In their book Write Your Business Plan, the staff of Entrepreneur Media offer an in-depth understanding of what’s essential to any business plan, what’s appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors describe four different types of plans you could write and what you'd use each one for.
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 different amounts of labor and not always with proportionately different results. That is to say, a more elaborate plan isn't 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 of your plan that might be important to a potential investor.
The miniplan 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 the longer version.