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  • business plan

a detailed plan setting out the objectives of a business, the strategy and tactics planned to achieve them, and the expected profits, usually over a period of three to ten years

Words Nearby business plan

  • businessman
  • businessman's holiday
  • business park
  • businesspeople
  • businessperson
  • business process re-engineering
  • business reply
  • business suit
  • business unionism
  • businesswoman

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

How to use business plan in a sentence

So Wilson had to innovate a new business plan —a $950 monthly lease, with 2,000 free copies.

It is about a play-to-the-base business plan , pure and simple.

Jawad told me they tried to create a business plan that might attract donations.

A game plan, like a business plan , changes with the times, and sometimes in the moment.

Did the sharks provide any tips or suggestions that changed your business plan ?

Our business plan is simple: we will hire the smartest people we can find and put them in small teams.

But he was sleepy (as Hollis said, Paul had a genius for sleep); besides, his mind was occupied by the new business plan .

They have a business-plan built around suing us for the next fifteen years, Sammy.

Sam said that he has a new business plan : a school of epilepsy, ten dollars for the complete course.

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Meaning of business plan in English

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  • make time idiom
  • set the agenda idiom
  • slot someone/something in
  • spread something over something
  • squeeze someone/something in

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a structure like a net of sticky silk threads made by a spider for catching insects

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10 Business Plan Words Every Manager Needs to Know By Heart If you're starting or running a business, you'll need to know this list of essential business planning words.

By Tim Berry • Jan 30, 2012

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

10 Business Plan Words Every Manager Needs to Know By Heart

So I've changed my mind -- again -- and come up with this list of essential business planning words every manager should know:

1. Business plan: An organized collection of milestones, tasks, assumptions and basic business numbers. It covers strategy and details what's supposed to happen when, who's in charge of what, how progress is measured, when money is to be spent and from where, and when money is expected to come in. It isn't a document; it's a plan. If it isn't reviewed and revised monthly, then it won't be very useful. So it has to be practical and just big enough to serve the business need.

Related: To Make Business Planning Less Daunting, Let's Call It Something Else 2. Business planning: Steering a company using a cyclical process. Plan, review and revise as necessary to optimize. Business planning is management.

3. Business strategy: A combination of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, target market, business offering and product-market fit. Focus is vital. Who isn't in your market and what you're not offering can be more useful information than who is and what you are offering. All of this can be expressed in bullets, slides, a few key paragraphs or any other way that keeps strategy and focus top of mind.

4. Business forecast: A simplified, manageable set of assumptions about future cash flow, including sales, cost of sales, expenses, assets, liabilities and capital. It isn't about predicting the future; it's about connecting the dots on assumptions and drivers in your monthly projections over the next year and your annual forecasts for the subsequent two years. It focuses on what drives the key components, expressed as money. Those drivers include factors like capacity, sales and marketing activities, management compensation, direct costs, and so forth. The goal is to lay out connections between key assumptions in projections spread month by month as expected amounts. For example, you would project how direct costs look as a percentage of sales. Usually the relationships are more important than the actual numbers. So, to follow the example, if your actual sales are higher than expected, you can tell from your forecast that direct costs also will be higher than expected. Companies with a good forecasting process rarely get through a month without some change in the forecast.

5. Strategic plan: A business plan that leaves out the nuts and bolts.

6. Operations plan: A business plan that leaves out the strategy.

7. Marketing plan: A business plan that leaves out the overall company financial strategy.

Related: The Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes

8. Annual plan: A business plan that leaves out plans for the second and third year.

9. Bank-ready business plan:

a. A document created as output from a business plan, formatted for easy reading and highlighting past financial performance and current financial position. Bankers look for payment history and assets backing the loan.

b. When used to describe a canned boilerplate document somebody is selling, as in turnkey or ready-made, it is just sleazy sales hype for a bad product. Buyer beware: A ready-made business plan is always a waste of money.

