Every business needs a business plan. It’s a document that describes the future of your business and describes what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. But it’s easy to confuse a business plan and a business model. In this article, we’ll explain what a business plan is, why you need it, and compare business model vs business plan to help you understand the difference.


Business Plan: Who Needs one and Why 

A business plan is an essential part of every successful business and companies without a solid plan typically burn out fast or fail to become profitable in the long run. There are many different types of business plan, including but not limited to strategic plans, operational plans, internal plans, Lean plans, and many others. Today, plans don’t need to be 20 to 50 pages long as prescribed by classic sources. For example, you can create a concise mini business plan on 2 pages with the action items you need to take to grow your business.

But if you're looking for funding to start a new business, or expand an existing one, you'll need to create a comprehensive business plan to attract investors. Traditional business plans should include a combination of the following elements:
  • Executive summary. Briefly tell what your company is and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, information about your product or service, leadership team, employees, and location.
  • Business description. Provide detailed information about your company and the problems your business solves. Explain your competitive advantage.
  • Market analysis. Evaluate your target market, target audience, market trends, and competition.
  • Organization and management. Explain your business and management structure.
  • Service or product line. Tell about products or services you are offering.
  • Marketing and sales. Describe your marketing strategies to attract and retain customers and sales strategies
  • Financial analysis. Include forecasted expenditures, income, cash flow, etc. If your business is already established, include income statements, balance sheets etc.
  • Funding request. Outline your funding requirements and specify whether you want debt or equity. Clearly explain how much you’ll need and how you’ll use your funds.

Business Plan Examples 

Writing a business plan can be a very daunting process. Especially, if you have never done it before. Looking at good business plan examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional business plan looks like and which elements you should include in your own one. But if you want to get the most out of a business plan sample, you should look for example business plan that is related to the type of business you are starting. Keep in mind that every startup and business is unique so you should avoid copying a sample plan word for word.

You should also keep in mind the size of your business. If you are looking to start a simple product or service business, you don’t need a long business plans with many pages. One page business plan will do. So you should look for a quick and easy one page business plan template that can help you get started. For example, if you want to start a small business and sell products, you should opt for a  one page business plan sample for product business. You can start with a one-page plan and enlarge it with additional details as your business grows and evolves.

How To Create your Business Plan without Excel


by: Eckhard Ortwein, CEO and Founder of Lean-Case 

Business Model vs Business Plan

Business plan and business model are 2 completely different concepts.

  • Business model describes business logic and supports it with meaningful metrics. It’s the mechanism through which a company generates profit. You can describe a business model using a simple verbal description or in a form of one page visual representation.
  • A business plan is the document that presents a company’s strategy, market, product, team, and expected financial performance for years to come. It takes the focus of a business model and builds upon it. When you write a business plan, you describe a business opportunity that you are trying to take advantage of.

In other words, a business model is a framework that helps understand the way a company works and a business plan is a document that helps understand the future strategy of a company and its expected performance in a timeframe of several years.

If you elaborate your business model and add in-depth financial analysis into it, you will get a financial model (how it usually called in the US) or a business case (the term frequently used in the EU).

Business plan is a fundamental and living document that evolves with time. You need to maintain its accuracy and keep it up to date. One of the aspects of the business plan reliability is the financial data you ground it on. You will benefit from using Lean Case, a platform that simplifies the creation of business models, helps with financial data analysis and eases the presentation to the investors.

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