BUSINESS STRATEGIES

7 types of business plans every entrepreneur should know

  • Amanda Bellucco Chatham
  • Aug 3, 2023

representation of a business plan for a beverage brand

What’s the difference between a small business that achieves breakthrough growth and one that fizzles quickly after launch? Oftentimes, it’s having a solid business plan.

Business plans provide you with a roadmap that will take you from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur. It will guide nearly every decision you make, from the people you hire and the products or services you offer, to the look and feel of the business website you create.

But did you know that there are many different types of business plans? Some types are best for new businesses looking to attract funding. Others help to define the way your company will operate day-to-day. You can even create a plan that prepares your business for the unexpected.

Read on to learn the seven most common types of business plans and determine which one fits your immediate needs.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that defines your company’s goals and explains how you will achieve them. Putting this information down on paper brings valuable benefits. It gives you insight into your competitors, helps you develop a unique value proposition and lets you set metrics that will guide you to profitability. It’s also a necessity to obtain funding through banks or investors.

Keep in mind that a business plan isn’t a one-and-done exercise. It’s a living document that you should update regularly as your company evolves. But which type of plan is right for your business?

7 common types of business plans

Startup business plan

Feasibility business plan

One-page business plan

What-if business plan

Growth business plan

Operations business plan

Strategic business plan

7 types of business plans listed out

01. Startup business plan

The startup business plan is a comprehensive document that will set the foundation for your company’s success. It covers all aspects of a business, including a situation analysis, detailed financial information and a strategic marketing plan.

Startup plans serve two purposes: internally, they provide a step-by-step guide that you and your team can use to start a business and generate results on day one. Externally, they prove the validity of your business concept to banks and investors, whose capital you’ll likely need to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

Elements of a startup business plan should include the following steps:

Executive summary : Write a brief synopsis of your company’s concept, potential audience, product or services, and the amount of funding required.

Company overview: Go into detail about your company’s location and its business goals. Be sure to include your company’s mission statement , which explains the “why” behind your business idea.

Products or services: Explain exactly what your business will offer to its customers. Include detailed descriptions and pricing.

Situation analysis: Use market research to explain the competitive landscape, key demographics and the current status of your industry.

Marketing plan: Discuss the strategies you’ll use to build awareness for your business and attract new customers or clients.

Management bios: Introduce the people who will lead your company. Include bios that detail their industry-specific background.

Financial projections: Be transparent about startup costs, cash flow projections and profit expectations.

Don’t be afraid to go into too much detail—a startup business plan can often run multiple pages long. Investors will expect and appreciate your thoroughness. However, if you have a hot new product idea and need to move fast, you can consider a lean business plan. It’s a popular type of business plan in the tech industry that focuses on creating a minimum viable product first, then scaling the business from there.

02. Feasibility business plan

Let’s say you started a boat rental company five years ago. You’ve steadily grown your business. Now, you want to explore expanding your inventory by renting out jet skis, kayaks and other water sports equipment. Will it be profitable? A feasibility business plan will let you know.

Often called a decision-making plan, a feasibility business plan will help you understand the viability of offering a new product or launching into a new market. These business plans are typically internal and focus on answering two questions: Does the market exist, and will you make a profit from it? You might use a feasibility plan externally, too, if you need funding to support your new product or service.

Because you don’t need to include high-level, strategic information about your company, your feasibility business plan will be much shorter and more focused than a startup business plan. Feasibility plans typically include:

A description of the new product or service you wish to launch

A market analysis using third-party data

The target market , or your ideal customer profile

Any additional technology or personnel needs required

Required capital or funding sources

Predicted return on investment

Standards to objectively measure feasibility

A conclusion that includes recommendations on whether or not to move forward

03. One-page business plan

Imagine you’re a software developer looking to launch a tech startup around an app that you created from scratch. You’ve already written a detailed business plan, but you’re not sure if your strategy is 100% right. How can you get feedback from potential partners, customers or friends without making them slog through all 32 pages of the complete plan?

That’s where a one-page business plan comes in handy. It compresses your full business plan into a brief summary. Think of it as a cross between a business plan and an elevator pitch—an ideal format if you’re still fine-tuning your business plan. It’s also a great way to test whether investors will embrace your company, its mission or its goals.

Ideally, a one-page business plan should give someone a snapshot of your company in just a few minutes. But while brevity is important, your plan should still hit all the high points from your startup business plan. To accomplish this, structure a one-page plan similar to an outline. Consider including:

A short situation analysis that shows the need for your product or service

Your unique value proposition

Your mission statement and vision statement

Your target market

Your management team

The funding you’ll need

Financial projections

Expected results

Because a one-page plan is primarily used to gather feedback, make sure the format you choose is easy to update. That way, you can keep it fresh for new audiences.

04. What-if business plan

Pretend that you’re an accountant who started their own financial consulting business. You’re rapidly signing clients and growing your business when, 18 months into your new venture, you’re given the opportunity to buy another established firm in a nearby town. Is it a risk worth taking?

The what-if business plan will help you find an answer. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs who are looking to take big risks, such as acquiring or merging with another company, testing a new pricing model or adding an influx of new staff.

A what-if plan is additionally a great way to test out a worst-case scenario. For example, if you’re in the restaurant business, you can create a plan that explores the potential business repercussions of a public health emergency (like the COVID-19 pandemic), and then develop strategies to mitigate its effects.

You can share your what-if plan internally to prepare your leadership team and staff. You can also share it externally with bankers and partners so that they know your business is built to withstand any hard times. Include in your plan:

A detailed description of the business risk or other scenario

The impact it will have on your business

Specific actions you’ll take in a worst-case scenario

Risk management strategies you’ll employ

05. Growth business plan

Let’s say you’re operating a hair salon (see how to create a hair salon business plan ). You see an opportunity to expand your business and make it a full-fledged beauty bar by adding skin care, massage and other sought-after services. By creating a growth business plan, you’ll have a blueprint that will take you from your current state to your future state.

Sometimes called an expansion plan, a growth business plan is something like a crystal ball. It will help you see one to two years into the future. Creating a growth plan lets you see how far—and how fast—you can scale your business. It lets you know what you’ll need to get there, whether it’s funding, materials, people or property.

The audience for your growth plan will depend on your expected sources of capital. If you’re funding your expansion from within, then the audience is internal. If you need to attract the attention of outside investors, then the audience is external.

Much like a startup plan, your growth business plan should be rather comprehensive, especially if the people reviewing it aren’t familiar with your company. Include items specific to your potential new venture, including:

A brief assessment of your business’s current state

Information about your management team

A thorough analysis of the growth opportunity you’re seeking

The target audience for your new venture

The current competitive landscape

Resources you’ll need to achieve growth

Detailed financial forecasts

A funding request

Specific action steps your company will take

A timeline for completing those action steps

Another helpful thing to include in a growth business plan is a SWOT analysis . SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis will help you evaluate your performance, and that of your competitors. Including this type of in-depth review will show your investors that you’re making an objective, data-driven decision to expand your business, helping to build confidence and trust.

06. Operations business plan

You’ve always had a knack for accessories and have chosen to start your own online jewelry store. Even better, you already have your eCommerce business plan written. Now, it’s time to create a plan for how your company will implement its business model on a day-to-day basis.

An operations business plan will help you do just that. This internal-focused document will explain how your leadership team and your employees will propel your company forward. It should include specific responsibilities for each department, such as human resources, finance and marketing.

When you sit down to write an operations plan, you should use your company’s overall goals as your guide. Then, consider how each area of your business will contribute to those goals. Be sure to include:

A high-level overview of your business and its goals

A clear layout of key employees, departments and reporting lines

Processes you’ll use (i.e., how you’ll source products and fulfill orders)

Facilities and equipment you’ll need to conduct business effectively

Departmental budgets required

Risk management strategies that will ensure business continuity

Compliance and legal considerations

Clear metrics for each department to achieve

Timelines to help you reach those metrics

A measurement process to keep your teams on track

07. Strategic business plan

Say you open a coffee shop, but you know that one store is just the start. Eventually, you want to open multiple locations throughout your region. A strategic business plan will serve as your guide, helping define your company’s direction and decision-making over the next three to five years.

You should use a strategic business plan to align all of your internal stakeholders and employees around your company’s mission, vision and future goals. Your strategic plan should be high-level enough to create a clear vision of future success, yet also detailed enough to ensure you reach your eventual destination.

Be sure to include:

An executive summary

A company overview

Your mission and vision statements

Market research

A SWOT analysis

Specific, measurable goals you wish to achieve

Strategies to meet those goals

Financial projections based on those goals

Timelines for goal attainment

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Free business plan template for small businesses

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what type of business plans are there

Small Business Trends

How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or launching your very first startup, the guide will give you the insights, tools, and confidence you need to create a solid foundation for your business.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Executive summary.

business plan

It’s crucial to include a clear mission statement, a brief description of your primary products or services, an overview of your target market, and key financial projections or achievements.

Our target market includes environmentally conscious consumers and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. We project a 200% increase in revenue within the first three years of operation.

Overview and Business Objectives

Example: EcoTech’s primary objective is to become a market leader in sustainable technology products within the next five years. Our key objectives include:

Company Description

Example: EcoTech is committed to developing cutting-edge sustainable technology products that benefit both the environment and our customers. Our unique combination of innovative solutions and eco-friendly design sets us apart from the competition. We envision a future where technology and sustainability go hand in hand, leading to a greener planet.

Define Your Target Market

Market analysis.

The Market Analysis section requires thorough research and a keen understanding of the industry. It involves examining the current trends within your industry, understanding the needs and preferences of your customers, and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

Including a SWOT analysis demonstrates to stakeholders that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of your business in its operational context.

Competitive Analysis

Organization and management team.

Provide an overview of your company’s organizational structure, including key roles and responsibilities. Introduce your management team, highlighting their expertise and experience to demonstrate that your team is capable of executing the business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

This section should emphasize the value you provide to customers, demonstrating that your business has a deep understanding of customer needs and is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that address those needs and set your company apart from competitors.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

Discuss how these marketing and sales efforts will work together to attract and retain customers, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to achieving your business’s revenue goals.

Logistics and Operations Plan

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

We also prioritize efficient distribution through various channels, including online platforms and retail partners, to deliver products to our customers in a timely manner.

Financial Projections Plan

This forward-looking financial plan is crucial for demonstrating that you have a firm grasp of the financial nuances of your business and are prepared to manage its financial health effectively.

Income Statement

Cash flow statement.

A cash flow statement is a crucial part of a financial business plan that shows the inflows and outflows of cash within your business. It helps you monitor your company’s liquidity, ensuring you have enough cash on hand to cover operating expenses, pay debts, and invest in growth opportunities.

SectionDescriptionExample
Executive SummaryBrief overview of the business planOverview of EcoTech and its mission
Overview & ObjectivesOutline of company's goals and strategiesMarket leadership in sustainable technology
Company DescriptionDetailed explanation of the company and its unique selling propositionEcoTech's history, mission, and vision
Target MarketDescription of ideal customers and their needsEnvironmentally conscious consumers and businesses
Market AnalysisExamination of industry trends, customer needs, and competitorsTrends in eco-friendly technology market
SWOT AnalysisEvaluation of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and ThreatsStrengths and weaknesses of EcoTech
Competitive AnalysisIn-depth analysis of competitors and their strategiesAnalysis of GreenTech and EarthSolutions
Organization & ManagementOverview of the company's structure and management teamKey roles and team members at EcoTech
Products & ServicesDescription of offerings and their unique featuresEnergy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers
Marketing & SalesOutline of marketing channels and sales strategiesDigital advertising, content marketing, influencer partnerships
Logistics & OperationsDetails about daily operations, supply chain, inventory, and quality controlPartnerships with manufacturers, quality control
Financial ProjectionsForecast of revenue, expenses, and profit for the next 3-5 yearsProjected growth in revenue and net profit
Income StatementSummary of company's revenues and expenses over a specified periodRevenue, Cost of Goods Sold, Gross Profit, Net Income
Cash Flow StatementOverview of cash inflows and outflows within the businessNet Cash from Operating Activities, Investing Activities, Financing Activities

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

4. Focus on your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the competition. Emphasize your USP throughout your business plan to showcase your company’s value and potential for success.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

What is a Business Plan?