10. Investor-ready or funding-ready business plan:

a. A document or pitch created as output from a business plan, describing a business investors will be interested in based on the specifics of that business. The most common and essential highlights are management team, product-market fit, potential market, potential growth, defensibility (some hard-to-copy elements like technology or knowhow), scalability and potential return for investors. No matter how brilliant, beautiful or creative it might be, it isn't investor ready -- and never will be -- if it doesn't describe a business with real prospects for investors.

b. See 9b above.

Related: Three Financial Guesstimates Every Business Plan Needs

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What Is a Business?

Understanding a business, the bottom line, what is a business understanding different types and company sizes.

Read about types of businesses, how to start one, and how to get a business loan

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

what is business plan synonym

The term business refers to an organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities. The purpose of a business is to organize some sort of economic production of goods or services. Businesses can be for-profit entities or non-profit organizations fulfilling a charitable mission or furthering a social cause. Businesses range in scale and scope from sole proprietorships to large, international corporations.

The term business also refers to the efforts and activities undertaken by individuals to produce and sell goods and services for profit.

Key Takeaways

  • A business is defined as an organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities.
  • Businesses can be for-profit entities or non-profit organizations.
  • Business types range from limited liability companies to sole proprietorships, corporations, and partnerships.
  • Some businesses run as small operations in a single industry while others are large operations that spread across many industries around the world.
  • Apple and Walmart are two examples of well-known, successful businesses.

Alex Dos Diaz / Investopedia

The term business often refers to an entity that operates for commercial, industrial, or professional reasons. The concept begins with an idea and a name, and extensive market research may be required to determine how feasible it is to turn the idea into a business.

Businesses often require business plans before operations begin. A business plan is a formal document that outlines the company's goals and objectives and lists the strategies and plans to achieve these goals and objectives. Business plans are essential when you want to borrow capital to begin operations.

Determining the legal structure of the business is an important factor to consider, since business owners may need to secure permits and licenses and follow registration requirements to begin legal operations. Corporations are considered to be juridical persons in many countries, meaning that the business can own property, take on debt , and be sued in court.

A good name is often one of the most valuable assets of a business, so it's important that business owners choose their name wisely.

Most businesses operate to generate a profit , commonly called for-profit. However, some businesses that have a goal to advance a certain cause without profit are referred to as not-for-profit or nonprofit. These entities may operate as charities , arts, culture, educational, and recreational enterprises, political and advocacy groups, or social services organizations.

Business activities often include the sale and purchase of goods and services. Business activity can take place anywhere, whether that's in a physical storefront, online, or on the roadside. Anyone who conducts business activity with financial earnings must report this income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) .

A company often defines its business by the industry in which it operates. For example, the real estate business, advertising business, or mattress production business are examples of industries. Business is a term often used to indicate transactions regarding an underlying product or service. For example, ExxonMobil conducts its business by providing oil.

Types of Businesses

There are many ways to organize a business, and there are various legal and tax structures that correspond with each. Businesses are commonly classified and generally structured as:

  • Sole Proprietorship : As the name suggests, a sole proprietorship is owned and operated by a single person. There is no legal separation between the business and the owner, which means the tax and legal liabilities of the business are the responsibility of the owner.
  • Partnership : A partnership is a business relationship between two or more people who together conduct business. Each partner contributes resources and money to the business and shares in the profits and losses of the business. The shared profits and losses are recorded on each partner's tax return.
  • Corporation : A corporation is a business in which a group of people acts as a single entity. Owners are commonly referred to as shareholders who exchange consideration for the corporation's common stock . Incorporating a business releases owners of the financial liability of business obligations. A corporation comes with unfavorable taxation rules for the owners of the business.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) : This is a relatively new business structure and was first available in Wyoming in 1977 and in other states in the 1990s. A limited liability company combines the pass-through taxation benefits of a partnership with the limited liability benefits of a corporation.

Business Sizes

Small businesses.

