Business plans may share common objectives, like raising money, but they differ in their style of writing, presentation and emphasis.
The four major categories of business plans are: working plans, presentation plans, mini plans and electronic plans.
Some entrepreneurs or CEOs go in for elaborate plans but these are not always welcome. The investors are busy people and are more interested in the viability of a business idea than in the way the idea will be executed.
That is why a working plan is most useful. It can be direct and informal and include key details. If it is meant only for internal use, it can leave out those facts and figures that need not be shared with all employees.
However, all facts and figures need to be checked for consistency and accuracy. There should be no mistakes or typographical errors that may cause unnecessary embarrassment.
A presentation plan has all the information that is used in a working plan, but its style of writing is different. As the name suggests, it is written to be presented, not read.
In fact, it is meant to serve as an introduction of your business for people who are not familiar with it.
The plan gives them a quick idea of your business concept, marketing strategy and financial viability.
It also informs the target audience of the market conditions, competition, and growth prospects.
A presentation plan needs to be printed and bound in an attractive way. It needs to have a lot of color and plenty of illustrations, charts, graphs and tables.
It should be accurate, since any mistake will be considered a misrepresentation. No lender or investor likes to be presented with wrong figures even if they happen to be genuine errors.
A mini business plan is short and may run across one to ten pages. It mentions all the key matters, relating to the business.
It can include the business concept, marketing plan, financing needs and the financial statement. The income projection, cash flow and balance sheet also forms a part of it.
A mini business plan can be used as an introduction to a comprehensive business plan and not as a substitute for it.
If you send a mini business plan to an investor who is seeking detailed knowledge about your business, it may have a negative effect.
You can have an electronic version of your business plan that you can mail electronically. You can also use it with a computer-driven LCD projector for making presentations. Most business plans are prepared on a computer and then printed.
When mailing an electronic plan you must make sure that you don’t use a fancy font that may not be available in the end-users system.
It is also important to mail it as an attachment so that the formatting and lay-out is not disturbed.