Guide To Starting A Business

5. 6 Types of Business Plans

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Running A Business

6 Types of Business Plans

Feb 23, 2023 • 8 min read
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      When entrepreneurs first hear the term ‘business plan’, many imagine a blueprint they can use to get a new startup off the ground. And while creating a business plan can certainly be helpful for startups, there are other types of business plans that can guide business owners and others through various stages of a company’s growth. 

      It’s wise to outline your goals and the path your company will follow to reach them. This fact is true whether you’re launching a new business endeavor or working to expand a brand with a long-established history. In some cases, business plans may also attract investors and could help your company qualify for certain types of business funding

      Below are six different types of business plans companies use on a common basis. Learn how these resources can help your business map out a plan to success. 

      1. Startup plan

      New businesses that are preparing to launch, seeking startup funding, or looking for outside investors might benefit from startup business plans. Startup plans tend to place an emphasis on company financials, the products or services the business will provide, and detailed market research. This type of business plan may also include other sections such as: 

      Keep in mind that you should write your business plan with the primary audience in mind. Although startup plans can be useful to business owners and management, they often serve as external documents for people outside of your company to read, such as lenders, banks, and prospective investors.

      2. One-page business plan

      Like a startup business plan, a one-page business plan is a document you design with outside audiences in mind. Yet a one-page plan is more like a summary you use to pitch the most important highlights of your company to potential partners, vendors, lenders, and investors. This type of plan should include key details such as your company’s products and services, target market, revenue forecast, and major milestones.

      3. Strategic plan

      Another type of business plan that’s important to create for your company is a strategic business plan. The goal of this type of the strategic plan is to organize a high-level strategy your company can use to help achieve key business objectives

      Strategic business plans often begin with a SWOT analysis. (NOTE: SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.) After the business owner or management completes its SWOT analysis and identifies areas where the business can (and should) improve, most strategic plans include the following five components: 

      • Mission statement
      • Business vision
      • Key factors that determine success
      • Strategies for achieving business objectives
      • Implementation schedule

      In general, strategic plans are internal documents. You design these types of business plans for use by owners, management, and employees, but not by outside parties.

      4. Feasibility plan

      If your business plans to introduce a new product or service or if your company is preparing to enter a new market, a feasibility plan could be a helpful resource. The purpose of feasibility plans is to help companies answer critical questions like: 

      • Is there a market for your new product or service? 
      • How much capital would the business need to proceed? 
      • Will the market buy the proposed products or services? 
      • What are the potential profits of the proposed business initiative? 

      To answer these questions (and others), you may need to conduct detailed market research, a competitive analysis, and product testing. The audience for this type of business plan is internal, and a feasibility plan generally concludes with a recommendation about whether introducing a new product or entering a new market would be a profitable venture.

      5. Growth plan

      A growth plan, also known as an expansion plan, can benefit businesses that are preparing to branch out into new markets. Internal growth plans can map out the objectives your company needs to achieve to reach its expansion goals, along with how and when to achieve them. 

      Of course, expansion plans often require additional capital as well. In such cases, an external growth plan may also be necessary. Whether you hope to attract investors or borrow money to expand your business, include the following details in your business growth plan to give your company a better chance of securing the capital it needs. 

      • Company Description
      • Overview of Products and Services
      • Management Background
      • Market Research
      • Financial Reports
      • Financial Projections
      • Funding Request

      6. Operations Plan

      An operations plan, or annual plan, is an internal business plan that a company can use to plan key day-to-day activities for the upcoming year. This type of plan outlines the responsibilities of various employees, managers, and even the business owners themselves. Operational plans can also help teams stay on target toward achieving important milestones and business objectives by the deadlines the company has set. 

      Many operations plans contain the following elements. 

      • Business objectives
      • List of required activities to reach objectives
      • Resources needed
      • Staffing requirements
      • Deadlines
      • Progress tracking

      A business may have numerous operations plans for different areas of the company. For example, the customer service department might have an operations plan and the shipping department might have another that it’s working to achieve.

      Next steps

      Before you write a business plan, it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions. First, consider the purpose of the plan. What are you trying to accomplish? Next, you want to consider the audience. Who will read the business plan? 

      There’s nothing wrong with creating a business plan to make sure you stay on task with your day-to-day objectives. At the same time, it’s fine to create a business plan with a goal of helping you find the best funding options for your small business. Once you define the goal you’re trying to achieve with your business plan, you’ll be in a better position to create the specific type of resource your company needs.

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      About the author
      Michelle Lambright Black

      Michelle Lambright Black is a nationally recognized credit expert with two decades of experience. Founder of—an online community that helps busy moms take control of their credit and finances—Michelle's work has been published thousands of times by FICO, Experian, Forbes, Bankrate, MarketWatch, Parents, U.S. News & World Report, and many more.

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