce duplicative efforts?
Such what-if planning doesn’t have to be as formal as a presentation plan. Perhaps you want to mull over the chances of a major expansion. A what-if plan can help you spot the increased needs for space, equipment, personnel and other variables so you can make good decisions.
- It helps in analyzing various business scenarios, good or bad: If a company wants to make sudden changes, a what-if business plan is used to analyse the changes properly so the company knows what it is getting itself into.
- They provide insight: This business plan provides insight into the decisions companies makes at every point in their existence. What sets these kinds of plans apart from the working and presentation plans is that they aren’t necessarily describing how you’ll run the business. They’re essentially more like an addendum to your actual business plan.
- It helps the company make good decisions: A “what if” plan helps a company consider major changes that affect the core of the business, so they can make good decisions. It’s the plan you should consider before you consider any expansion or growth plan.
14. Development Business Plan
Development plans or extension plans are top to bottom depictions of proposed business development and they are composed to display inward or outside purposes of a business. A development policy incorporates overall details of the organization, its administration and responsibility the personnel share among themselves.
The policy must show the organization detail and emphasize the elements required to fulfill potential speculators. If in case the development plan requires no capital, the plan composers may pass by those organization portrayals, but will surely incorporate money related deals and cost projections.
- It is used in detailed industry analysis: A development policy incorporates overall details of the organization, its administration and responsibility the personnel share among themselves.
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