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The three types of business plans for most industries

Business plans are a crucial component in the success of any business, but different industries require different models. When deciding upon which plan is best for your company, you should consider what type of industry you’re in and your goals.

You should also understand that business plans can go by different names. Some have different names but are essentially the same thing, while others genuinely are different in terms of content. You might see operational plans, Lean plans, Strategic plans, internal plans, and more.

The truth is that the kind of business plan you should put together depends on the situation. Form follows function. The best business plans match the use for which they are intended. In the article below, we’ll list three different business plan models used by many companies today.

Man working on a business plan
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Three types of business plans

The following is a list of business plans used commonly in most industries today.

Startup plan

According to the Startup Genome Report, most startups fail. In many instances, that failure is due to a lack of market understanding, no clear vision, and little planning. A startup business plan is intended to provide a roadmap that can help entrepreneurs steer clear of the mistakes that lead to failure.

For example, a startup plan focuses on funding, market size analysis, team building strategy, or product development strategy. Indeed, these are all critical aspects for success when starting a business.

Additionally, a startup plan usually operates as the very first plan an entrepreneur develops to give to investors in order to gain funding and to show how the business intends to grow. If you’re just starting out, your plan should include the following elements and structure:

  • Executive summary
  • Overview of the company
  • Management background
  • What service or product the company provides
  • Value proposition
  • Strategic marketing plan
  • Market evaluations
  • Projected startup costs
  • Cash flow projections and income and profit expectations

Inside the financial section, you should also explain your exit strategy and how you plan to use any money that you raise from investors.

Strategic plan

In general, you’ll use a strategic business plan for internal purposes only. It’s not a document that you’ll be showing to investors or anyone outside of your company. You’ll need to create a document that acts as a foundational plan for your whole organization in this plan.

Standard practices when creating this type of plan include assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your company. Therefore, using a SWOT analysis when putting the plan together is a smart move. SWOT is an acronym. It stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It gives you and executives in your company a broad awareness of various factors that could impact your business.

Typically, a strategic plan will also include an outline with defined milestones and a path leading to specific company goals. There should also be a deadline to reach those goals. Remember that a strategic plan is different from just a business plan at the end of the day. A strategic business plan will focus on your company’s ultimate goals and how you’re going to get there.

Your strategic business plan ought to include the following elements and structure:

  • Company mission statement
  • Company vision
  • Key factors for company success
  • Strategies to meet goals
  • Implementation deadline

Operations plan

This is a different type of business plan, but it’s still essential. An operations plan will outline the day-to-day resources and activities that are needed to run your company efficiently. It should take into account what needs to be done and when.

It can also help you anticipate any problems that may arise by anticipating common issues before they happen. This way, you’ll have time to come up with solutions or get in contact with someone who can help if anything goes wrong. You’ll want an operations plan so you’re prepared for things like slow periods where product orders might not meet expectations, or to know how many products need different types of maintenance during different times of the year because temperature changes affect them differently (think winter coats).

Your operations plan should include the following elements and structure:

  • Organization objectives
  • Activities required to complete objectives
  • Resources needed for activities
  • Staffing requirements
  • Implementation deadlines
  • Progress tracking processes

Pen on pad

Wrapping up

The different types of business plans are how companies present their long-term vision, management strategy, and goals for the future. The type of plan you put together is dependent on your industry – but as we’ve discussed, there are always a few core elements to all typical business plan models. These include an organization’s objectives, activities required to complete these objectives; resources needed for those activities; staff requirements (including skillsets); implementation deadlines & progress tracking processes.

Hopefully, this article has provided some new insight into how different business plans are used to produce and guide successful businesses.

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Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
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