The Three General Types of Business Plans
There are three general types of business plans, each written for different purposes or situations.
- A Summary Business Plan is intended as a brief introduction to your concept to get an initial meeting with investors
- A Complete Business Plan is for vetted interested parties, usually investors, to provide the details they seek for investing
- An Operational Business Plan is intended for internal usage in an ongoing business for strategic planning.
You may find the “Origin Story” of our own BizPlanBuilder software interesting
A Executive 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 2-3 pages long and includes an expanded Executive Summary, a concise financial table showing projected revenue, costs of goods sold (COGS) Gross Profit / %, Expenses like R&D, Marketing, Operations, and Net income
Complete / Investment Plan
A Complete Business Plan is necessary when you are seeking a significant amount of funding or want to give your external reader (a potential new-hire, partner, or advisor) a full picture of your business. It can range from 15 to 40 pages or more.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, this plan is for your benefit. Using a software template like BizPlanbuilder enables you to compress reading books about business planning, webinars, seminars, classes, etc. and instead you can learn as you go. While no plan can fully meet reality, you’ll find that most investors bet on you and your team. The better prepared you are, the more interested they’ll be.
Relieve investor of the anxiety that accompanies investing
This is you plan that can be summarized and presented in your PowerPoint/Keynote “pitch deck.” Here you need to explain your business concept in detail to potential backers, strategic partners, or potential buyers of your company. The process of planning enables you to consider your responses to potential investor questions. Even if you answer, “That’s something we’re working on…” is far better than being a deer in headlights.
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.
Operational / Strategic Plan
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 as your working plan of action. 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 Company Direction, supported by sound plans for Products/Services, Marketing/Sales, and Finance/ Administration.
What-ifs, pivots, strategy…
Rarely do you change everything in your business, but the changes you consider need to fit with everything else you’re doing. Collaborating with your team and advisors (as well as running things by your frontline people for a reality check) is crucial for the best outcome. Hashing it out on paper (screen) is far more economical.
Writing a good operational plan is the hub of running a viable business and can do wonders for any executive’s career.
8 Investor “pitching” tips to keep in mind
Here are a few universal things about writing a business plan and pitching your deal that we’ve learned over the years…
Tip #1 – Investors don’t want to buy your product, they want to invest in your business. Investors say this all the time! (The difference between selling a can of coke and a coke machine). They’ll get what you’re doing in 2-seconds, but then you must show them who is going to use it (and want it NOW), how and why it makes money, and why YOU are the ones to do it…
Tip #2 – Bootstrap your business as far as possible. Demonstrate how much you can do with what you have.
Tip #3 – You can’t promise a sure thing, but you can be a good bet. The better the business plan you write, the better deals you’ll make. Consider every aspect of your business — think it through with help from others… Do whatever it takes to fully believe in your business, yourself, and your offer.
Tip #4 – Investors often go to the financials first. What’s it going to take and is it worth doing?
Tip #5 – You’re giving investors your 10-20 minute presentation — they’ll interrupt with questions (that’s actually a good sign proving their interest), are you ready with answers?
Tip #6 – Investor Demographics: Middle-aged men, highly educated. Yours may be different, tweak to connect accordingly. Daddy issues? Call a therapist and get ahead of it.
TIP #7 – To reach the tipping point where an investor will write you a check, you must illustrate an operating and profitable business — then show them how their investment will return 10X. Sometimes investors want too much — they want more because they must compensate for the risk of potential failure… That’s why you must think through your entire concept, anticipate issues, and explain how you will succeed anyway.
TIP #8 – Strategic Sequencing. One of the biggest mistakes we see start-up companies make is doing things out of order. Spending money on something now that you don’t need until later can not only set back your whole project but could leave you flat broke. Create a plan and stick to it.
With the business opportunity of a lifetime in front of you,
it’s crucial that you are understood and taken seriously.
Angel and venture capitalists get pitches every day. Unfortunately, you may not be the only one with your innovative idea. A Non-Disclosure Agreement puts them in an awkward position. If investors see a flurry of similar seeming business concepts, and like the opportunity and fit within their investment thesis, their choice now comes down to choosing the best team most likely to succeed. Rather than worry about your idea being revealed, it’s far more effective to demonstrate the quality of your team to turn it into a successful business.
Another way of saying this is, “They bet on the jockey, not the horse.”
8 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Business Plan Software
Because the right choice makes all the difference in your success and sanity
1) Do they show real success stories or testimonials for businesses or projects similar to or as big as yours?