Small owner-operated companies are called small businesses . Commonly managed by one person or a small group of people with less than 100 employees, these companies include family restaurants, home-based companies, clothing, books, and publishing companies, and small manufacturers. As of 2021, 33.2 million small businesses in the United States with 61.7 million employees were operating.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) uses the number of employees working at a company and its annual revenue to formally define a small business. For 229 industry sectors, from engineering and manufacturing to food service and real estate, the SBA sets sizing standards every five years.

Businesses that meet the standards of the SBA can qualify for loans, grants, and "small business set-asides," contracts where the federal government limits competition to help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts.

Mid-Sized Enterprises

There is no definitive specification in the U.S. to define a mid-sized or medium-sized company. However, when large U.S. cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston evaluate the landscape of operating businesses, a medium-sized company is defined as one with 100 to 249 employees or $10 million to less than $1 billion in annual gross sales .

Large Businesses

Large businesses commonly have 250 or more employees and garner more than $1 billion in gross receipts. They may issue corporate stock to finance operations as a publicly-traded company.

Large enterprises may be based in one country with international operations. They are often organized by departments, such as human resources, finance, marketing, sales, and research and development.

Unlike small and mid-sized enterprises, owned by a person or group of people, large organizations often separate their tax burden from their owners, who usually do not manage their companies but instead, an elected board of directors enacts most business decisions.

Examples of Well-Known Businesses

Apple ( AAPL ) is known for its innovative products, including its personal computers, smart devices, and music and video streaming services. Founded in 1977 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple became the first publicly-traded company whose value hit $1 trillion. The company's stock ended the trading day at about $172 on May 23, 2023. Its market cap was almost $2.7 billion.

The company employs more than two million people, including 80,000 individuals who work as direct Apple employees. The remaining jobs include suppliers, manufacturers, and others who are supported through the Apple store . The company reported net sales of $394.33 billion for the 12 months ending Sept. 24, 2022.

Apple's key to success lies in its family of products and its ability to innovate. The company focuses on design and quality—two key elements that were a key part of Jobs' corporate vision. The products that Apple creates and markets can be used under the same operating system, which allows consumers to sync them together, thus lowering corporate costs. Apple's ability to create, develop, and market new products and services also put it ahead of its competition.

Walmart ( WMT ) is one of the world's largest retailers and operates as a multinational corporation . The company was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton in Arkansas. It has more than 10,500 locations in more than 20 different countries and employs over 2.1 million people.

The company went public in 1970 and trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) . Walmart stock traded above $148 with a market cap of $399.79 billion on May 23, 2023. The company earned $611.3 billion in revenue for the full year of 2022, which is an increase of 6.7% from the previous fiscal year .

Walmart's success can be attributed to several factors, including its brand name, pricing, diversification (especially with the addition of its online marketplace), efficient supply chain management , and its financial strength.

How Do You Start a Business?

There are several steps you need to hurdle to start a business . This includes conducting market research, developing a business plan, seeking capital or other forms of funding, choosing a location and business structure, picking the right name, submitting registration paperwork, obtaining tax documents (employer and taxpayer IDs), and pulling permits and licenses. It's also a good idea to set up a bank account with a financial institution to facilitate your everyday banking needs.

How Do You Launch an Online Business?

Starting an online business involves some of the same steps as a traditional business, with a few exceptions.

You still need to do your market research and develop a business plan before anything else. Once that's done, choose a name and structure for your business, then file any paperwork to register your organization.

Rather than finding a physical location, choose a platform and design your website. Before launching your business, you should find a way to build up your target market, whether that's through traditional marketing means or more creative ways like social media.

How Do You Come Up With a Business Name?

Your business name should fit the type of organization you plan to run and it should be catchy—something that people will gravitate toward and remember, not to mention associate with you as well as the products and services you plan to sell. Originality is key. And most importantly, it should be a name that isn't already in use by someone else. Go online and do a business name search to see if it's available or already registered.

How Do You Write a Business Plan?

