Business plans may be internally or externally focused. Externally focused plans target goals that are important to external�stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. They typically have detailed information about the organization or team attempting to reach the goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include�investors�andcustomers.�External stake-holders of non-profits include�donors�and the clients of the non-profit's services.�For government agencies, external stakeholders include tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the�International Monetary Fund, the�World Bank, various economic agencies of theUnited Nations, and�development banks.
Internally focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, the refurbishing of a factory or a restructuring of the organization. An internal business plan is often developed in conjunction with abalanced scorecard�or a list of�critical success factors. This allows success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures. Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called�strategic plans.
Operational plans�describe the goals of an internal organization, working group or department.�Project plans, sometimes known as project frameworks, describe the goals of a particular project. They may also address the project's place within the organization's larger strategic goals.
For more details on this topic, see�Content of a business plan.
Business plans are decision-making tools. There is no fixed content for a business plan. Rather, the content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience. A business plan represents all aspects of business planning process declaring vision and strategy alongside sub-plans to cover marketing, finance, operations, human resources as well as a legal plan, when required. A business plan is a summary of those disciplinary plans.
For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization's mission.�Banks�are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a�bank loan�will build a convincing case for the organization's ability to repay the loan.�Venture capitalists�are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiringequity financing�will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and�sustainable competitive advantage�will lead to a high exit valuation.
Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines:�finance,�human resource management,�intellectual property...