The Right Business Plan

Before you start writing a business plan, consider for whom you’re writing it. A business plan written to secure a line of credit will be at least 20 pages long, but a business plan for yourself will look much different.

Your Outcome: You communicate in the best possible way to the person reading your plan

Topic Objective: To learn about business plan formats and choose the right one for you.

Business Plan Audiences to Consider

1. A Bank or Credit Union

Length of Plan: 20-40 pages

Purpose of Plan:
To secure a:

– Line of credit
– Bank loan

Focus of Plan:
Proof that you:

– Came up with a great idea!
– Have security
– Have equity and investment in the idea
– Are the best person to execute your idea

2. Venture Capitalist or Angel Investor

Length of Plan: 20-50 slide deck
Purpose of Plan:
– Getting prospect to invest
– Leveraging the prospect’s contacts and experience

Focus of Plan:
Proof That:

– You have a great idea!
– Your product or service is marketable
– Your business has a sustainable competitive advantage
– You’re the best person to execute your idea

3. Potential Partner or Customer or Supplier

Length of Plan: 5-10 pages

Purpose of Plan:
– Securing a contract
– Establishing a relationship of trust

Focus of Plan:
Proof That:

– You have a great idea!
– Implementation is feasible
– There’s financial benefit for both parties
– You’ re the best person to execute your idea

4. Employees or a Partner

Length of Plan: 1 page

Purpose of Plan:
– Creating a direction for the team
– Team motivation and engagement

Focus of Plan:
Demonstration of…

– Big picture and rationale
– High level financials to show personal benefit for reader
– Your high level of motivation!

5. Yourself!

Length of Plan: 5 pages or less

Purpose of Plan:
– For use in strategic planning process
– To test your assumptions
– To create direction for yourself

Focus of Plan:
Demonstrate that…

– The outlined pieces of the idea work together
– You’ve double-checked the details and overlooked nothing.
– You’ve got realistic financial projections
– You’re self-motivated


Cartoon. Black businesswoman jumps happily. She wears blue pants, a white blouse, and a green jacket and shoes. Keyword: business plan

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