Hi! I work with entrepreneurs who are exploring opportunities and launching and I lecture in Entrepreneurship on the side.
The answer to your question is it depends on the purpose of your business plan and who the audience is.
If it's for yourself to help you plan the business, then a good place to start is a business model canvas which quickly captures your ideas and shows you areas you need to focus on.
If you are planning on going to a bank for funding, you will need the traditional 20 - 40 page business plan. Some investors will want similar, some won't.
You would produce different documents to get key partners or suppliers on board.
If the planning and opportunity evaluation process is new to you, you will save a lot of time and money by getting someone on board who can guide you through this process. I'm happy to jump on a call with you to help you with this.
I've been helping to create business plans for years for start-up, expansion and acquisition financing.
The document doesn't need to be long, it just needs to answer the pertinent questions:
1. What will the business do?
2. Who will the business serve?
3. Are there enough of these prospects?
4. What does the sales cycle look like?
5. Based on this sales cycle, what are the projected financials?
6. Why are you the person to execute this?
7. What could go wrong?
Most importantly, a business plan should not be a document created to entice a lender to give you money. It should demonstrate to you that the idea is viable.
I've worked on many plans which ultimately proved that the subject business either wouldn't work, or was likely to return too little profit for the investment and perceived level of risk.
Creating a plan that makes you back away is more valuable than gold since it will not only save you lots of money but, potentially, years of your life.
Cheers and let's connect if you'd like to discuss your specific project.
David C Barnett
While clearly a Business Plan and a Proposal are different animals with different functions and purposes, there are some core considerations that apply to each. First: know your audience. Understanding who you are speaking to and what they hope to gain from the document will help you position it effectively and persuasively. Second: do your homework. Either document type needs to be based upon facts that track to the current state and influences of the market. Finally, take time to create a professional presentation, and BRAND it with your Identity elements. Show your audience that you recognize the value of a professional presentation, since that will impact their decision about whether or not to do business with you.
Since it sounds like you will be using your Business Plan to secure Investor interest for funding (in addition to using it as an internal roadmap), be sure to seek out fresh eyes and expertise to guide you about both the contents and positioning. I have been creating Business Plans with and for clients for 25 years (15 via my own firm) and know the kind of language Investor Candidates expect. You can save yourself tremendous rework and frustration by enlisting guidance from a seasoned Coach.
Wishing you great success! Via my profile, you can find a link to an instantly downloadable eBook that will provide proven tips & tools. Feel free to request a call as well...