Why you should write a business plan.

Understanding the importance of a business plan in today’s competitive environment is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners. Here are five compelling reasons to write a business plan:

What are the Different Types of Business Plans?

Type of Business PlanPurposeKey ComponentsTarget Audience
Startup Business PlanOutlines the company's mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections.Mission Statement, Company Description, Market Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Organizational Structure, Marketing and Sales Strategy, Financial Projections.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Internal Business PlanServes as a management tool for guiding the company's growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision.Strategies, Milestones, Deadlines, Resource Allocation.Internal Team Members
Strategic Business PlanOutlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them.SWOT Analysis, Market Research, Competitive Analysis, Long-Term Goals.Executives, Managers, Investors
Feasibility Business PlanAssesses the viability of a business idea.Market Demand, Competition, Financial Projections, Potential Obstacles.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Growth Business PlanFocuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business.Market Analysis, New Product/Service Offerings, Financial Projections.Business Owners, Investors
Operational Business PlanOutlines the company's day-to-day operations.Processes, Procedures, Organizational Structure.Managers, Employees
Lean Business PlanA simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements.Value Proposition, Customer Segments, Revenue Streams, Cost Structure.Entrepreneurs, Startups
One-Page Business PlanA concise summary of your company's key objectives, strategies, and milestones.Key Objectives, Strategies, Milestones.Entrepreneurs, Investors, Partners
Nonprofit Business PlanOutlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation for nonprofit organizations.Mission Statement, Goals, Target Audience, Fundraising Strategies, Budget.Nonprofit Leaders, Board Members, Donors
Franchise Business PlanFocuses on the franchisor's requirements, as well as the franchisee's goals, strategies, and financial projections.Franchise Agreement, Brand Standards, Marketing Efforts, Operational Procedures, Financial Projections.Franchisors, Franchisees, Investors

Using Business Plan Software

Upmetrics provides a simple and intuitive platform for creating a well-structured business plan. It features customizable templates, financial forecasting tools, and collaboration capabilities, allowing you to work with team members and advisors. Upmetrics also offers a library of resources to guide you through the business planning process.

SoftwareKey FeaturesUser InterfaceAdditional Features
LivePlanOver 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, progress tracking against KPIsUser-friendly, visually appealingAllows creation of professional-looking business plans
UpmetricsCustomizable templates, financial forecasting tools, collaboration capabilitiesSimple and intuitiveProvides a resource library for business planning
BizplanDrag-and-drop builder, modular sections, financial forecasting tools, progress trackingSimple, visually engagingDesigned to simplify the business planning process
EnloopIndustry-specific templates, financial forecasting tools, automatic business plan generation, unique performance scoreRobust, user-friendlyOffers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget
Tarkenton GoSmallBizGuided business plan builder, customizable templates, financial projection toolsUser-friendlyOffers CRM tools, legal document templates, and additional resources for small businesses

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan.

A good business plan is a well-researched, clear, and concise document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, target market, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It should be adaptable to change and provide a roadmap for achieving success.

What are the 3 main purposes of a business plan?

Can i write a business plan by myself, is it possible to create a one-page business plan.

Yes, a one-page business plan is a condensed version that highlights the most essential elements, including the company’s mission, target market, unique selling proposition, and financial goals.

How long should a business plan be?

What is a business plan outline, what are the 5 most common business plan mistakes, what questions should be asked in a business plan.

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

How is business planning for a nonprofit different.

What is a Business Plan? Definition, Tips, and Templates

AJ Beltis

Published: June 28, 2024

Years ago, I had an idea to launch a line of region-specific board games. I knew there was a market for games that celebrated local culture and heritage. I was so excited about the concept and couldn't wait to get started.

Business plan graphic with business owner, lightbulb, and pens to symbolize coming up with ideas and writing a business plan.

But my idea never took off. Why? Because I didn‘t have a plan. I lacked direction, missed opportunities, and ultimately, the venture never got off the ground.

→ Download Now: Free Business Plan Template

And that’s exactly why a business plan is important. It cements your vision, gives you clarity, and outlines your next step.

In this post, I‘ll explain what a business plan is, the reasons why you’d need one, identify different types of business plans, and what you should include in yours.

Table of Contents

What is a business plan?

What is a business plan used for.

  • Business Plan Template [Download Now]

Purposes of a Business Plan

What does a business plan need to include, types of business plans.

what type of business plans are there

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A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company's goals, strategies, and financial projections. It provides a detailed description of the business, including its products or services, target market, competitive landscape, and marketing and sales strategies. The plan also includes a financial section that forecasts revenue, expenses, and cash flow, as well as a funding request if the business is seeking investment.

The business plan is an undeniably critical component to getting any company off the ground. 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.

The purpose of a business plan is three-fold: It summarizes the organization’s strategy in order to execute it long term, secures financing from investors, and helps forecast future business demands.

Business Plan Template [ Download Now ]

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How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Julia Rittenberg

Updated: Apr 17, 2024, 11:59am

How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

Brainstorm an executive summary, create a company description, brainstorm your business goals, describe your services or products, conduct market research, create financial plans, bottom line, frequently asked questions.

Every business starts with a vision, which is distilled and communicated through a business plan. In addition to your high-level hopes and dreams, a strong business plan outlines short-term and long-term goals, budget and whatever else you might need to get started. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to write a business plan that you can stick to and help guide your operations as you get started.

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Drafting the Summary

An executive summary is an extremely important first step in your business. You have to be able to put the basic facts of your business in an elevator pitch-style sentence to grab investors’ attention and keep their interest. This should communicate your business’s name, what the products or services you’re selling are and what marketplace you’re entering.

Ask for Help

When drafting the executive summary, you should have a few different options. Enlist a few thought partners to review your executive summary possibilities to determine which one is best.

After you have the executive summary in place, you can work on the company description, which contains more specific information. In the description, you’ll need to include your business’s registered name , your business address and any key employees involved in the business. 

The business description should also include the structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship , limited liability company (LLC) , partnership or corporation. This is the time to specify how much of an ownership stake everyone has in the company. Finally, include a section that outlines the history of the company and how it has evolved over time.

Wherever you are on the business journey, you return to your goals and assess where you are in meeting your in-progress targets and setting new goals to work toward.

Numbers-based Goals

Goals can cover a variety of sections of your business. Financial and profit goals are a given for when you’re establishing your business, but there are other goals to take into account as well with regard to brand awareness and growth. For example, you might want to hit a certain number of followers across social channels or raise your engagement rates.

Another goal could be to attract new investors or find grants if you’re a nonprofit business. If you’re looking to grow, you’ll want to set revenue targets to make that happen as well.

Intangible Goals

Goals unrelated to traceable numbers are important as well. These can include seeing your business’s advertisement reach the general public or receiving a terrific client review. These goals are important for the direction you take your business and the direction you want it to go in the future.

The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you’re offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit in the current market or are providing something necessary or entirely new. If you have any patents or trademarks, this is where you can include those too.

If you have any visual aids, they should be included here as well. This would also be a good place to include pricing strategy and explain your materials.

This is the part of the business plan where you can explain your expertise and different approach in greater depth. Show how what you’re offering is vital to the market and fills an important gap.

You can also situate your business in your industry and compare it to other ones and how you have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Other than financial goals, you want to have a budget and set your planned weekly, monthly and annual spending. There are several different costs to consider, such as operational costs.

Business Operations Costs

Rent for your business is the first big cost to factor into your budget. If your business is remote, the cost that replaces rent will be the software that maintains your virtual operations.

Marketing and sales costs should be next on your list. Devoting money to making sure people know about your business is as important as making sure it functions.

Other Costs

Although you can’t anticipate disasters, there are likely to be unanticipated costs that come up at some point in your business’s existence. It’s important to factor these possible costs into your financial plans so you’re not caught totally unaware.

Business plans are important for businesses of all sizes so that you can define where your business is and where you want it to go. Growing your business requires a vision, and giving yourself a roadmap in the form of a business plan will set you up for success.

How do I write a simple business plan?

When you’re working on a business plan, make sure you have as much information as possible so that you can simplify it to the most relevant information. A simple business plan still needs all of the parts included in this article, but you can be very clear and direct.

What are some common mistakes in a business plan?

The most common mistakes in a business plan are common writing issues like grammar errors or misspellings. It’s important to be clear in your sentence structure and proofread your business plan before sending it to any investors or partners.

What basic items should be included in a business plan?

When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business,  an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, common elements of a business plan, the bottom line, business plan: what it is, what's included, and how to write one.

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

what type of business plans are there

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A business plan is a document that outlines a company's goals and the strategies to achieve them. It's valuable for both startups and established companies. For startups, a well-crafted business plan is crucial for attracting potential lenders and investors. Established businesses use business plans to stay on track and aligned with their growth objectives. This article will explain the key components of an effective business plan and guidance on how to write one.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a document detailing a company's business activities and strategies for achieving its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to launch their venture and to attract outside investors.
  • For established companies, a business plan helps keep the executive team focused on short- and long-term objectives.
  • There's no single required format for a business plan, but certain key elements are essential for most companies.

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

Any new business should have a business plan in place before beginning operations. Banks and venture capital firms often want to see a business plan before considering making a loan or providing capital to new businesses.

Even if a company doesn't need additional funding, having a business plan helps it stay focused on its goals. Research from the University of Oregon shows that businesses with a plan are significantly more likely to secure funding than those without one. Moreover, companies with a business plan grow 30% faster than those that don't plan. According to a Harvard Business Review article, entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than those who don't.

A business plan should ideally be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect achieved goals or changes in direction. An established business moving in a new direction might even create an entirely new plan.

There are numerous benefits to creating (and sticking to) a well-conceived business plan. It allows for careful consideration of ideas before significant investment, highlights potential obstacles to success, and provides a tool for seeking objective feedback from trusted outsiders. A business plan may also help ensure that a company’s executive team remains aligned on strategic action items and priorities.

While business plans vary widely, even among competitors in the same industry, they often share basic elements detailed below.

A well-crafted business plan is essential for attracting investors and guiding a company's strategic growth. It should address market needs and investor requirements and provide clear financial projections.

While there are any number of templates that you can use to write a business plan, it's best to try to avoid producing a generic-looking one. Let your plan reflect the unique personality of your business.

Many business plans use some combination of the sections below, with varying levels of detail, depending on the company.

The length of a business plan can vary greatly from business to business. Regardless, gathering the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document is best. Any additional crucial elements, such as patent applications, can be referenced in the main document and included as appendices.

Common elements in many business plans include:

  • Executive summary : This section introduces the company and includes its mission statement along with relevant information about the company's leadership, employees, operations, and locations.
  • Products and services : Describe the products and services the company offers or plans to introduce. Include details on pricing, product lifespan, and unique consumer benefits. Mention production and manufacturing processes, relevant patents , proprietary technology , and research and development (R&D) information.
  • Market analysis : Explain the current state of the industry and the competition. Detail where the company fits in, the types of customers it plans to target, and how it plans to capture market share from competitors.
  • Marketing strategy : Outline the company's plans to attract and retain customers, including anticipated advertising and marketing campaigns. Describe the distribution channels that will be used to deliver products or services to consumers.
  • Financial plans and projections : Established businesses should include financial statements, balance sheets, and other relevant financial information. New businesses should provide financial targets and estimates for the first few years. This section may also include any funding requests.

