There are whole raft of business plan variations and some are simply subsets of the overall plan. When deciding what type of plan you need and the depth of information you require, you need to know what you want the plan to do for you.
Types of business plans include, but are not limited to:
Start-Up Business Plans.
Internal Business Plans.
Strategic Business Plans.
Feasibility Business Plans.
Operations Business Plans.
Growth Business Plans.
Business plans can be divided roughly into four distinct types. There are very short plans, or miniplans, presentation plans, working plans, and what-if plans. They each require very different amounts of investment and resources to create, and the effort you expend is not always proportional to the value it adds. I have seen fantastically crafted business plans that were works of art (or fantasy) almost unusable.
Equally I have seen short, well understood plans that delivered significant value. Success depends on various factors and whether the right plan is used in the right setting. For example, a new hire may not want to read the same, elaborate version of your plan that might be important to a potential investor.
Have you ever heard the saying 'Those who fail to plan, plan to fail'? While I can't speak to all facets of life, this is certainly true in business. Managers find themselves planning for all sorts of things. So much so, that planning is one of the four major functions of management. In doing so, a manager can be certain that he or she is working toward some organisation goal.
There are three main types of plans that a manager will use in pursuit of company goals, which include: operational, tactical and strategic. If you think about these three types of plans as stepping stones, you can see how their relationship to one another enables the achievement of organisational goals.
Operational plans are necessary to attain tactical plans and tactical plans lead to the achievement of strategic plans. Then, in true planning fashion, there are also plans to backup plans that fail. These are known as contingency plans.
Benefits of writing a business plan
The act of writing a plan is as important – if not more so – than the plan itself. That’s why we don’t write plans for people. The action of writing the plan builds understanding, mental muscle, commitment and learning. Writing a plan gives you deeper insight into the opportunities and hurdles to might encounter.
Writing your own business plan increases ownership of that plan.
A business plan is often said to be like a flight plan. It lets you know where you want to go, what you want to achieve, what you have to do in order to achieve your goals and probably most importantly what problems you can expect along the way.
“Being able to identify potential threats, problem areas that could affect the business, and to be able to develop coping strategies in a proactive manner rather than in a reactive stance, is key to business survival,” noted one senior partner of an accountancy firm.
It’s also a great way to share information about your business, to develop your thinking and test scenarios before you make any changes (like leaving your job and going it alone- especially at this time), and it gives you a way to measure how things go when you do start up.
If you want finance, then a good plan can make all the difference. Rebecca McNeil, MD for Business Lending and Enterprise at Barclays, says: “A strong plan can help applications for finance from a business loan to alternative forms of finance and investment.” Just remember that many bank managers have never had a business, never written a plan or gone through the highs and lows of a business owner. Getting finance is only one benefit of writing a plan.