There are three general types of business plans, each written for different purposes or situations.
A Complete Business Plan and a Summary Business Plan are intended for readers outside your company.
An Operational Business Plan is intended for internal usage in an ongoing business.
A Complete Business Plan is necessary when you are seeking a significant amount of funding or want to give your external reader a full picture of your business. The Complete plan can range from 15 to 40 pages or more.
Here you need to explain your business concept in detail to potential backers, strategic partners, or potential buyers of your company. It should clearly state the specific request(s) you are making with your business plan and what your company brings to the table should the request be fulfilled by the reader.
A Summary Business Plan is a much shorter document that highlights the most important information about your business and its direction. It should make clear the specific request(s) you are making of your reader and the purpose of the request. It is ideal when your request is simple or minimal, when you are strapped for time, or when you want to give your reader a preview of your business plan, to gauge if they would have sufficient interest to see your Complete plan. We offer a template here.
A Summary plan is also effective for small to moderate bank loans, attracting key employees, or for persuading friends and relatives to invest a few thousand dollars.
A Summary plan is usually about 3-5 pages long and includes an expanded Executive Summary (generally 1-2 pages in length), a concise Financial Plan (usually 2-3 pages) and a few Supporting Documents, including your 5 year Income Statement, your 5 year Balance Sheet and your 5 year Cash Flows.
An Operational Business Plan is an important internally oriented document of your established company. It is used primarily by the management team, board of directors and your high-level professional advisors. It’s excellent for focusing and aligning the efforts of key managers toward common company goals, and therefore should be updated at least annually.
It is your master blueprint to which you tie your budgets and departmental plans. The key elements of the operational plan are the Company Direction, supported by sound plans for Products/Services, Marketing/Sales and Finance/ Administration. Writing a good operational plan is the hub of running a viable business and can do wonders for any executive’s career.
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