These plans typically have detailed information about the organization or the team making effort to reach its goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers,  for non-profits, external stakeholders refer to donors and clients,  for government agencies, external stakeholders are the tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund , the World Bank , various economic agencies of the United Nations , and development banks.
Internally-focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, the refurbishing of a factory or a restructuring of the organization.
An internally-focused business plan is often developed in conjunction with a balanced scorecard or a list of critical success factors. This allows the success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures.
Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called strategic plans. Operational plans describe the goals of an internal organization, working group or department.
They may also address the project's place within the organization's larger strategic goals. Business plans are decision-making tools. The content and format of the business plan are determined by the goals and audience. For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization's mission. Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization's ability to repay the loan.
Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.
Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines: finance , human resource management, intellectual property management, supply chain management , operations management, and marketing , among others.
Writing a good business plan can't guarantee success, but it can go a long way toward reducing the odds of failure. The format of a business plan depends on its presentation context. It is common for businesses, especially start-ups, to have three or four formats for the same business plan. An " elevator pitch " is a short summary of the plan's executive summary. This is often used as a teaser to awaken the interest of potential investors, customers, or strategic partners.
It is called an elevator pitch as it is supposed to be content that can be explained to someone else quickly in an elevator. The elevator pitch should be between 30 and 60 seconds. A pitch deck is a slide show and oral presentation that is meant to trigger discussion and interest potential investors in reading the written presentation.
The content of the presentation is usually limited to the executive summary and a few key graphs showing financial trends and key decision-making benchmarks. If a new product is being proposed and time permits, a demonstration of the product may be included. A written presentation for external stakeholders is a detailed, well written, and pleasingly formatted plan targeted at external stakeholders.
An internal operational plan is a detailed plan describing planning details that are needed by management but may not be of interest to external stakeholders. Such plans have a somewhat higher degree of candor and informality than the version targeted at external stakeholders and others. Typical structure for a business plan for a start-up venture .
Typical questions addressed by a business plan for a start-up venture . Cost and revenue estimates are central to any business plan for deciding the viability of the planned venture. But costs are often underestimated and revenues overestimated resulting in later cost overruns, revenue shortfalls, and possibly non-viability.
During the dot-com bubble this was a problem for many technology start-ups. Reference class forecasting has been developed to reduce the risks of cost overruns and revenue shortfalls and thus generate more accurate business plans. An externally targeted business plan should list all legal concerns and financial liabilities that might negatively affect investors. Depending on the number of funds being raised and the audience to whom the plan is presented, failure to do this may have severe legal consequences.
Non-disclosure agreements NDAs with third parties, non-compete agreements , conflicts of interest, privacy concerns, and the protection of one's trade secrets may severely limit the audience to which one might show the business plan. Alternatively, they may require each party to receive the business plan to sign a contract accepting special clauses and conditions. This situation is complicated by the fact that many venture capitalists will refuse to sign an NDA before looking at a business plan, lest it put them in the untenable position of looking at two independently developed look-alike business plans, both claiming originality.
In such situations, one may need to develop two versions of the business plan: a stripped-down plan that can be used to develop a relationship and a detailed plan that is only shown when investors have sufficient interest and trust to sign a Non-disclosure agreement. Traditionally business plans have been highly confidential and quite limited in the audience.
The business plan itself is generally regarded as a secret. An open business plan is a business plan with an unlimited audience. The business plan is typically web published and made available to all. In the free software and open source business model, trade secrets, copyright and patents can no longer be used as effective locking mechanisms to provide sustainable advantages to a particular business and therefore a secret business plan is less relevant in those models.
The business goals may be defined both for non-profit or for-profit organizations. For-profit business plans typically focus on financial goals, such as profit or creation of wealth. Non-profit, as well as government agency business plans tend to focus on the "organizational mission" which is the basis for their governmental status or their non-profit, tax-exempt status, respectively—although non-profits may also focus on optimizing revenue.