Investors want to see a clear exit strategy, expected returns, and a timeline for cashing out. It's likely a good idea to provide five-year profitability forecasts and realistic financial estimates.

2 Types of Business Plans

Business plans can vary in format, often categorized into traditional and lean startup plans. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the more common of the two.

  • Traditional business plans : These are detailed and lengthy, requiring more effort to create but offering comprehensive information that can be persuasive to potential investors.
  • Lean startup business plans : These are concise, sometimes just one page, and focus on key elements. While they save time, companies should be ready to provide additional details if requested by investors or lenders.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

A business plan isn't a surefire recipe for success. The plan may have been unrealistic in its assumptions and projections. Markets and the economy might change in ways that couldn't have been foreseen. A competitor might introduce a revolutionary new product or service. All this calls for building flexibility into your plan, so you can pivot to a new course if needed.

How Often Should a Business Plan Be Updated?

How frequently a business plan needs to be revised will depend on its nature. Updating your business plan is crucial due to changes in external factors (market trends, competition, and regulations) and internal developments (like employee growth and new products). While a well-established business might want to review its plan once a year and make changes if necessary, a new or fast-growing business in a fiercely competitive market might want to revise it more often, such as quarterly.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is ideal for quickly explaining a business, especially for new companies that don't have much information yet. Key sections may include a value proposition , major activities and advantages, resources (staff, intellectual property, and capital), partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

A well-crafted business plan is crucial for any company, whether it's a startup looking for investment or an established business wanting to stay on course. It outlines goals and strategies, boosting a company's chances of securing funding and achieving growth.

As your business and the market change, update your business plan regularly. This keeps it relevant and aligned with your current goals and conditions. Think of your business plan as a living document that evolves with your company, not something carved in stone.

University of Oregon Department of Economics. " Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Business Planning Using Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro ." Eason Ding & Tim Hursey.

Bplans. " Do You Need a Business Plan? Scientific Research Says Yes ."

Harvard Business Review. " Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Succeed ."

Harvard Business Review. " How to Write a Winning Business Plan ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

SCORE. " When and Why Should You Review Your Business Plan? "

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If you’re a startup, here are five different types of business plans to help achieve your professional goals.

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Writing a business plan is an important process for every startup. In its simplest form, a business plan is a formal document that contains your goals for the company and the timeline in which you'd like to achieve them. While many stick to writing the "standard" business plan, there are various types of business plans you can choose from, depending on your goals. Choosing the right plan for your business can ease the writing process and help you better achieve your objectives. Here are five types of business plans to help you decide which is right for you.

[Read: 5 Common Sense Reasons to Write a Business Plan and 7 Mistakes to Avoid ]

Standard plan

A standard business plan (often referred to as a “working plan”) sets an overview of your company, states your goals and outlines how and when you will achieve them. For any business, they’re an important tool in helping you secure financing, such as a loan or an investment. Lenders and investors will want to know how you plan to use their money and make a profit. A business plan will accurately state how you intend to do this, list the achievable goals and put them in a realistic time frame.

Other aspects to include in your plan depend on your audience. You may include more information about cash flow and expenses for investors, or more of the day-to-day operations and goals for your employees.

What-if plan

In business, not everything will go according to plan. A what-if business plan outlines different roadblocks your company might battle so you can be prepared for anything. Because businesses are often at the whims of external factors such as the stock market or supply chain, this plan outlines the various predictable scenarios your company could face. In writing this plan, you might consider including the worst-case scenario to reassure investors that even if something goes wrong, you will have a way to financially recover. This plan can be part of the standard business plan or exist entirely on its own.

In business, not everything will go according to plan. A what-if business plan outlines different roadblocks your company might battle so you can be prepared for anything.

One-page plan

Your business plan should be filled with detailed information about various aspects of your business. However, sometimes you'll come across someone outside of a formal pitch and want to give them a condensed version of your plan for quick reference. A one-page business plan outlines your plan in five simple, easy-to-read sections: the demand, your solution, your business model, your management team and your plan of action. The content on your one-page plan should be a summarized version of your more robust business plan.

[Read: Starting Over? How to Write a Business Plan for a Post-Pandemic World ]

Startup plan

If you're an entrepreneur who's in the early stages of planning their business, your plan may look a little different. A startup business plan is for potential investors to get an idea of your new company and what you hope to achieve as your company grows. This plan should include an executive summary, your background, what your service or product will provide, your market evaluations, startup costs and your financial projections.

Because this is a plan for a business that does not yet exist or is in its infantry, it is essential to outline who you are and your background, as well as your proven track record. Investors want to know if they can trust you with their money to start a brand-new business. They'll be more open to financing your idea if they know you have similar experience or have worked in or created a startup previously.

Expansion plan

An expansion plan is written when a business is looking to scale themselves and requires additional resources for that development. These resources can include additional employees, new materials or a financial investment. Within this plan, include details of your company's background and how you've grown to where you are today. Then, outline how these additional resources will contribute to the expansion of your company and what that expansion will mean for your overall growth.

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Home Blog Business Plan Writer Types of Business Plans That Make the Difference

Types of Business Plans That Make the Difference

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In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, a well-crafted business plan can be the difference between success and failure. Whether you’re launching a new startup, seeking investment for growth, or charting the course for an established business, having a clear roadmap and strategy is essential. However, not all business plans are created equal. Different types of business plans serve different purposes and audiences, each with its unique structure, content, and focus. In this article, we’ll explore the types of business plans that make the difference and how they can help entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

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  • Traditional Business Plan

The traditional business plan is perhaps the most familiar and comprehensive type of business plan. It serves as a comprehensive blueprint for your venture, outlining your business concept, market opportunity, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, operations plan, financial projections, and more. Traditional business plans are typically used for internal planning purposes, as well as for presenting to investors, lenders, and other stakeholders.

A traditional business plan provides a holistic view of your business, covering all aspects of its operations and strategy. It helps you define your vision, set clear objectives, and develop a roadmap for achieving success. By conducting thorough research and analysis, you can identify opportunities, assess risks, and refine your business model to maximize growth and profitability. Traditional business plans are ideal for startups and early-stage companies looking to secure funding, attract partners, or formalize their strategy for growth.

  • Lean Startup Plan

The lean startup plan is a streamlined and agile approach to business planning, popularized by Eric Ries in his book “The Lean Startup.” Unlike traditional business plans, which can be lengthy and detailed, lean startup plans focus on the essentials, emphasizing experimentation, iteration, and rapid prototyping.

A lean startup plan typically consists of a one-page document or a concise slide deck that outlines the key elements of your business model, including your value proposition, target market, revenue streams, cost structure, and metrics for success. It encourages entrepreneurs to test their assumptions, validate market demand, and iterate on their product or service based on customer feedback and real-world data.

The lean startup approach is well-suited for early-stage startups and entrepreneurs operating in fast-paced, uncertain environments. By adopting a lean mindset, you can minimize risk, conserve resources, and maximize flexibility, allowing you to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and pivot your business model as needed.

A pitch deck is a concise presentation that provides an overview of your business concept, value proposition, market opportunity, and growth strategy. Pitch decks are typically used for pitching to investors, venture capitalists, and potential partners in a formal setting, such as a pitch competition, investor meeting, or networking event.

Pitch decks are highly visual and narrative-driven, with each slide focusing on a specific aspect of your business and conveying key information in a clear and compelling manner. A well-designed pitch deck should grab the audience’s attention, generate excitement about your venture, and inspire confidence in your ability to execute on your vision.

Pitch decks are ideal for startups and entrepreneurs seeking to raise funding or secure partnerships. By distilling your business concept into a concise and persuasive presentation, you can capture the interest of investors and stakeholders and compel them to take action.

  • Operational Business Plan

An operational business plan focuses on the day-to-day operations of your business, detailing how you will execute on your strategy and deliver value to customers. Unlike traditional business plans, which are forward-looking and strategic, operational business plans are more tactical and execution-oriented, focusing on practical considerations such as staffing, supply chain management, production processes, and customer service.

Operational business plans are used internally to guide decision-making, allocate resources, and ensure the smooth functioning of your business on a day-to-day basis. They provide a roadmap for managing key operational functions and addressing operational challenges as they arise.

Operational business plans are essential for established businesses and entrepreneurs looking to scale their operations or optimize their processes. By aligning your day-to-day activities with your strategic objectives, you can improve efficiency, minimize waste, and enhance the overall performance of your business.

Learn more: Plan the Launch & Growth of Your Business with Expert Business Plan Writers

In conclusion, different types of business plans serve different purposes and audiences, each with its unique structure, content, and focus. Whether you’re launching a new startup, seeking investment for growth, or managing an established business, having a clear roadmap and strategy is essential for success. By choosing the right type of business plan for your venture and tailoring it to your specific goals and audience, you can articulate your vision, attract funding, and execute on your strategy with confidence and clarity.

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The Different Types of Business Plans

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  • June 29, 2023

The Different Types of Business Plans

Different situations call for different business plans.

Whether you want to acquire funds, analyze market risks, introduce a new product, or simply need a roadmap for business operations— a specifically tailored business plan is essential for different business purposes.

Identifying the type of business plan you require is quintessential so that you create a document fit for your business needs.

In this blog post, we will introduce you to the 7 different types of business plans and help you understand which suits your business needs the best.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive right in.

Types of business plans

Businesses in different business situations call for different business plans.

To understand different types of business plans, we will categorize them based on audience, scope, and purpose to instill better clarity in your minds.

Let us understand these in detail to help you choose your ideal business plan.

Based on audience

Business plans are broadly categorized into two types based on the type of audience they cater to.

1. Internal business plans

As the name suggests, an internal business plan is solely for the people inside the company. These can be specific to certain departments such as marketing, HR, production, etc.

Internal business plans focus primarily on the company’s goals, operations, finances, and personnel and define the strategies to achieve their goals.

2. External business plans

On the contrary, external business plans are intended for people outside the company, such as investors, banks, partners, etc.

These plans usually contain detailed information about the company’s background, finances, market share, and business strategies.

Based on scope

Similarly, business plans are classified into two types based on their size and the depth of information they encompass.

1. Standard business plan

A standard plan or traditional business plan is a professional document offering a comprehensive understanding of your business idea. It serves as a step-by-step guide to launching your business and offers a roadmap to operate it efficiently.

A standard plan follows a structured format and usually includes components such as

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Products and services
  • Marketing and sales plan
  • Operations plan
  • Financial plan
  • Funding demand

Most entrepreneurs follow this structure to write a business plan and add depth to the sections that hold significant value to them.

Best for: Startups and businesses that require a detailed roadmap or operate in highly volatile markets. These plans are also used for getting funding approvals.

2. Lean business plans

A lean plan, also known as a startup business plan, is a condensed version of the standard business plan including highlights and summaries of all its sections.

Such plans empower entrepreneurs to kickstart their business endeavors with a minimum viable product and build it gradually by gathering real market feedback.

Lean business plans are crafted with brevity and outline your strategies, revenue model, tactics, and timeline.

  • Strategies: How will you reach your goals
  • Tactics: What are the KPIs to evaluate your performance
  • Revenue model: How will you make money
  • Timeline: Who will accomplish the tasks

Drafting such plans is not only easier, it is considered to be more efficient compared to a standard plan.

Best for: Entrepreneurs who want to quickly launch their business in a hot-moving market.

Based on purpose

Every business plan tends to solve a specific purpose. Let’s understand 7 different types of business plans based on different purposes.