Business plans are essential to running your business and can help you secure the funding you need to start your operations. You can choose between a traditional or lean plan.

A traditional business plan has a lot of details, including a summary of the company, how it plans to succeed, market information, management, products and services, marketing, and sales projections.

Lean formats are concise with very useful information such as partnership details, outlines of the business activities and customer relationships, cost structures, and revenue streams.

Templates are available online or you can design your own business plan.

How Do You Get a Business Loan?

Necessary funding for a business often comes via a loan. A traditional lender or a government-backed loan, such as those offered through the Small Business Administration are two options. Prospective lenders want to see business details, especially for new start-ups . Make sure you have your business plan ready, including outlines of costs and revenue streams, and ensure you have a good credit score. You may need to put down some collateral to secure the loan if you're approved.

Businesses are the backbone of an economy. They provide products and services that can be purchased by individuals and other companies.

Businesses range in size from small to large and operate in many different industries. Business structures also vary from sole partnerships to major corporations that provide shareholder equity to their owners.

When starting a business, do your research and develop a business plan. This allows you to raise the money you need to start your operation.

U.S. Small Business Administration. " 10 Steps To Start Your Business ."

Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. " Corporations ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Choose Your Business Name ."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce. " Choosing the Right Nonprofit Type: Which Is Right for Your Business? "

Internal Revenue Service. " Tax Information for Businesses ."

Internal Revenue Service. " Sole Proprietorships ."

Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. " Partnership ."

Wyoming LLC. " The Complete History of the LLC ."

Indeed. " Business Sizes ."

Small Business Administration. " 2022 Small. Business Profile ," Page 1.

Marketplace. " The SBA Is Changing Its Definition of Small Business ."

Small Business Administration. " Types of Contracts ."

OECD. " Enterprises by business size ."

Indeed. " Midsize Companies: What They Are and Why They’re Beneficial ."

CNBC. " Apple Hangs Onto Its Historic $1 Trillion Market Cap ."

Apple. " Two Million U.S. Jobs and Counting ."


Apple. " Apple Makes Business Better ."

Walmart. " Company Facts ."

Walmart. " Our Business ."

Walmart. " Walmart revenue up 7.3% globally with broad-based strength across segments ," Page 1.

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Write Your Business Plan ."

U.S. Small Business Administration. " Loans ."

what is business plan synonym

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Synonyms of plans

  • as in strategies
  • as in goals
  • as in designs
  • as in intends
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Thesaurus Definition of plans

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • arrangements
  • master plans
  • ground plans
  • specifications
  • conspiracies
  • contrivances
  • conceptions
  • counterplans
  • subterfuges
  • counter - strategies
  • counterstrategies
  • aspirations
  • pretensions
  • destinations
  • holy grails

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Thesaurus Definition of plans  (Entry 2 of 2)

  • schemes (out)
  • choreographs
  • strategizes (about)
  • contemplates
  • premeditates
  • accomplishes
  • mulls (over)

Thesaurus Entries Near plans

Cite this entry.

“Plans.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/plans. Accessed 4 Nov. 2023.

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What Is a Business Plan? Definition and Planning Essentials Explained

Posted february 21, 2022 by kody wirth.

what is business plan synonym

What is a business plan? It’s the roadmap for your business. The outline of your goals, objectives, and the steps you’ll take to get there. It describes the structure of your organization, how it operates, as well as the financial expectations and actual performance. 

A business plan can help you explore ideas, successfully start a business, manage operations, and pursue growth. In short, a business plan is a lot of different things. It’s more than just a stack of paper and can be one of your most effective tools as a business owner. 

Let’s explore the basics of business planning, the structure of a traditional plan, your planning options, and how you can use your plan to succeed. 

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that explains how your business operates. It summarizes your business structure, objectives, milestones, and financial performance. Again, it’s a guide that helps you, and anyone else, better understand how your business will succeed.  

Why do you need a business plan?