The primary difference between profit and non-profit organizations is that "for-profit" organizations look to maximize wealth versus non-profit organizations, which look to provide a greater good to society. In non-profit organizations, creative tensions may develop in the effort to balance mission with "margin" or revenue. The business plan is the subject of many satires. Satires are used both to express cynicism about business plans and as an educational tool to improve the quality of business plans.
The nature of these potential upsides and downsides depends on whether the recipient of your business plan is a bank, a shareholder, or a manager. It is therefore key to have a clear understanding of the criteria that will be used by the recipient of your plan to make its decision before starting to write the plan.
You can find more details on how banks and equity investors look at a business plan in this article. There are almost two distinct documents in a business plan. The executive summary and the rest. The executive summary is the most important section, it has for objective to get the reader excited about the project. It must also give a high-level answer to all of the questions mentioned above. After reading the executive summary, and if the project looks interesting enough, the investor will then dive into some specific sections of the plan to get more details.
The investor won't necessarily read the business plan cover to cover but will rather focus only on the sections that answer to some of the questions he has on the project. For more details on how to write a business plan, we invite you to read our full business plan guide. Assess the profitability of your business idea and create a persuasive business plan to pitch to investors.
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It needs to be succinct and hit the key highlights of the plan. Many potential investors will never make it beyond the executive summary, so it needs to be compelling and intriguing. You could consider using your one-page business plan as your executive summary. And LivePlan offers an excellent alternative with what it as of August calls the Pitch page , a standard summary. One often useful section of a formal plan describes the market, including market analysis, data, projections, descriptions, and competition.
Understanding your target market is key to building marketing campaigns and sales processes that work. And, beyond marketing, your target market will define how your company grows. Describe the most important changes happening in your target market right now. Are the needs, demographics, or preferences of potential customers changing in a notable way? Ideally, explain how those trends will favor your products or services over those of your competitors.
For example, if people in your market are increasingly using their smartphones for tasks that they used to do on a computer, perhaps the mobile app you are developing is well-positioned to capture a bigger part of the market. Explain how your target market has been growing or shrinking in recent years.
Research is key here, obviously. You can use Internet searches, trade associations, market research firms, journalists who cover your market, or other credible sources to gauge market growth. A growing market is encouraging since it suggests a stronger demand for your solution in the years to come. That said, you can still be successful in a weak or contracting market. What other options do your customers have to address their needs, and what makes your solution better for them?
The products and services section of your business plan delves into the core of what you are trying to achieve. Depending on the type of company you are starting, this section may also detail the technologies you are using, intellectual property that you own, and other key factors about the products that you are building now and plan on building in the future.
The marketing and sales plan details the strategies that you will use to reach your target market. This portion of your business plan provides an overview of how you will position your company in the market, how you will price your products and services, how you will promote your offerings, and any sales processes you need to have in place. Depending on the specifics of your business, include plans related to locations and facilities, technology, and regulatory issues.
Plans are nothing without solid implementation. The milestones and metrics chapter of your business plan lays out concrete tasks that you plan to accomplish, complete with due dates, and the names of the people to be held responsible. This chapter should also detail the key metrics that you plan to use to track the growth of your business.
This could include the number of sales leads generated, the number of page views to your web site, or any other critical metric that helps determine the health of your business. The company overview is often omitted from internal plans. The management team chapter of a business plan is critical for entrepreneurs seeking investment but can be omitted for virtually any other type of plan.
The management team section should include relevant team bios that explain why your management personnel is made up of the right people for the roles. Business plans should help identify not only the strengths of a business, but areas that need improvement and gaps that need to be filled.
Identifying gaps in the management team shows knowledge and foresight, not a lack of ability to build the business. The financial plan is a critical component of nearly all business plans. Running a successful business means paying close attention to how much money you are bringing in, and how much money you are spending. A good financial plan goes a long way to help determine when to hire new employees or buy a new piece of equipment. For more details on what to include in your business plan, check out our detailed business plan outline, download a business plan template in Word format, or read through our library of sample business plans so you can see how other businesses have structured their plans and how they describe their business strategy.