1. One-page business plan

One-page business plans offer a snapshot of your entire business idea in one page. Such plans follow the same structure as traditional plans, however, they are much more concise and crisp.

One-page plans are simplified versions of detailed business plans and can be placed together in less than 10 minutes.

They are quite useful when you want to convey essential information in a brief document without missing out on important points.

Best for: One-page business plan is best suited for startups and small businesses that require rapid adjustments and quick implementation.

2. Growth business plan

A growth business plan combines the crispness of one-page business plans and the detailing of financial forecasts to enable prompt decision-making.

Such plans are quite handy when you want to upscale or grow your business without writing a full-fledged detailed business plan.

Businesses can compare their forecasts with the actuals, identify the discrepancies in the current strategy, and adjust it to ensure maximum growth when they have a clear demonstration of financials.

To prepare your growth business plan, outline the target market, business strategies, and a business model as you do in your one-page plans. And additionally, also include detailed financial projections for sales, cash flow, and revenue to help individuals make data-driven decisions.

Best for: A growth plan is best for businesses entering new markets, launching new products, scaling operations, or practicing a growth planning process.

3. Strategic business plan

Strategic business plans highlight your strategic objectives, define your business strategies, and outline a roadmap to take you there. It covers the nitty-gritty about your company’s goals, mission objectives, and long-term vision.

Such plans are extremely efficient in communicating your goals to internal teams and stakeholders, while ensuring everyone is on the same page as you.

Best for: Businesses and startups planning long-term growth and nonprofits aiming to increase their impact.

4. Feasibility business plan

A feasibility business plan is specifically designed to test the viability of a new product or business expansion in a new market. As opposed to a detailed business plan, such plans focus on two primary matters:

  • Determining the existence of a market
  • Determining the profits of the initiative

This type of business plan usually excludes all the other sections included in usual business plans. Instead, it concentrates mainly on the scope of a new initiative, its profitability, market analysis, competition, and associated financial implications.

It is mostly crafted for internal management and ends with recommendations on whether the decision to enter a new market or introduce a new product or service is viable or not.

Best for: Established businesses and early-stage startups to assess the viability of a specific product, market, or business idea before allocating significant resources.

5. Operational business plan

Operational plans are specific documents outlining processes and procedures of day-to-day business activities. Such plans focus on operational aspects of the business such as logistics, inventory, supply chain, production, and resource allocation.

A well-mapped operational plan serves as a guidebook for internal team and management. It streamlines the workflow, establishes SOPs, and offers a clear understanding of who will perform what tasks and what resources will be required.

There is no strict format outlining the contents of such a plan. The plan just needs to be clear, communicative, and viable enough to implement practically.

Best for: Established businesses to manage operations and resource allocation and startups to establish standard clear processes.

6. Nonprofit business plan

Nonprofit business plans are suited for businesses that operate for a charitable or social cause. Such plans are quite similar to traditional plans, however, they include an additional section where you explain the impact your non-profit organization will make in society.

Like a traditional plan, you will highlight the business concept, outline the market research, set the business goals, determine your business and promotional strategies, and demonstrate your team.

Additionally, you will include a section demonstrating the financial sustainability of the nonprofit venture. This is essential to attract donors, grants, and investors for your nonprofit business.

Best for: Nonprofit startups planning to secure funding and grants from financial institutions.

7. What-If business plan

What-if business plans are contingency plans used to draft strategies for the worst-case scenarios. This plan is usually less formal unless a funding request is included.

Such planning allows you to test and study the impact of different hypothetical situations related to the market, environment, competition, and legal regulations on your business.

Best for: Businesses in highly volatile markets and companies practicing crisis management. Also suited when considering mergers, price hikes, or undertaking any major business decision.

And those are some of the many different types of business plans you can have for your business. Wondering which one your business needs? Let us make your choice easier.

Choosing the right type of business plan

Here are the 2 criteria that will help in determining the right plan for your business.

The first step to choosing a business plan is to understand the purpose and objective of writing a business plan. For instance, your objective could be to acquire funds, guide an internal team, create a strategic roadmap, expand into a new geographic market, or prepare for contingencies.

Align your objective with the purpose of specific business plans and see which one suits you the best.

2. Scope of business

The scope and complexity of your business play a crucial role in determining the type of business plan you require. Take into account factors like products and service offerings, the scale of the business, and the business complexity to make a choice.

Even the stage of your business, depending on whether it is a startup or an established business, will influence this decision.

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You now have a proper understanding of the different types of business. If you’re not sure which one to pick, let us help you.

Our business planning software helps create stellar business plans and saves you the pain of writing one from scratch.

You can either choose a business plan sample and follow its step-by-step instructions to prepare your functional and actionable business plan.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 8 most common sections of a business plan.

The 8 common components of a successful business plan include

  • Management team

Which type of business plan is right for me?

The answer entirely depends upon what you want to achieve with your business plan. Apart from that the scope, nature, and complexity of your business will determine the type of business plan you need.

Do I need a business plan to start a business?

A business plan is highly recommended before you kickstart your business endeavor. It builds a solid foundation for your business idea and offers a roadmap to achieve your strategic and business objectives. A well-drafted business proposal increases the chances of your business venture succeeding.

About the Author

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Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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  • Customers and Investors Don't Want Products. They Want Solutions.
  • Write Your Business Plan | Part 4 Overview Video
  • 5 Essential Elements of Your Industry Trends Plan
  • How to Identify and Research Your Competition
  • Who Is Your Ideal Customer? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself.
  • How to Identify Market Trends in Your Business Plan
  • How to Define Your Product and Set Your Prices
  • How to Determine the Barriers to Entry for Your Business
  • How to Get Customers in Your Store and Drive Traffic to Your Website
  • How to Effectively Promote Your Business to Customers and Investors
  • Write Your Business Plan | Part 5 Overview Video
  • What Equipment and Facilities to Include in Your Business Plan
  • How to Write an Income Statement for Your Business Plan
  • How to Make a Balance Sheet
  • How to Make a Cash Flow Statement
  • How to Use Financial Ratios to Understand the Health of Your Business
  • How to Write an Operations Plan for Retail and Sales Businesses
  • How to Make Realistic Financial Forecasts
  • How to Write an Operations Plan for Manufacturers
  • What Technology Needs to Include In Your Business Plan
  • How to List Personnel and Materials in Your Business Plan
  • The Role of Franchising
  • The Best Ways to Follow Up on a Buisiness Plan
  • The Best Books, Sites, Trade Associations and Resources to Get Your Business Funded and Running
  • How to Hire the Right Business Plan Consultant
  • Business Plan Lingo and Resources All Entrepreneurs Should Know
  • How to Write a Letter of Introduction
  • What To Put on the Cover Page of a Business Plan
  • How to Format Your Business Plan
  • 6 Steps to Getting Your Business Plan In Front of Investors

The Top 4 Types of Business Plans Not all business plans looks the same. Here's how to customize your plan to your specific goals.

By Eric Butow Oct 27, 2023

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is part 7 / 12 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 1: The Foundation of a Business Plan series.

When it comes to writing a business plan, one style does not fit all.

Different industries require different plans. A retailer isn't much like a manufacturer, and a professional services firm isn't much like a fast-food restaurant. Each requires certain critical components for success—components that may be irrelevant or even completely absent in the operations of another type of firm.

For example, inventory is a key concern for both retailers and manufacturers. Look at Walmart, one of the great all-time success stories in retail. Expert, innovative management of inventory is an integral part of its success. Any business plan that purported to describe the important elements of these businesses would have had to devote considerable space to telling how the managers planned to manage inventory.

Related: The Basics Of Writing A Business Plan

Contrast that with a professional services firm, such as a management consultant. A consultant has no inventory whatsoever. Their offerings consist entirely of the management analysis and advice they can provide. They don't have to pay now for goods to be sold later or lay out cash to store products for eventual sale. The management consultant's business plan, therefore, wouldn't have a section on inventory or its management, control, and reduction.

This is one obvious example of the differences among plans for different industries. Sometimes, even companies in more closely related industries have significantly different business plans. For instance, the business plan for a fine French restaurant might need a section detailing how the management intends to attract and retain a distinguished chef. At a restaurant catering to the downtown lunchtime crowd, you might devote much plan space to the critical concern of location and quick turnaround of diners with very little about the chef.

Related: The Benefits and Risks of Writing A Business Plan

You want your plan to present yourself and your business in the best, most accurate light. That's true no matter what you intend to use your plan for, whether it's destined for presentation at a venture capital conference or will never leave your office or be seen outside internal strategy sessions.

When you select clothing for a momentous occasion, odds are you try to pick items that will play up your best features. Think about your plan the same way. You want to reveal any positives your business may have and ensure they receive due consideration.

Related: The Main Objective Of A Business Plan

Business plans can be divided roughly into four distinct types: Mini-plans, presentation plans or decks, working plans, and what-if plans. Each plan requires different amounts of labor, not always with proportionately different results. A more elaborate plan is not guaranteed to be superior to an abbreviated one. 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 that might be important to a potential investor.

The Mini-Plan

The mini-plan is preferred by many recipients because they can read it or download it quickly to read later on their iPhone or tablet. You include most of the same ingredients that you would in a longer plan, but you cut to the highlights while telling the same story. For a small business venture, it's typically all that you need. For a more complex business, you may need a longer version.

Related: How To Write A Business Plan

The Presentation Plan

Created with PowerPoint or a similar platform, this is how most plans are presented. And while today's plan is shorter than back in the day, it's not necessarily easier to present. Many people lose sleep over an upcoming presentation, especially one that can play a vital role in the future of your business. However, presenting your plan as a deck can be very powerful. Readers of a plan can't always capture your passion for the business, nor can they ask questions when you finish. In 20 minutes, you can cover all the key points and tell your story from concept and mission statement through financial forecasts.

Related: How To Craft A Business Plan That Will Turn Investor Heads

Remember to keep your graphics uncluttered and to make comments to accentuate your ideas rather than simply reading what is in front of your audience. While a presentation plan is concise, don't be fooled. It takes plenty of planning. The pertinent questions—Who? What? Where? Why? When? and How?—need to be answered.

The Working Plan

A working plan is a tool to be used to operate your business. It is long on detail but cshort on presentation. As with a mini-plan, you probably can afford a somewhat higher degree of candor and informality when preparing a working plan.

Related: 6 Tips For Making A Winning Business Presentation

In a presentation plan, you might describe a rival as "competing primarily on a price basis." But in a working plan, your comment about the same competitor might be, "When is Jones ever going to stop this insane price-cutting?"

A plan intended strictly for internal use may also omit some elements that you need not explain to yourself. Likewise, you probably don't need to include an appendix with resumes of key executives. Product photos are also unnecessary. Internal policy considerations may guide the decision about including or excluding certain information in a working plan. Many entrepreneurs are sensitive about employees knowing the precise salary the owner takes home from the business.

Related: 12 Reasons You Need A Business Plan

To the extent such information can be left out of a working plan without compromising its utility, you can feel free to protect your privacy. This document is like an old pair of khakis you wear to the office on Saturdays or that one ancient delivery truck that never seems to break down. It's there to be used, not admired.

The What-If Plan

When you face unusual circumstances, you need a variant on the working plan. For example, prepare a contingency plan when you are seeking bank financing. A contingency plan is a plan based on the worst-case scenario that you can imagine your business surviving—loss of market share, heavy price competition, defection of a key member of your management team. A contingency plan can soothe the fears of a banker or investor by demonstrating that you have indeed considered more than a rosy scenario.

