Once you have written the complete business plan, you are positioned to create special-purpose versions of the plan to meet the needs of a wide variety of people important to your business. Usually these special-purpose plans use a subset of the total plan. In addition to the full business plan described above, there are five other special-purpose types of Business plan.
If you intend to send your plan to professional funding sources such as private banks, investment clubs, or venture capital firms, it is common to send what is called a mini-plan or a screening plan.
The idea is to give the basic overview of the firm and a detailed look at the financial section. This is because funding sources typically start their decision process with clear ideas about the industry and the profit levels they want to pursue. Screening plans usually consist of the cover letter, title page, executive summary, and financial sections of the business plan.
The only time any appendixes would be included is when it is important to prove the viability of contracts, intellectual property protection, or the product's ability to be manufactured. A screening plan can also be a useful way to get into the planning process. Michael McMyne won one of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards for his consulting business. When he started, all he used was his executive summary and the financials
You may find that the business plan has a lot of information you would like to share with potential customers or suppliers, but you do not want them to see your financials. One variant of the traditional business plan is called the informational plan.
Informational plans typically consist of company and organization sections. The cover letter, title page, executive summary, and table of contents are typically revised to reflect the differences. Relevant appendixes might also be included, such as detailed product descriptions or price lists.
A special form of informational plan posted on the Internet is the proof-of-concept Web site. This kind of site is designed to solicit information on customer interest. They are particularly useful for demonstrating a technology or service that is new or novel or to reach a market that is very widely spread out, making conventional promotional techniques too expensive.
The goal is to inform customers and partners about the firm and the product, so proof-of-concept Web sites consist of the vision and mission statements, the product/service description, and often an animated or interactive demonstration of the product or service.
Short biographies of the key personnel replace resumes, and the site may also have price or product lists or testimonials. The site itself tracks information about the viewers. Visitors are asked for feedback on the concept and are offered the chance to be kept up- to date as the product nears the market.
In seeking a marketing or joint venture partner or a key employee, you need to provide more of an idea about your market and approach to it. In the early stages of finding a partner, however, it is usually too soon to share your detailed financial information.
As a result, a key employee/partner plan (also called a summary plan, concept plan, or idea plan) can be drawn up to include all the materials of an informational plan, plus the market section and critical risks subsection of the regular business plan.
An invention plan focuses on the market and operationalization of a new invention. Inventions are typically licensed to others, so the organization section simply describes the inventor and any business the inventor runs, to provide background.
The product or service being invented is given a very detailed description, with diagrams or pictures to help the licensee understand it. While the plan helps to explain the market and competition to the prospective licensee, the marketing strategy is not typically included.
Legal issues tend to focus on intellectual property protection (e.g., patents, trademarks, etc.) instead of on the legal form of organization, and the financials are limited to the prospective deal and risks, since the invention does not come with a firm that creates sales.
There is only one type of plan that actually adds material to a full business plan. Operational plans are designed to be used as working documents within a business. So in addition to all the material typically included in a full business plan, an operational plan includes detailed specifications of the major techniques, methods, recipes, formula, and sources used by the firm to do its work.
It is important to keep the specifics of your business and your readers in mind. If sections of the business plan seem inappropriate for your type of business or for the specific readers who will see the plan, it makes sense to leave them out. The business plan is first and foremost a sales document, and tailoring the plan's "pitch" to the specifics of your business and the readership is always a smart move.