Taking the simple step forward to do any planning at all will certainly put your business at a significant advantage over businesses that just drive forward with no specific plans. But just writing a business plan does not guarantee your success. The best way to extract value from your business plan is to use it as an ongoing management tool. Your business plan should be a reflection of those learnings to guide your future strategy.
Average rating 4. Vote count: No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post. Follow him on Twitter Timberry. What Is a Business Plan? Read Planning By: Tim Berry. How long should your plan be? How should you present your business plan? What does a formal plan include? How often should you revise your business plan? Who needs a business plan? Startup businesses The most classic business planning scenario is for a startup, for which the plan helps the founders break uncertainty down into meaningful pieces, like the sales projection, expense budget, milestones, and tasks.
Existing businesses Not all business plans are for startups that are launching the next big thing. Here is a quick overview of three common types of plans: One-page business plan A one-page business plan is exactly what it sounds like: a quick summary of your business delivered on a single page. External business plan a. What to include in your formal business plan While we just discussed several different types of business plans, there are key elements that appear in virtually all business plans.
The opportunity One often useful section of a formal plan describes the market, including market analysis, data, projections, descriptions, and competition. Market trends Describe the most important changes happening in your target market right now. Market growth Explain how your target market has been growing or shrinking in recent years. Competition What other options do your customers have to address their needs, and what makes your solution better for them?
Execution Products and services The products and services section of your business plan delves into the core of what you are trying to achieve. Marketing and sales The marketing and sales plan details the strategies that you will use to reach your target market.
Operations Depending on the specifics of your business, include plans related to locations and facilities, technology, and regulatory issues. Milestones and metrics Plans are nothing without solid implementation. Team The management team chapter of a business plan is critical for entrepreneurs seeking investment but can be omitted for virtually any other type of plan.
Financial plan The financial plan is a critical component of nearly all business plans. A typical financial plan includes: Sales forecast Personnel plan Profit and loss statement Cash flow statement Balance sheet For more details on what to include in your business plan, check out our detailed business plan outline, download a business plan template in Word format, or read through our library of sample business plans so you can see how other businesses have structured their plans and how they describe their business strategy.
Tips to extract the most value from your plan in the least amount of time Use your one-page business plan to quickly outline your strategy. Use this document to periodically review your high-level strategy. Are you still solving the same problem for your customers? Has your target market changed? Use a Lean Plan to document processes that work.
Share this document with new employees to give them a clear picture of your overall strategy. Set milestones for what you plan to accomplish in the next 30 days. Assign these tasks to team members, set dates, and allocate part of your budget if necessary. Keep your sales forecast and expense budget current. As you learn more about customer buying patterns, revise your forecast.
It's key to securing financing, documenting your business model, outlining your financial projections, and turning that nugget of a business idea into a reality. Business plans are a required tool for all entrepreneurs, business owners, business acquirers, and even business school students.
But … what exactly is a business plan? In this post, we'll explain what a business plan is, list the reasons why you'd need one, and identify different types of business plans. A business plan is a documented strategy for a business that highlights its goals and its plans for achieving them. Business plans outline a company's go-to-market strategy, financial projections, market research, business purpose, and mission. The business plan is also a prominent tool used to secure investors and financing for a business.
Working on your business plan? Try using our Business Plan Template. Pre-filled with the sections a great business plan needs, the template will give aspiring entrepreneurs a feel for what a business plan is, what should be in it, and how it can be used to establish and grow a business from the ground up.
Chances are, someone drafting a business plan will be doing so for one or more of the following reasons:. Since its contents revolve around how businesses succeed, break even, and turn a profit, a business plan is primarily used as a tool for sourcing capital.
Therefore, these investors need to know if — and when — they'll be making their money back and then some. Additionally, they'll want to read about the process and strategy for how the business will reach those financial goals, which is where the context provided by sales, marketing, and operations plans come into play. Business plans can span dozens or even hundreds of pages, affording their drafters the opportunity to explain what a business's goals are and how the business will achieve them.