Related: How To Hire The Right Business Plan Consultant

Your business may be considering an acquisition, in which case a pro forma business plan (some call this a what-if plan) can help you understand what the acquisition is worth and how it might affect your core business. What if you raise prices, invest in staff training, and reduce duplicative efforts? Such what-if planning doesn't have to be as formal as a presentation plan. Perhaps you want to mull over the chances of a major expansion. A what-if plan can help you spot the increased needs for space, equipment, personnel, and other variables so you can make good decisions.

What sets these kinds of plans apart from the working and presentation plans is that they don't necessarily describe how you will run the business. They are essentially more like an addendum to your actual business plan. If you decide to acquire that competitor or grow dramatically, you will want to incorporate some of the thinking already invested in these special purpose plans into your primary business plan.

Related: Do You Need To Write A Formal Business Plan

If you are looking for extra guidance with an industry-specific business plan, you can visit Bplans.com to access over 500 free real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries to guide you through writing your own plan. If you're looking for an intuitive tool that walks you through the plan writing process, you can try LivePlan . It includes many of these SBA-approved business plan examples and is especially useful when applying for a bank loan or outside investment.

More in Write Your Business Plan

Section 1: the foundation of a business plan, section 2: putting your business plan to work, section 3: selling your product and team, section 4: marketing your business plan, section 5: organizing operations and finances, section 6: getting your business plan to investors.

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6 Types of Business Plans

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What Are the Six Elements of a Business Plan?

What are the benefits of a business plan, examples of business feasibility reports.

  • How to Write a Business Synopsis
  • How to Create a New Business Plan

Business plans guide owners, management and investors as businesses start up and grow through stages of success. A business owner or prospective business owner writes a business plan to clarify each aspect of his business, describing the objectives that will anticipate and prepare for growth. Savvy business owners write a business plan to guide management and to promote investment capital.

Types of business plans include, but are not limited to, start-up, internal, strategic, feasibility, operations and growth plans.

Start-Up Business Plans

New businesses should detail the steps to start the new enterprise with a start-up business plan. This document typically includes sections describing the company, the product or service your business will supply, market evaluations and your projected management team. Potential investors will also require a financial analysis with spreadsheets describing financial areas including, but not limited to, income, profit and cash flow projections.

Internal Business Plans

Internal business plans target a specific audience within the business, for example, the marketing team who need to evaluate a proposed project. This document will describe the company’s current state, including operational costs and profitability, then calculate if and how the business will repay any capital needed for the project. Internal plans provide information about project marketing, hiring and tech costs. They also typically include a market analysis illustrating target demographics, market size and the market’s positive effect on the company income.

Strategic Business Plans

A strategic business plan provides a high-level view of a company’s goals and how it will achieve them, laying out a foundational plan for the entire company. While the structure of a strategic plan differs from company to company, most include five elements: business vision, mission statement, definition of critical success factors, strategies for achieving objectives and an implementation schedule. A strategic business plan brings all levels of the business into the big picture, inspiring employees to work together to create a successful culmination to the company’s goals.

Feasibility Business Plans

A feasibility business plan answers two primary questions about a proposed business venture: who , if anyone, will purchase the service or product a company wants to sell, and if the venture can turn a profit. Feasibility business plans include, but are not limited to, sections describing the need for the product or service, target demographics and required capital. A feasibility plan ends with recommendations for going forward.

Operations Business Plans

Operations plans are internal plans that consist of elements related to company operations . An operations plan, specifies implementation markers and deadlines for the coming year. The operations plan outlines employees’ responsibilities.

Growth Business Plans

Growth plans or expansion plans are in-depth descriptions of proposed growth and are written for internal or external purposes. If company growth requires investment, a growth plan may include complete descriptions of the company, its management and officers. The plan must provide all company details to satisfy potential investors. If a growth plan needs no capital, the authors may forego obvious company descriptions, but will include financial sales and expense projections.

  • Entrepreneur: The 4 Types of Business Plans
  • YourBusinessPal.com: Business Plan Example
  • BPlans.com: Free Sample Business Plans

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.

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The 8 Types of Business Plans Explained

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by  Antony W

June 8, 2024

types of business plan

In this guide, we look at the different types of business plans and where they apply.

You can write a standard, lean, one-page, startup, strategic, feasibility, operational, or growth business plan depending on your needs.

Here’s an explanation for each:

1. Standard Business Plan

A standard business plan gives a detailed description of the operations of a business so stakeholders can understand the business well. A standard business plan features an executive summary , competitive analysis, SWOT analysis, and market summary.

The success of a standard business plan anchors on the information it provides. Therefore, focus on providing accurate information, so investors can have an easy time evaluating the risk and potential of the business before releasing funds.

A standard business plan should also include financial plan, problem analysis, and management objectives.

2. Lean Business Plan

A lean business plan is a condensed and straightforward document that highlights and summarizes the most important aspects of a business. Many entrepreneurs use this plan for efficient communication because it highlights only the most significant elements and milestones.

The necessary details to include in a lean business plan are operation strategies, financial projections, and the strategies necessary for business success in a rather competitive marketing landscape.

3. One-page Business Plan

A one-page business plan is more or less for direct to the point communication. It’s the best plan to use if you want to pitch investors and stakeholders who don’t have much time to read extensive documents.

The main benefit of a one-page business plan is that it presents only the most important information guaranteed to pique an audience’s attention. While the plan doesn’t have peripheral explanations, the information presented is enough to give a clear overview of the business.

A well-written one-page business plan summarizes the target market, operational requirements, objectives, forecasts, and products or services.

4. Startup Business Plan

A startup business plan states the requirements a business must meet to start operating in a specific market. It incorporates elements of lean and standard business plans, and its detailed sections are common when establishing new techniques likely to support the business’s overall operations.

A startup business plan has to address licensing, business permits, necessary equipment, and human resource management questions. And while the plan will vary based on the nature of business activities, comprehensive details are mandatory.

5. Strategic Business Plan

A strategic business plan describes the roadmap that a business leader intends to use to steer the enterprise in the right direction after overcoming different challenges and exploring opportunities.

You can only write a comprehensive strategic business plan after conducting an in-depth SWOT analysis and identifying the implementation processes necessary to put the business in the right direction.

The plan allows you to influence stakeholders to focus on specific aspects that eventually contribute to the overall success of the business.

6. Feasibility Business Plan

A feasibility plan allows a business to determine the existence of new markets and the potential benefits of investing in such markets.

To write a comprehensive feasibility plan, you have to understand the current business environment, evaluate opportunities, and consolidate funds to support the new ventures.

Keep in mind that your feasibility business plan may lead to recommendations that point out weaknesses and indicate ideas for growth after investments.

7. Operational Business Plan

An operational business plan is lean and focused on the implementation processes after goals are set and resources allocated to specific functions.

The specific sections of the plan will describe milestones, responsibilities, stakeholders, and goals.

Because an operational business plan focuses on internal processes, outsiders cannot contribute significantly to the business. However, they can participate in evaluation and tracking progress.

8. Growth Business Plan

Business growth is all about expansion. Therefore, you have to come up with a plan that identifies and integrate activities that facilitate expansion and drive the business to achieve specific milestone.

Your focus on growth requires accurate descriptions of long-term goals and the steps necessary to ignite the change you desire to see in your business.

The growth business plan integrates internal and external considerations to forecast, analyze, and secure resources for expansion. Incorporating What-if scenarios into the growth plan enables preparation for risky investments, ensuring readiness to address potential adverse outcomes.

What is a Business Plan?

We define a business plan as a document that describes a business’s goals and how it intends to achieve those goals. Business plans are for established enterprises and startups. A business plan is important because it documents an entity’s finance, marketing, and operational standpoint.

A comprehensive business plan acts as a powerful tool to attract investors, predict business demands in the future, and outline a long-term game plan for the business.  

How Do I Write a Business Plan?

You can write a business plan by following the process we’ve outlined to get the task completed.

  • Conduct in-depth business and market research to learn more about your audience.
  • Have clear goals before you start writing.
  • Go straight to the point.
  • Keep your tone, voice, and style consistent and professional as you write.

What is the Best Business Plan Writing Service?

Help for Assessment is the best business plan writing service online. Our company has highly trained writers with years of academic and business experience. Therefore, paying for our service will definitely get you the best results.

Our business plan writing service takes you from a completely blank page to a comprehensive document in just 7 days. It doesn’t matter if you have a strict deadline to beat or a flexible deadline to meet. You can count on our team.

How Much Do You Charge to Write a Business Plan?

We charge $12.99 to $40 per page to write a business plan. The overall cost for a business plan depends on the number of pages ordered, number of charts requested, level of expertise required, number of slides, and urgency. 

Help for Assessment offers up to 10% discount to new customers. Therefore, you can save money and benefit from our cost-effective writing if you’re on tight budget.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needi

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated May 7, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

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  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

Free business plan templates and examples

Kickstart your business plan writing with one of our free business plan templates or recommended tools.

what type of business plans are there

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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what type of business plans are there

What Type of Business Plan Do You Need?

  • Small Business
  • Online Business
  • Home Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Operations & Success

To Test Your Business Idea

To serve as a blueprint for your business, to get a business loan or grant, to attract investors or partners, to guide and grow your business, the right business plan saves time and money.

Susan Ward has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

Two common misconceptions about business plans are that a business needs just one, and that there is one type of business plan that suits all businesses. In reality, companies often need new or amended business plans as they evolve, and the right kind of business plan for any company depends on the its purpose.

What type of business plan do you need? This guide, which matches different types of business plans to different purposes, will help you choose.

Writing a business plan is a whole lot less trouble and expense than just plunging in and starting whatever new business comes to mind, especially when you're not sure whether your business idea is going to be a money maker.

This doesn't necessarily need to be a lengthy process. You can, of course, test your business idea by working through a full-scale business plan. But there are also ways to draft a quick-start plan by answering a few key questions about your concept, market, and potential obstacles.

People often cycle through several business ideas before they hit on the one that they feel will give them the best chance of success. Once your business idea passes the quick-start test, you can be more confident that the time and energy you invest in writing a full-scale business plan won't be wasted.

When you're starting a business, it's important to cross all the T's—and to know where all the T's are. That’s where the full-scale business plan comes in. In the process of writing a detailed plan, you'll work through everything from marketing and competitive analysis to your operations and financial plans.

The full-scale business plan is the most suitable for people who need to work through all the details to get a business up and running. Its purpose is to serve as a startup guide and a plan for the first years of your business's life. Once you've worked through writing this type of business plan, you'll know all about those T's and what to do with them.

The same full-scale business plan you use as a blueprint for your business is ideal for seeking business loans or grants, too. This is the type of business plan that traditional lenders, whether they be private lenders or bank managers, want to see.

When you're writing a business plan to attempt to secure a business loan or grant, be sure you pay particular attention to two areas of the business plan: the financial plan section, where you provide detailed financial statements and a financial statement analysis, and the executive summary, which summarizes the key elements of your entire business plan. All the other parts of the business plan are essential, too, but these are the two sections on which lenders will focus.

Investors and potential partners will also be particularly interested in your financial statements and projections. But their overriding question when they're examining your business plan will be, "What's in it for me?" Every aspect of your business plan has to be directed toward answering that question.

You can do this with the traditional business plan, of course, as long as you keep every section of the plan focused on your audience. Beyond the financials, potential investors and partners will want to see you've done thorough work in planning your management, marketing, and products.

Whether your business plan is a traditional document, a website, or a collection of handwritten documents just for you, don't forget that the job of the business plan isn't done when you start your business. Once your new business is on its feet, the business plan is the perfect tool for planning and managing your business. Keep a copy of your business plan on hand to make it easier to amend or add to as you create new plans and evaluate old ones. At some point, you might revise the marketing plan. At another time, you might revise the operations plan.