2) Do they offer more than just the business plan template? For example, providing supporting documents and worksheets to help you manage funding? (Like a proper offer letter to a potential Advisor or Director? A startup checklist… an “Elevator” pitch worksheet… a Due Diligence checklist…)
3) Is it a system of inquisition, where they ask you hundreds of questions and the black box writes it for you… Or can you preview professionally scripted sentences in context with your plan that you can simply edit or fill-in the variables?
4) Is the actual text content designed to be used for real or is it just a placeholder that you have to rewrite anyway? Or are they just giving you blank pages expecting you’ll know what to write?
5) Do they offer an integrated financial model that’s easy to understand and equally easy for an investor or lender to follow? Some people like a “wizard-driven ” template. We also offer two variations of Excel model…
6) Can you customize the financial model to fit your business exactly? All investors and lenders are familiar with Excel — Does the model step them through the logic of your financing? (A “pretty” model to them is one which enables them to find the numbers they’re looking for, not just colorful and cute.)
7) Do they include a comprehensive and proven PowerPoint presentation template, enabling you to easily develop your “pitch” to investors?
8) Does the same financing plan lend itself to executing your priorities, as well as serving as an ongoing operating plan? Is it easy to keep updating? Can you use it to manage the growth of your company?
This modular business planning system starts with a summary and,
as you need it, grows into a fully operational strategic plan
BizPlanBuilder writes a professional business success plan for your project or company quickly and efficiently. Its organized system of pre-scripted sample business plan templates, flexible financial models, and proven PowerPoint presentation example can be downloaded as an app or accessed securely online where you can collaborate with your team and advisors.
It’s the fastest and easiest way of turning your ideas into an investment-grade business funding plan and a successful business. BizPlanBuilder also supplements the “business model canvas” and “lean start-up” ideas to provide investors with the details that make them comfortable and inspired to write checks. You’ll see why when you learn more.
BizPlanBuilder works best for unique business concepts. And it’s the funding leader evolved and vetted over 25+ years through thousands of deals with banks, SBA lenders, angel investors & venture capitalists worldwide. Windows App Or Windows & Mac online.Click here to learn more about BizPlanBuilder
Two Choices for Getting Started Right Now — And Closer to Your Business Success
- Full Year Subscription to BizPlanBuilderThe choice is easy - You get BOTH versions
If you decide to go with the Windows version, there's no need to renew next year.
Or use the cloud-based subscription to enable secure collaboration with your team.
Subscription includes ongoing updates and renews annually.
- Pre-Composed Sample Business Plans
150+ Industry-Specific Sample Plans Reveal Ideas
Inspire Customization to Your Vision and PurposeUnlike every other business plan templates, we actually intend for you to be able to use our copy vs. having to delete it or rewrite it.
- Videos Introduce Each Section
What Investors / Lenders Are Looking For
Comments Throughout Offer Suggestions & Tips
- Wizard-driven Financial Model
Makes it Easy to Project Sales, Costs, ProfitIf you are an Excel user, you'll love the total flexibility to customize your financial model.
Need an Excel expert? Look in our Expert Referral Network!
- + 3 Fully Customizable Excel-Based Financial Workbooks
"Visionary Funding" / "Expansion Plan" / "Non Profit"
100% Customizable To Embody Your Business
Project / Evaluate / Support Future PotentialIf you are an Excel user, you'll love the total flexibility to customize your financial model.
Need an Excel expert? Look in our Expert Referral Network!
- Includes PowerPoint / Keynote
Investor Presentation ("Pitch" Deck) Template
Tutorial Guides You Step-By-Step Through a Successful Pitch
Organizes VIPs, Vendors, Investors...
+ Tasks + Events + Programs + ProposalsNot trying to compete with SalesForce, Infusionsoft, Ontraport, and other marketing automation systems, but you do need to keep track of vendors, consultants, and others as well as VIP contacts.
- Intro Letters, Advisor Invites, Worksheets
Support Strategy / Raising Capital
- Global 24/7 Secure Access
Automatic Back-Up & Restore
- Annual Subscription
No Contract, No Commitment, Cancel/Suspend AnytimeUse the online system as long as you need it, Subscription Renews in ONE Year Unless Cancelled Or Suspended -- You may want to keep it open for future updates, also allow investors and certain others read-only access.
- Add Unlimited Number of Team / Advisors
$10 / Yr each
You Control All Access to Panels/Apps
Gets Your Team Involved And Pulling TogetherAdd an unlimited number of additional users... You also control access as well as read / write or read-only permission.
- 60-Day "Be Smart With Your Business" Guarantee