A business plan for a project requiring equity 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 management, supply chain management, operations management, and marketing, among others. a good business plan can help to make a good business credible, understandable, and attractive to someone who is unfamiliar with the business.
This situation is complicated by the fact that many venture capitalists will refuse to sign an NDA before looking at a business plan, lest it put them in the untenable position of looking at two independently developed look-alike business plans, both claiming originality.
In such situations, one may need to develop two versions of the business plan: a stripped-down plan that can be used to develop a relationship and a detailed plan that is only shown when investors have sufficient interest and trust to sign a Non-disclosure agreement.
With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers, for government agencies, external stakeholders are the tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, various economic agencies of the United Nations, and development banks.
Internally-focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals.Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with third parties, non-compete agreements, conflicts of interest, privacy concerns, and the protection of one's trade secrets may severely limit the audience to which one might show the business plan.Alternatively, they may require each party receiving the business plan to sign a contract accepting special clauses and conditions.An internal operational plan is a detailed plan describing planning details that are needed by management but may not be of interest to external stakeholders.Such plans have a somewhat higher degree of candor and informality than the version targeted at external stakeholders and others.An externally targeted business plan should list all legal concerns and financial liabilities that might negatively affect investors.Depending on the amount of funds being raised and the audience to whom the plan is presented, failure to do this may have severe legal consequences.Typical structure for a business plan for a start up venture Cost and revenue estimates are central to any business plan for deciding the viability of the planned venture.But costs are often underestimated and revenues overestimated resulting in later cost overruns, revenue shortfalls, and possibly non-viability.Operational plans describe the goals of an internal organization, working group or department. The content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience.For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization's mission.