The primary purpose of a business plan is to help you understand the direction of your business and the steps it will take to get there. Having a solid business plan can help you grow up to 30% faster and according to our own 2021 Small Business research working on a business plan increases confidence regarding business health—even in the midst of a crisis. 

These benefits are directly connected to how writing a business plan makes you more informed and better prepares you for entrepreneurship. It helps you reduce risk and avoid pursuing potentially poor ideas. You’ll also be able to more easily uncover your business’s potential. By regularly returning to your plan you can understand what parts of your strategy are working and those that are not.

That just scratches the surface for why having a plan is valuable. Check out our full write-up for fifteen more reasons why you need a business plan .  

What can you do with your plan?

So what can you do with a business plan once you’ve created it? It can be all too easy to write a plan and just let it be. Here are just a few ways you can leverage your plan to benefit your business.

Test an idea

Writing a plan isn’t just for those that are ready to start a business. It’s just as valuable for those that have an idea and want to determine if it’s actually possible or not. By writing a plan to explore the validity of an idea, you are working through the process of understanding what it would take to be successful. 

The market and competitive research alone can tell you a lot about your idea. Is the marketplace too crowded? Is the solution you have in mind not really needed? Add in the exploration of milestones, potential expenses, and the sales needed to attain profitability and you can paint a pretty clear picture of the potential of your business.

Document your strategy and goals

For those starting or managing a business understanding where you’re going and how you’re going to get there are vital. Writing your plan helps you do that. It ensures that you are considering all aspects of your business, know what milestones you need to hit, and can effectively make adjustments if that doesn’t happen. 

With a plan in place, you’ll have an idea of where you want your business to go as well as how you’ve performed in the past. This alone better prepares you to take on challenges, review what you’ve done before, and make the right adjustments.

Pursue funding

Even if you do not intend to pursue funding right away, having a business plan will prepare you for it. It will ensure that you have all of the information necessary to submit a loan application and pitch to investors. So, rather than scrambling to gather documentation and write a cohesive plan once it’s relevant, you can instead keep your plan up-to-date and attempt to attain funding. Just add a use of funds report to your financial plan and you’ll be ready to go.

The benefits of having a plan don’t stop there. You can then use your business plan to help you manage the funding you receive. You’ll not only be able to easily track and forecast how you’ll use your funds but easily report on how it’s been used. 

Better manage your business

A solid business plan isn’t meant to be something you do once and forget about. Instead, it should be a useful tool that you can regularly use to analyze performance, make strategic decisions, and anticipate future scenarios. It’s a document that you should regularly update and adjust as you go to better fit the actual state of your business.

Doing so makes it easier to understand what’s working and what’s not. It helps you understand if you’re truly reaching your goals or if you need to make further adjustments. Having your plan in place makes that process quicker, more informative, and leaves you with far more time to actually spend running your business.

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What should your business plan include?

The content and structure of your business plan should include anything that will help you use it effectively. That being said, there are some key elements that you should cover and that investors will expect to see. 

Executive summary

The executive summary is a simple overview of your business and your overall plan. It should serve as a standalone document that provides enough detail for anyone—including yourself, team members, or investors—to fully understand your business strategy. Make sure to cover the problem you’re solving, a description of your product or service, your target market, organizational structure, a financial summary, and any necessary funding requirements.

This will be the first part of your plan but it’s easiest to write it after you’ve created your full plan.

Products & Services

When describing your products or services, you need to start by outlining the problem you’re solving and why what you offer is valuable. This is where you’ll also address current competition in the market and any competitive advantages your products or services bring to the table. Lastly, be sure to outline the steps or milestones that you’ll need to hit to successfully launch your business. If you’ve already hit some initial milestones, like taking pre-orders or early funding, be sure to include it here to further prove the validity of your business. 

Market analysis

A market analysis is a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the current market you’re entering or competing in. It helps you understand the overall state and potential of the industry, who your ideal customers are, the positioning of your competition, and how you intend to position your own business. This helps you better explore the long-term trends of the market, what challenges to expect, and how you will need to initially introduce and even price your products or services.

