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What Are the Different Types of Business Plans?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different business concepts percolating in the minds of both aspiring and proven entrepreneurs. Effectively shaping and expanding these visions into a document that attains required funding can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are several different types of business plans to make this happen. Choosing the right type of business plan is crucial to attaining the seed money for your business.

A start-up business plan, for instance, is ideal for entrepreneurs who are just starting out in the business world. The start-up business plan includes sections such as: executive summary, company summary, product and service description, market analysis summary (including competitive and industry analysis) strategy and implementation summary, and an appendix with detailed financial tables. The focus of a start-up plan is to effectively introduce your concept to a loan officer and/or investor, displaying the strength of your concept, the analysis of your competition, and the experience of your management team.

Another common type of business plan focuses on an existing business' expansion. Entrepreneurs use expansion plans when they have experienced success in their respective industries and require further financing for a specific purpose (i.e. adding a new product or service or growing beyond one or two locations). Expansion plans rely heavily on descriptions of the management team. These descriptions help convince investors and loan officers on the efficacy of expansion. Detailed past performance charts and tables are also critical to expansion-level business plans.

An internal plan is a type of business plan distributed only to members or principals of a company. It is not as crucial, therefore, to include information entrepreneurs know intimately, such as a management summary, detailed descriptions of products and services, or the company's history. Internal business plans are often used as motivational tools for staff and help define strategic goals for the company's future.

A feasibility plan is at the other end of the spectrum. Feasibility plans combine elements of the start-up plan and the internal plan. They are useful for telling an entrepreneur whether s/he should go ahead with his or her business concept. The feasibility plan is often "bare bones," often summarizing the key aspects of the plan, concept, and financial projections.

No matter which type of business plan you choose, there is definitely one tailor-made for your concept.

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