It's often too easy to put off reviewing your business plan as you get immersed in putting out the fires of the day. But your business plan should be the compass to keep your business on course and ready to face whatever new challenges or opportunities arise. Refer back to it regularly as your business grows.

It's a truism that every business needs a business plan. But that business plan's form and content should depend on the business plan's purpose. Ask yourself why you're writing a business plan before you write one, and tailor your business plan to your mission. Otherwise, you may end up spending your time and money on writing a business plan that doesn't do what you want it to do.

4 types of planning

4 Types of Planning in Management

Table of Contents

What are the 4 Types of Planning?

Planning is an essential function of business. Effective planning is crucial for every business to achieve the desired goals effectively. The following are the four key types of planning in management . Let’s explore them:

Strategic Planning

Definition: Strategic planning is like a roadmap for a company’s long journey. It’s a big-picture plan that guides where the company wants to go and how it aims to get there.

Purpose: Think of it as setting the ultimate destination for a road trip. It defines the company’s goals, vision, and the main strategies to achieve them. It’s a big dream.

Key Details:

  • Who Makes It: Top-level leaders and executives in the company are like the masterminds behind this plan. They gather to brainstorm and set the course for the future.
  • Importance: Imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint. Strategic planning provides focus and direction. It helps a company grow, adapt to changes, and stay competitive.
  • Example: Suppose a toy company decides it wants to be the leader in eco-friendly toys within five years. Their strategic plan might include goals like designing sustainable toys, expanding into new markets, and improving their brand’s environmental image.

Related: Strategic Goal – Definition

Operational Planning

Definition: Operational planning is the day-to-day plan that keeps the company running smoothly. It’s like the to-do list for each day, making sure everyone knows what needs to be done.

Purpose: If strategic planning is the big dream, operational planning is the practical step to make it happen. It’s about managing resources, tasks, and deadlines efficiently.

  • Who Makes It: Operational plans are crafted by managers and supervisors who oversee specific areas or teams. They take the big goals from strategic planning and break them into smaller, manageable tasks.
  • Importance: Without operational planning, it’s like having a dream but not knowing how to take the first step. It ensures that everyone in the company knows their role, resources are used wisely, and things get done on time.
  • Example: Consider a restaurant. The strategic plan might include a goal to become the go-to place for healthy dining. The operational plan for the kitchen staff would include tasks like sourcing fresh ingredients, creating daily menus, and maintaining kitchen equipment to serve healthy meals efficiently.

Related: Operational Goals

Tactical Planning

Definition: Tactical planning is like a playbook for a sports team. It’s about making specific, short-term moves to score points and win the game. In business, it’s all about the specific details of a business.

Purpose: Think of this type of planning as breaking down the big goals from strategic planning into smaller, achievable actions. Tactical planning tells us exactly what to do, like a game plan for success.

  • Who Makes It: Middle-level managers are like the coaches here. They take the strategic game plan and create tactical plays for their teams. They decide who does what, when, and how.
  • Importance: Imagine playing chess without thinking about your next move. Tactical planning ensures that each part of the organization is working together efficiently. It’s all about executing the strategy and getting results.
  • Example: If a tech company’s strategic plan is to dominate the mobile app market, tactical planning might involve setting specific targets for app downloads, designing marketing campaigns, and allocating resources to app development teams.

Read More: Tactical Goals

Contingency Planning

Definition: Contingency planning is like having a backup plan for when things go wrong. It’s preparing for unexpected twists and turns, much like having a spare tire in your car.

Purpose: This type of planning is all about being ready for surprises. It’s like having a fire escape plan in case of emergencies. It helps a company respond to unexpected challenges effectively.

  • Who Makes It: Just like having a first-aid kit at home, contingency plans are developed by experts in risk management or crisis response. They identify potential risks and create plans to deal with them.
  • Importance: Life is unpredictable, and so is business. Contingency planning ensures that when a crisis hits, the company knows exactly what to do. It minimizes damage and helps the organization bounce back quickly.
  • Example: Consider a manufacturing company. While their strategic plan may focus on increasing production, a contingency plan could include steps to address disruptions like equipment breakdowns, supplier issues, or even natural disasters. This way, they’re ready to keep production going no matter what.

Read More: Contingency Management Theory

How Do the 4 Types of Planning Work in Management?

The four types of planning in management work together like building blocks:

  • Strategic Planning: It’s a big dream, setting long-term goals. Top leaders create the vision.
  • Tactical Planning: Think of it as the game plan. Middle managers break down big goals into short-term actions.
  • Operational Planning: This is the daily to-do list. Supervisors ensure tasks are done efficiently.
  • Contingency Planning: It’s the backup plan for surprises. Experts prepare for unexpected challenges.

These types fit like pieces of a puzzle. Strategic planning sets the direction, tactical planning creates the plays, operational planning manages daily tasks, and contingency planning handles unexpected bumps in the road. Together, they help a company succeed and adapt to a changing world.

Read Next: 6 Ps of Planning

Sujan Chaudhary Founder of mbanote.org

By profession, Sujan Chaudhary is a BBA (Bachelor in Business Administration) graduate, and by passion a blogger. He loves to share his business knowledge with the rest of the world. While not writing, he will be found reading and exploring the world.

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what type of business plans are there

What's Project 2025? Unpacking the Pro-Trump Plan to Overhaul US Government

For several months, we received a flood of reader inquiries asking if project 2025 was a real effort to “reshape america.” here’s the answer., nur ibrahim, aleksandra wrona, published july 3, 2024.

  • Project 2025 is a conservative coalition's plan for a future Republican U.S. presidential administration. If voters elect the party's presumed nominee, Donald Trump, over Democrat Joe Biden in November 2024, the coalition hopes the new president will implement the plan immediately.
  • The sweeping effort centers on a roughly 1,000-page document  that gives the executive branch more power, reverses Biden-era policies and specifies numerous department-level changes.
  • People across the political spectrum fear such actions are precursors to authoritarianism and have voiced concerns over the proposal's recommendations to reverse protections for LGBTQ+ people, limit abortion access, stop federal efforts to mitigate climate change — and more.
  • The Heritage Foundation — a conservative think tank operated by many of Trump's current and former political allies — is leading the initiative. President Kevin Roberts once said  the project's main goals are "institutionalizing Trumpism" and getting rid of unelected bureaucrats who he believes wield too much political influence.
  • The Trump campaign's goals and proposals within Project 2025 overlap. However, the former president has attempted to distance himself from the initiative. In a July 5, 2024, post on Truth Social , he wrote: " I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them."
  • In other words, it's unknown if, or to what extent, Trump's campaign is talking to leaders of the initiative. Many political analysts and the Biden administration believe Project 2025 is a good indication of Trump's vision for a second term.
Here at Snopes, the internet's premiere fact-checking site, we believe in unbiased, fact-driven reporting to help guide people's everyday lives. And when it comes to voting in elections, we hold that responsibility high. We call out candidates' mistruths, contextualize campaign claims and pull back the curtain on efforts shaping political parties' agendas. Our hope is to give voters the knowledge they need to mark ballots without any distorted sense of reality. Below is an example of that work — a months-long analysis of an all-encompassing effort to reshape the American bureacracy following the 2024 U.S. presidential election. If you'd like to support this type of journalism,  we'd love your help .   —  Jessica Lee ,  senior assignments editor,  snopes.com

As the U.S. 2024 presidential election nears, U.S. President Joe Biden's reelection campaign has been sending foreboding emails to supporters, invoking "Trump's Project 2025" to tap into anxieties over another four years with Donald Trump in the White House and to raise campaign money.

According to some of the emails, "Project 2025" calls for proposals that would separate "mothers away from their children," a reference to border policies during Trump's administration, or result in "higher housing costs and rampant discrimination."

The Biden campaign is not alone in its concern over the policy initiative. Critics including legal experts and former government employees have described Project 2025 as a precursor to authoritarianism — albeit a difficult one to implement — and a wave of social media  posts  are expressing  fear over the initiative, calling it a " fascist " and " extremist " plan for Trump to " reshape America." Numerous reports have also called this conservative effort to reshape the government unprecedented in its scale. 

But what exactly is Project 2025? Are the messages from critics rooted in fact or fear-mongering? What should people know about the alleged policy plan? Over the past year, Snopes has received a flood of inquiries from readers asking if Project 2025 was real and what it entails, and if American politicians plan to implement it.

Under the leadership of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, Project 2025 is indeed a real, all-encompassing initiative to transform the American bureaucracy if, or when, a conservative president takes over the White House. Project leaders are hoping to put it into motion as early as November 2024 if voters elect former President Donald Trump. 

Politico once described the policy initiative as an effort to make a "MAGA" conservative government by reshaping how federal employees work, and the  creators themselves have framed it as a push to institutionalize " Trumpism " —  that is,  Trump's political agenda — at every level of federal government. On Truth Social, a Trump-owned social media platform, users have described it as a return to "constitutional" values.

In June 2024, House Democrats launched a task force to make plans for a potential future in which Project 2025's recommendations could become reality.

The growing interest in Project 2025 coincided with the progression of Trump's presidential campaign. A  June 2024  NPR/PBS News/Marist poll found the presidential race to be extremely tight, with Biden and Trump almost tied, echoing a months-long trend of national surveys. ( Historically , polls at this stage of campaigns are not indicative of actual election outcomes.)

Leaders and supporters of the initiative declined to be interviewed for this story or did not respond to Snopes' inquiries.

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025 has four parts, according to its website : 

  • A roughly 1,000-page document titled " Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise ."  That report details supporters' proposals for federal departments, as well as their overall agenda for a conservative government.
  • A purported transition plan for federal departments. Project 2025 leaders say they have a 180-day transition plan for each federal agency to quickly adapt to a Trump presidency should he win in November. As of this writing, the contents of that plan were unknown.
  • A new database that aims to fill federal jobs with conservative voices. Spencer Chretien, associate director of Project 2025, once called the online system to screen potential new hires the " conservative LinkedIn ." It's currently active on the Project's website.
  • A new system to train potential political appointees . Called the " Presidential Administration Academy ," the system aims to teach skills for "advancing conservative ideas" as soon as new hires join the administration. The lessons touch on everything from budget-making to media relations and currently consist of 30- to 90-minute online sessions. Project 2025 leaders say they will host in-person sessions as the election nears. 

There's reportedly another facet to Project 2025 that's not detailed on its website: an effort to draft executive orders for the new president. According to a November 2023 report by The Washington Post that cites anonymous sources, Jeffrey Clark (a former Trump official who sought to use the Justice Department to help Trump's efforts to overturn 2020 election results) is leading that work, and the alleged draft executive orders involve the Insurrection Act — a law last updated in 1871 that allows the president to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement. Speaking to the Post, a Heritage spokesperson denied that accusation. (We were unable to independently corroborate The Washington Post's reporting due to its anonymous sourcing and our unsuccessful attempts to interview members of The Heritage Foundation.)

While many of Project 2025's proposals simply need the president's executive order to become reality, others would need Congressional approval, even as the Project seeks to expand presidential authority. In other words, lawmakers would need to write and approve legislation that details the changes to the government's existing structure, or establishes new systems. Come November, voters will choose who will fill  435 seats in the Republican-led House and 34 positions  in the Senate.

Key Points of The Roughly 1,000-Page Document

Speaking to Politico , Russell Vought, who served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump and is now a leading adviser for Project 2025, once described the effort as "more systematic than it is just about Trump," adding, "We have to be thinking mechanically about how to take these institutions over" in reference to federal departments.

Project 2025's document lays out in great detail how supporters want to do that. As of early June 2024, about 855,000 people had downloaded the document, The New York Times reported . 