Check out our full guide for how to conduct a market analysis in just four easy steps .  

Marketing & sales

Here you detail how you intend to reach your target market. This includes your sales activities, general pricing plan, and the beginnings of your marketing strategy. If you have any branding elements, sample marketing campaigns, or messaging available—this is the place to add it. 

Additionally, it may be wise to include a SWOT analysis that demonstrates your business or specific product/service position. This will showcase how you intend to leverage sales and marketing channels to deal with competitive threats and take advantage of any opportunities.

Check out our full write-up to learn how to create a cohesive marketing strategy for your business. 

Organization & management

This section addresses the legal structure of your business, your current team, and any gaps that need to be filled. Depending on your business type and longevity, you’ll also need to include your location, ownership information, and business history. Basically, add any information that helps explain your organizational structure and how you operate. This section is particularly important for pitching to investors but should be included even if attempted funding is not in your immediate future.

Financial projections

Possibly the most important piece of your plan, your financials section is vital for showcasing the viability of your business. It also helps you establish a baseline to measure against and makes it easier to make ongoing strategic decisions as your business grows. This may seem complex on the surface, but it can be far easier than you think. 

Focus on building solid forecasts, keep your categories simple, and lean on assumptions. You can always return to this section to add more details and refine your financial statements as you operate. 

Here are the statements you should include in your financial plan:

  • Sales and revenue projections
  • Profit and loss statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet

The appendix is where you add additional detail, documentation, or extended notes that support the other sections of your plan. Don’t worry about adding this section at first and only add documentation that you think will be beneficial for anyone reading your plan.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. So, to get the most out of your plan, it’s best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering. 

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you’ll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual. 

This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix. We recommend only starting with this business plan format if you plan to immediately pursue funding and already have a solid handle on your business information. 

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea. 

The structure ditches a linear structure in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It’s faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations. This is really best for those exploring their business idea for the first time, but keep in mind that it can be difficult to actually validate your idea this way as well as adapt it into a full plan.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan. This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. It basically serves as a beefed-up pitch document and can be finished as quickly as the business model canvas.

By starting with a one-page plan, you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan. This plan type is useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Now, the option that we here at LivePlan recommend is the Lean Plan . This is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27-minutes . However, it’s even easier to convert into a full plan thanks to how heavily it’s tied to your financials. The overall goal of Lean Planning isn’t to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the Lean Planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and stable through times of crisis.

It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Try the LivePlan Method for Lean Business Planning

Now that you know the basics of business planning, it’s time to get started. Again we recommend leveraging a Lean Plan for a faster, easier, and far more useful planning process. 

To get familiar with the Lean Plan format, you can download our free Lean Plan template . However, if you want to elevate your ability to create and use your lean plan even further, you may want to explore LivePlan. 

It features step-by-step guidance that ensures you cover everything necessary while reducing the time spent on formatting and presenting. You’ll also gain access to financial forecasting tools that propel you through the process. Finally, it will transform your plan into a management tool that will help you easily compare your forecasts to your actual results. 

Check out how LivePlan streamlines Lean Planning by downloading our Kickstart Your Business ebook .

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Posted in Business Plan Writing

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what is business plan synonym

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > Writing and Formatting a Successful Business Plan

Writing and Formatting a Successful Business Plan

Whether you’re an experienced business person or a first-time entrepreneur, a business plan presents an important opportunity to showcase your unique business ideas and make a plan for how it will it function and operate.

Because of its importance, it can sometimes appear to be an overwhelming task. However, with some guidance on business plan formatting and a breakdown of the plan’s most essential components, you can make the task more manageable and more easily get started on your own plan—bringing the possibility of your grand opening ever closer.

Business professionals discussing a blueprint at conference table in an office.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan usually serves either or both of two purposes: Sometimes it’s used to court potential investors in a business. Other times, it sets out guidelines and a strategy for initial members of a business’s team to follow as they get things up and running. In either case, this formal document maps out the purpose, goals, finances, and future plans of a new or existing business.