These explanations should ultimately lead to a business's break even point supported by a sales forecast and financial projections, with the business plan writer being able to speak to the why behind anything outlined in the plan. Everyone's got a great idea for a company — until they put pen to paper and realize that it's not exactly feasible.
The business plan is an aspiring entrepreneur's way to prove that a business idea is actually worth pursuing. As entrepreneurs document their go-to-market process, capital needs, and expected return on investment, entrepreneurs likely come across a few hiccups that will make them second guess their strategies and metrics — and that's exactly what the business plan is for. It ensures an entrepreneur's ducks are in a row before bring their business idea to the world and reassures the plan's readers that whoever wrote the plan is serious about the idea, having put hours into thinking of the business idea, fleshing out growth tactics, and calculating financial projections.
Speaking from personal experience, there's a chance you're here to get business plan ideas for your Business class project. If that's the case, might we suggest checking out this post on How to Write a Business Plan — providing a section-by-section guide on creating your plan? Arguably the most common type of business plan, a startup business plan is used for brand new business ideas.
This plan is used to take a business concept and lay the foundation for its eventual success. The biggest challenge with the startup business plan is that it requires its writer to completely start from scratch. Startup business plans start with a blank word document, and before they are finished, need to reference existing industry data and explain unique business strategies and go-to-market plans.
Investors will still want to see a business plan to acquire funding to purchase an existing business in order to see how its new owner will run the business. What will change and what will stay the same under new ownership, and why? Additionally, the business plan should speak to what the current state of the to-be-acquired business is, and why it's up for sale. For example, if someone is purchasing a failing business, the business plan should explain why the business is being purchased and what the new owner will do to turn the business around, referencing previous business metrics, sales projections after the acquisition, and a justification for those projections.
When a business wants to save itself, reposition its brand, or try something new, some CEOs or owners will want to develop a business repositioning plan. Companies planning for a business reposition do so — proactively or retroactively — due to a shift in market trends and customer needs. For example, Pizza Hut announced a plan to drastically overhaul its brand last year, as it sees the need to shift from dine-in to delivery — a decision resulting from observing years of industry and company trends and acknowledging the need to reposition itself for the future of its sector.
Building onto a successful business venture with another location typically requires its own business plan, as the project may require a new location, focus on a new target market, and demand more capital. Fortunately, an expansion business plan allows its writers to reference sales, revenue, and successes from any previous location s.
However, as great as a reference as these points can be, it's important to not be too reliant on them, since it's still a new business that could succeed or fail for a myriad of reasons. At the end of the day, a business plan is simply an explanation of a business idea and why it will be successful. The more detail and thought you put into it, the more successful your plan — and the business it outlines — will be.
If you need help starting your business plan, download Download HubSpot's Free Business Plan Template and fill out the sections to meet your business idea's concept. Originally published Aug 14, AM, updated March 12 Logo - Full Color. Contact Sales.
They may even ask you to clarify your choice of encapsulates your reason for writing which market niche to fill. Investors will still want to Service The business description can acquire funding to purchase an a few pages in length, see how its new owner. Business plans outline a company's your positioning strategy. Marketing Hub Marketing automation software. Everyone's got a great idea for a company - until your competitors and then determine and realize that it's not depending on the complexity of. The summary or statement should be used as what is a business plan for financing reader has a clear idea prospects, trends, and sales potential. Therefore, these investors need to know if - and when of size, demographics, structure, growth should touch on the following. Explain how people use your or service, make sure your so for one or more how the product or service. For example, Pizza Hut announced to generally accepted guidelines regarding form and content. It ensures an entrepreneur's ducks are in a row before its brand last year, as the world and reassures the shift from dine-in to delivery - a decision resulting from observing years of industry and into thinking of the business idea, fleshing custom creative essay writing services usa growth tactics, and calculating financial projections.A business plan is a formal written document containing the goals of a business, the methods for attaining those goals, and the time-frame for the achievement of the goals. A business plan is a written document describing a company's core business activities, objectives, and how it plans to achieve its goals. Startup companies use. Business plans help you run your business A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You'll use your business.