Among its numerous recommendations, it calls for the following (in no particular order):

  • Changing how the FBI operates. According to the plan, the agency is "completely out of control," and the next conservative administration should restore its reputation by stopping investigations that are supposedly "unlawful or contrary to the national interest." Also, the document calls for legislation that would eliminate term limits for the FBI's director and require that person to answer to the president. 
  • Eliminating the Department of Education. The plan explicitly proposes, "Federal education policy should be limited and, ultimately, the federal Department of Education should be eliminated." The report also calls for bans on so-called " critical race theory" (CRT) and "gender ideology" lessons in public schools, asking for legislation that would require educators who share such material to register as sex offenders and be imprisoned. 
  • Defunding the Department of Justice. Additionally, the document proposes prosecuting federal election-related charges as criminal, not civil, cases. Otherwise, the document says, "[Voter] registration fraud and unlawful ballot correction will remain federal election offenses that are never appropriately investigated and prosecuted." 
  • Reversing Biden-era policies attempting to reduce climate change. The document's authors call for increasing the country's reliance on fossil fuels and withdrawing from efforts to address the climate crisis — such as "offices, programs, and directives designed to advance the Paris Climate Agreement ." 
  • Stopping cybersecurity efforts to combat mis- and disinformation. The document recommends the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to stop its efforts to curtail online propaganda campaigns, arguing the federal government should not make judgment calls on what's true and what isn't.
  • Changing immigration policies. Authors want the federal government to deprioritize DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program that temporarily delays the deportation of immigrants without documentation who came to the U.S. as children; phase out temporary work-visa programs that allow seasonal employers to hire foreign workers; impose financial punishments on so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not follow federal immigration laws, and divert tax dollars toward security at America's border with Mexico. (While the Biden campaign claims Project 2025 calls for "ripping mothers away from their children" at the border, there's no explicit mention of separating families. Rather, it calls for stronger enforcement of laws governing the detainment of immigrants with criminal records and restricting an existing program that tracks people in deportation proceedings instead of incarcerating them. In some cases, those changes could possibly play a role in border control agents detaining a parent while their child continues with immigration proceedings.)
  • Restricting access to abortion. The plan wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stop promoting abortion as health care. Additionally, Project 2025 recommends the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to stop promoting, and approving, requests for manufacturing abortion pills. "Alternative options to abortion, especially adoption, should receive federal and state support," the document states.
  • Removing LGBTQ+ protections. The plan calls for abolishing the Gender Policy Council , a Biden-created department within the White House that aims to "advance equity in government policy for those who face discrimination." Also, the proposal wants the federal government to remove terms such as "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from records and policies, as well as rescind policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, and sex characteristics."
  • Cutting ties completely with China. For instance, the document advocates for restricting people's access to TikTok because of its China-based parent company; prohibiting Confucius Institutes, cultural institutions at colleges and universities funded by the Chinese government, and blocking other Chinese entities from partnering with U.S. companies. 
  • Reversing protections against discrimination in housing. The Biden campaign emails reference a portion of the document that calls for repealing a decades-old policy—strengthened under Biden—that attempts to prevent discrimination and reduce racial disparities in housing. Project 2025 also recommends making it easier to sell off homes used for public housing — a benefit to real estate developers — but result in fewer cheap housing options for poor and low-income families. 

Here's a PDF of the full report :

(www.project2025.org)

Changing Federal Job Classifications 

To execute the above-listed objectives, the roughly 1,000-page document calls for a federal government operated by political appointees equipped to "carry out the President's desires." 

Put another way, Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, said in a July 2023 interview with The New York Times that Project 2025 leaders want to dismantle independent federal agencies that do not answer to the president. Then, they want to fill positions with people who subscribe to conservative politics — including jobs that are currently merit-based hires, not politically appointed.

Under the current system, the federal government's administrative sector is made up of two employee groups: political appointees and career civil servants. When a new administration takes over the Oval Office, it selects similarly minded people to fill high-ranking positions (political appointees), and those people leave the jobs when a new president takes over. According to the Brookings Institution , a public policy think tank, around 4,000 political appointees run the executive branch.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of positions that run day-to-day operations are hired through a merit-based system — that is, a hiring process that is designed to prioritize applicants' specialized expertise or experience , not their personal beliefs or affiliations. Those people are career civil servants. 

Project 2025 proposes turning up to 50,000 career civil servant jobs into politically appointed positions. 

To do that, Project 2025 wants the president to reissue Schedule F, a Trump-era executive order that Biden rescinded when he became president. Generally speaking, the order would recategorize career civil servants into at-will employees, giving higher-level workers the ability to terminate employment for any reason without warning and fill those jobs with new people.

Additionally, Project 2025 recommends revamping the existing appeals process for employee dismissals, arguing the current system prevents managers from firing or hiring the right employees. 

The plan also proposes a freeze on hiring top-career civil service positions at the beginning of the administration. By doing so, the plan argues, the new administration will prevent today's administration's leaders (later on "outgoing" political appointees) from "burrowing-in"— that is, hiring left-leaning career bureaucrats across federal agencies for the purpose of undermining the next president. 

Keeping Track of Potential Employees' Opinions

In addition to expanding government leaders' abilities to hire and fire at will, Project 2025 calls for a new federal database to gather information on potential new hires. The database contains people's answers to questions on social issues , such as abortion and immigration, allowing for department leaders to easily fill job vacancies with applicants who lean conservative.

"Our current executive branch was conceived of by liberals for the purpose of promulgating liberal policies," John  McEntee , who is leading Project 2025's personnel database project, told The New York Times in mid-2023, citing then-U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (who was a Democrat) 1930s New Deal as the last major reorientation of the government. "There is no way to make the existing structure function in a conservative manner. It's not enough to get the personnel right. What's necessary is a complete system overhaul." 

By submitting resumes and answering questionnaires , applicants sign up to be vetted by Project 2025 leaders. According to the questionnaire , participants answer whether they "agree" or "disagree" with statements such as, "Life has a right to legal protection from conception to natural death," and "The U.S. should increase legal immigration."

If the participants pass that screening, Project 2025 intends to recommend them to department leaders for hiring. (We are unable to determine what would happen with applicants' data if Trump does not win the 2024 election, or if his potential administration does not want to use it.)

Project 2025 leaders partnered with technology company Oracle to set up the system, according to The New York Times . Several thousand potential recruits had applied, as of April 2023. 

Former presidents have established similar systems, including Barack Obama, according to Kevin Kosar, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right public policy think tank. "They [The Obama administration] created a massive online jobs bank , where you could apply."

Also, during Obama's first term (January 2009 - January 2017), his administration required extensive vetting of applicants for high-ranking, politically appointed positions. Like Project 2025's program, that process included a questionnaire. That form asked participants to elaborate on past public statements, social media posts and potential conflicts of interests, as well as share things about their personal lives , like whether they own guns. (We found no evidence of the Obama administration circulating a similar questionnaire during his second term.)

Asked about that Obama-era questionnaire, a Biden aide said it was not comparable to Project 2025's system. The latter was a "loyalty test" to Trump, the aide said, while Obama's survey was more of a background check.

Trump Hasn't Publicly Endorsed Project 2025

Many former Trump administration members and current allies are working on the initiative. 

For example, the Center for Renewing America (CRA) — a think tank that formed in 2021 with ties to Trump through its founder, Russell Vought — is a "coalition partner." Vought was the director of the Office of Management and Budget when Trump was president. Should Project 2025 be a part of the next presidential administration, Vought will be in charge of implementing  its proposals, according to Politico. (In November 2023, The Washington Post reported he was in regular contact with Trump and could be a candidate for a high-ranking position in his potential future administration.) Also, Vought is policy director for the 2024 Republican National Convention's Platform Committee.

Reportedly , some people affiliated with Project 2025 are assisting Trump's reelection campaign behind the scenes.

what type of business plans are there

(The groups that conceptualized, or are currently pushing, Project 2025 include a number of former Trump administration members and current allies.)

However, in terms of public-facing actions, Trump hasn't officially connected himself to the initiative. In speeches at campaign rallies and interviews, he hasn't mentioned Project 2025, and, on July 5, 2024 , he attempted to publicly distance himself by posting on Truth Social (his social media site):

I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.

Trump's campaign is at the very least aware of the initiative. Campaign officials once told Politico Project 2025's goals to restructure government, which are outlined in a publicly available document , indeed align with Trump's campaign promises.

But in a November 2023 statement, the Trump campaign said: "The efforts by various non-profit groups are certainly appreciated and can be enormously helpful. However, none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign." Without naming Project 2025, they said all policy statements from "external allies" are just "recommendations."

Concurrently, in an interview with the conservative outlet The Daily Wire , a Project 2025 representative said the Trump campaign and Project are separate "for now."  McEntee , a former Trump staffer and leader of Project 2025's personnel database project, said : 

I think the candidate and the campaign need to keep their eye on the ball. They need to be totally focused on winning. We're totally focused on what happens after [...] Obviously, there will need to be coordination and the president and his team will announce an official transition this summer, and we're gonna integrate a lot of our work with them. 

That said, given overlap between Project 2025's proposals and the Trump campaign's agenda , political analysts and the Biden campaign believe the coalition's effort is a good indication of Trump's vision for a second term. Among the similarities are proposals to change how the administration fills tens of thousands of government jobs and overhaul  the DOJ. According to The Heritage Foundation's own reporting, Trump adopted and seriously considered about two-thirds of the organization's policy prescriptions in 2018, for example.

In an interview with Snopes, James Singer, a Biden campaign spokesperson, said:

Project 2025 is the extreme policy and personnel playbook for Trump's second term that should scare the hell out of any American voter. The Trump team's pathetic denials fall flat when Project 2025 staff and leadership are saying they are connected to the Trump team, leading the RNC policy platform and part of Trump's debate prep, campaign, and inner circle.

But the extent to which Project 2025 leaders and Trump campaign officials are communicating is unclear. According to Kosar, at the American Enterprise Institute, no one outside of the two circles knows how closely they're working together. "[What] is the level of coordination? We have no idea." 

From the view of Cecilia Esterline, an immigration research analyst at the Niskanen Center, a think tank  with libertarian-right roots, Project 2025 is a good indicator of Trump's plans for a potential second term. "Given the people involved putting their names on this and the author portions of this report, and the success of [past] implementation, it's a good indicator of where Trump is at."

The Forces Behind Project 2025

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts launched Project 2025 in April 2022, a few months before Trump officially announced his reelection campaign.

Since then, the number of groups backing the initiative has grown. As of now, Project 2025's advisory board and so-called "coalition partners" include: the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a nonprofit that aims to connect conservative applicants to congressional jobs and is led by Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows; Turning Point USA, a far-right student advocacy group that is led by Charlie Kirk; America First Legal , a legal advocacy group that supports conservative-backed lawsuits and is led by Trump stalwart Stephen Miller. (According to a June 2024 Politico report, Miller was part of private meetings with Trump to help him prepare for upcoming televised debates against Biden.) 

Furthermore, in May 2024, Reuters interviewed what the news outlet described as unnamed Trump allies working on a plan to restructure the Department of Justice (DOJ) and fill currently nonpartisan jobs there with people who identify as conservatives. While the allies group wasn't named, Reuters reported it was tied to Project 2025. 

Lastly, many authors of the roughly 1,000-page document outlining Project 2025's policy proposals have connections to Trump. They include Ben Carson , William Perry Pendley , Jonathan Berry , Diana Furchtgott-Roth , Rick Dearborn , Adam Candeub , Ken Cuccinelli , Mandy Gunasekara , Dennis Dean Kirk , Gene Hamilton , Christopher Miller , Bernard L. McNamee , Mora Namdar , Peter Navarro , Roger Severino , Paul Dans , Kevin Roberts , among others. 

These Types of Pre-Election Efforts Aren't Uncommon

In the months or years before U.S. presidential elections, it's routine for nonprofit research groups to prepare plans for a potential presidential transition, according to Landon Storrs, a political history professor at the University of Iowa. 

And, according to Kosar, numerous think tanks want Trump's ear as he plans his potential return to the White House. "Whenever there is a new executive coming into the White House, [many] groups are trying to get in there."

According to the Heritage Foundation's website , the organization mostly operates on individual donations and does not take money from the government. However, how exactly it divvies up its money for Project 2025 was unclear. The New York Times reported Project 2025 was a $22 million operation.

Project 2025 authors built their proposals on an idea popular during former President Ronald Reagan's time: the "unitary executive theory." That's the belief that Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives the president complete power over the federal bureaucracy and all levels of government report to him. 

In 1980, the Heritage Foundation developed similar policy prescriptions for Reagan, who was a presidential candidate at the time. Some of the organization's recommendations aligned with Reagan's campaign promises , and, when he later assumed office, he put the ideas to action. Heritage once described its effort as putting "the conservative movement and Reagan on the same page."

However, according to Politico , the present-day initiative by the Heritage Foundation was more "ambitious" than any other such proposal. The New York Times  said Project 2025 was operating at "a scale never attempted before in conservative politics." Its efforts are a contrast to the 1930s Democrat-led New Deal under then-U.S. President Roosevelt, which gave the federal government an unprecedented role in social and economic affairs on the belief that it would get the country out of the Great Depression.

Critics' Logistical Concerns, Worries

If some of Project 2025's ideas turn into formal policy recommendations or laws, experts in government and history have concerns over how they could be implemented. Such drastic changes would come with big logistical hurdles and have a ripple effect on agencies overseeing day-to-day governance, several such experts said. 

For example, Project 2025's proposal to reclassify tens of thousands of federal workers' positions — that is, change career bureaucrats into jobs that can be politically appointed — would have widespread effects, according to Storrs, of the University of Iowa. She said:

When [Project 2025's] intention is to install officials based on their loyalty to the president rather than on their qualifications, [the result] is even more damaging to effective administration. [...] The President already has authority over who heads the agencies. But below them, people are simply trying to collect taxes, get social security checks out — there is a lot that shouldn't be disrupted.

Kosar, of the American Enterprise Institute, expressed concern over skills required for jobs that aren't currently appointed. "These positions have a serious degree of expertise attached. You can't just plug in a private sector businessman into the department of transportation. It's going to be a challenge to match the people and the competencies and the expertise." 

Esterline, the Niskanen Center analyst, said with presidential administrations changing every four to eight years, government agencies rely on the expertise of continually employed civil servants — employees with institutional knowledge — to make the transitions as smooth as possible. "[If] we suddenly disrupt that balance of political appointees to civil servants, it will be a much rougher transition." 

Among other aspects of Project 2025, Esterline is attempting to raise the alarm on its prescriptions for specific regulatory changes. "[Project 2025] is a meticulous outline of how they will crumple the system simultaneously through minute changes."

Meanwhile, some former government officials are particularly concerned about the initiative's plans for the DOJ and FBI. For instance, in an interview for The Guardian , Michael Bromwich, a former DOJ inspector general, said the proposals to turn the departments into "instruments" to fulfill Trump's political agenda "should send shivers down the spine of anyone who cares about the rule of law."

Overall, critics including legal experts and former government employees have zeroed in on Project 2025's goal to give the executive branch more power, describing it as a precursor to authoritarianism.

However, the initiative's push to increase executive power may be part of a deeper trend in American politics, Peter Strauss, a professor at Columbia Law School, said in a  lecture  on Faculti, a research video platform. He said momentum to increase executive authority has been steadily increasing over many presidential administrations: 

We have seen in the United States a steadily expanding presidential claim of authority to control not only tenure but also ordinary acts of government. This has been happening at least since the presidency of Ronald Reagan and it reached a peak with President Trump and his first term, and he's promised that he's going back there. 

Our Reporting

For this report, we repeatedly tried to interview representatives of the Heritage Foundation — the conservative think tank that conceptualized Project 2025 — as well as the Trump campaign and other supporters of the effort. All either declined to be interviewed or did not respond to our inquiries. 

For example, we reached out to dozens of groups on Project 2025's advisory board — a collection of groups under the Heritage Foundation's oversight that have co-signed the effort, given feedback on its proposals or promoted it to government officials. The groups include Center for Renewing America , Turning Point USA , The American Conservative , and  American Cornerstone Institute . We asked the organizations about the nature of their involvement in the initiative, proposals they support, and more. As of this writing, none has responded.

After we initially reached out to the Heritage Foundation for this story, a spokesperson responded asking for more specifics on our reporting. We responded with key points, including requests to comment on project leaders' communication with former U.S. President Donald Trump, concerns from legal experts about the initiative's proposed changes and general criticism. The Heritage Foundation did not respond to that message. Later, after informing the organization of our writing deadline, a spokesperson said no one was available.

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Stone, Peter. "'Openly Authoritarian Campaign': Trump's Threats of Revenge Fuel Alarm." The Guardian, 22 Nov. 2023. The Guardian, Nov. 22, 2023. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/nov/22/trump-revenge-game-plan-alarm. Accessed 21 June 2024.

Storrs, Landon. Phone Interview.

Stracqualursi, Veronica and Gabby Orr, Kristen Holmes. "Former President Donald Trump Announces a White House Bid for 2024." CNN, 16 Nov. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/15/politics/trump-2024-presidential-bid/index.html. Accessed 21 June 2024.

Swan, Jonathan, et al. "Trump and Allies Forge Plans to Increase Presidential Power in 2025." The New York Times, 17 July 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/17/us/politics/trump-plans-2025.html. Accessed 21 June 2024.

Swan, Jonathan, and Maggie Haberman. "Heritage Foundation Makes Plans to Staff Next G.O.P. Administration." The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/20/us/politics/republican-president-2024-heritage-foundation.html. Accessed 21 June 2024.

"The 2024 Executive Power Survey – Unitary Executive." The New York Times, 15 Sept. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/us/politics/unitary-executive-executive-power.html. Accessed 21 June 2024.

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"TikTok Content Creators Sue the US Government over Law That Could Ban the Popular Platform." AP News, 14 May 2024, https://apnews.com/article/tiktok-creators-sue-ban-bytedance-3324b0fee4473f6e05c5c51ae5ff6946. Accessed 21 June 2024.

"Tracking the Criminal and Civil Cases against Donald Trump." Associated Press, 17 Nov. 2023, https://apnews.com/projects/trump-investigations-civil-criminal-tracker. Accessed 20 June 2024.

"Trump Administration Embraces Heritage Foundation Policy Recommendations." The Heritage Foundation, https://www.heritage.org/impact/trump-administration-embraces-heritage-foundation-policy-recommendations. Accessed 20 June 2024.

Trump Wants to Be America's Landlord | The Nation. 14 June 2024, https://web.archive.org/web/20240614115404/https://www.thenation.com/article/society/housing-policy-hud-section-8-real-estate/. Accessed 20 June 2024.

Under a Second Trump Term, the DHS Will Be Even Harsher Than Before | The Nation. 5 June 2024, https://web.archive.org/web/20240605003444/https://www.thenation.com/article/society/project-2025-dhs-immigration/. Accessed 20 June 2024.

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July 5, 2024: This post was updated to include Trump's July 5, 2024, post on Truth Social.

By Nur Ibrahim

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

By Aleksandra Wrona

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.

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  1. 7 Types of Business Plans Explained

    Now let's look at the common business plan types you can choose from. Traditional business plan. The traditional (or standard) business plan is an in-depth document covering every aspect of your business. ... There are seven common types of business plans, including: traditional, one-page, lean, growth, internal, 5-year, and nonprofit plans ...

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    There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let's explore the main types: Startup Business Plan: Tailored for new ventures, a startup business plan outlines the company's mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It helps entrepreneurs ...

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    Business Plan: A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business, usually a new one, is going to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written plan from a ...

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    Different types of business plans. A business plan isn't a one-size-fits-all document. There are numerous ways to create an effective business plan that fits entrepreneurs' or established business owners' needs. Here are a few of the most common types of business plans for small businesses:

  11. 5 Types of Business Plans for Startups

    One hundred businesses will be honored and one business will be awarded $25,000. Apply Now! Published April 26, 2021. There are five main types of business plans that startups can use — including standard, "what-if" and one-page plans. Find out which one might work best for your business.

  12. Write your business plan

    A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You'll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It's a way to think through the key elements of your business. Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners.

  13. Types of Business Plans That Make the Difference

    The traditional business plan is perhaps the most familiar and comprehensive type of business plan. It serves as a comprehensive blueprint for your venture, outlining your business concept, market opportunity, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, operations plan, financial projections, and more.

  14. Business Plan: What It Is + How to Write One

    Let's define two main types of business plans, the traditional business plan and the lean start-up business plan. Both types can serve as the basis for developing a thriving business, as well as exploring a competitive market analysis, brand strategy, and content strategy in more depth. There are some significant differences to keep in mind ...

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    Let's understand 7 different types of business plans based on different purposes. 1. One-page business plan. One-page business plans offer a snapshot of your entire business idea in one page. Such plans follow the same structure as traditional plans, however, they are much more concise and crisp.

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    Business plans can be divided roughly into four distinct types. There are very short plans, or miniplans, presentation plans or decks, working plans, and what-if plans. They each require very ...

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    Related: The Main Objective Of A Business Plan. Business plans can be divided roughly into four distinct types: Mini-plans, presentation plans or decks, working plans, and what-if plans. Each plan ...

  18. 6 Types of Business Plans

    Writer Bio. There are a few types of business plans you might create, depending on your business goals. These include, but are not limited to, start-up plans, internal plans, strategic plans ...

  19. How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide

    Although a typical business plan falls between 15 to 30 pages, some companies opt for the much shorter One-Page Business Plan. A one-page business plan is a simplified version of the larger business plan, and it focuses on the problem your product or service is solving, the solution (your product), and your business model (how you'll make money).

  20. The 8 Types of Business Plans Explained

    You can write a standard, lean, one-page, startup, strategic, feasibility, operational, or growth business plan depending on your needs. Here's an explanation for each: 1. Standard Business Plan. A standard business plan gives a detailed description of the operations of a business so stakeholders can understand the business well.

  21. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans. The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. ... This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of ...

  22. How To Write a Business Plan (With 5 Types and Example)

    Types of business plans There are several types of business plans, each depending on the nature of your employer's company and the purpose of business planning. The most often used plans include: 1. Startup business plans Most new businesses require a well-thought-out plan to help define their purposes and potentially attract investors.

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  24. 4 Types of Planning in Management

    The four types of planning in management work together like building blocks: Strategic Planning: It's a big dream, setting long-term goals. Top leaders create the vision. Tactical Planning: Think of it as the game plan. Middle managers break down big goals into short-term actions. Operational Planning: This is the daily to-do list.

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    Here's a business plan example of a competitor analysis for a new plumbing company planning to launch in the Epsom area of Surrey. Step 4: Complete a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is a very important part of your business plan, because it helps you drill down into your idea.

  26. Writing an Effective One-Page Business Plan: What You Need ...

    A one-page business plan is essentially a condensed version of a full business plan. It covers all the core information about your business without overwhelming the reader with details. The goal is to summarize your business plan for yourself and potential stakeholders so they can understand your business at a glance.

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    With 24 monthly bill credits when you add a line on a qualifying plan. $35 device connection charge due at sale. During congestion, heavy data users (>50GB/mo. for most plans) and customers choosing lower-prioritized plans may notice lower speeds than other customers; see plan for details. Video typically streams on smartphone/tablet in SD quality.

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