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Formatting Your Business Plan

Before you get started on writing your business plan, it’s useful to understand the formatting of a typical business plan. Not only will this help you make sure you ultimately deliver the information that potential investors or teammates are expecting, but it will also help you see where you might need to do more research or spend more time.

Typically, all business plans contain each of the following parts:

Executive Summary

Company description, business goals, market and opportunity analysis, competitive analysis, execution plan, marketing plan, financial analysis and projections.

Below, we sum up what these sections entail to help you craft each of them according to your own business’s needs.

Business plans usually open with what’s called an executive summary. Typically taking up no more than about half of a page, this summary should include the most essential information about your business and highlights from the plan that follows, including:

  • Your organization’s mission statement
  • A description of the products and services your business offers
  • The purpose of your business plan
  • Any major achievements your business has made so far
  • An overview of your business’s financial health

A company description should include both basic information about your organization—its registered name, physical location, and a short history of the company—as well as more detailed info about how your business intends to succeed. In other words, once you’ve touched on the very basics, this is your chance to hook readers of your business plan. To do so, it can be helpful to set the stage for your readers: consider the answers to questions like, “Why did you start this business?”, “What unique problems does your business solve?”, and “What makes your company different from others like it?”

Sometimes referred to as an “objective statement,” this section of your business plan should clearly outline your company’s goals—over both the short and long term. If you’re making an appeal to investors, this is also your chance to include some persuasive writing and describe to them how their investments are critical to helping you meet these goals.

This section requires keen research skills: Bring in all of your knowledge of the market your business is working in to show investors and potential partners where the opportunity lies. Show that you have an understanding of the market’s past, present, and future—and understand the unique risks that businesses in this space face. Additionally, you will want to show what typical types of customers in this market are like with information on key demographics and customer behaviors that your business will market itself to.

Moving past the broad view of the overall market, your business plan should include an analysis of the business models or examples of your closest competitors in the space. Showing how these other organizations operate, how they’ve fared over their histories, and how they market themselves to customers can help you make the case for how your business will do these things both differently and successfully.

The execution plan section should provide a window into how your business will operate behind the scenes: How will you and your employees be organized? Who will handle what tasks? Why are they the right people to do so? Answer these questions by providing thorough details on who will be doing the work and how they will be structured while getting it done.

Every business needs to have a plan on how they position and promote their offerings, as well as attract and retain customers. With this section of your business plan, explain to potential stakeholders and financiers what your initial marketing strategy is and how it will change and scale over time.

Especially for business owners seeking additional financing and investment, the financial portion of your business plan is critical in showing how your business has generated and managed income, plus deliver insight into how it will continue doing so.

This section should include a breakdown of your organization’s sales, expenses, and profits. If you’re applying for a loan or seeking investment, include an overview of what your company’s financials would look like over the next period of years if you were to receive that financial backing. In addition, you should outline a clear plan for how and when you will pay back these creditors.

Crafting a Business Plan That Succeeds

While the particulars of every business plan will be different, there are some aspects that should be common to all business plans:

  • Be Concise: The writing in a business plan needs to be persuasive for its intended audience, but it needs to do so efficiently. Use clear and concise writing that communicates your ideas and plans effectively.
  • Use Data for Support: Even if your writing is persuasive, it won’t be as effective as it can be without relevant data and hard numbers that back up your insights.
  • Get Rid of Errors: In most cases, your audience is only going to read your business plan once. Make sure you present a tidy image of your business through your business plan writing by catching and fixing all of your typos and grammatical errors. Use a digital writing assistant like Microsoft Editor to help spot these mistakes, along with any slips in the formal tone that a business plan requires.
  • Keep It Real: Avoid exaggeration, whether it’s in your sales projections, market opportunity, or elsewhere.

Creating a successful business plan requires pulling together a lot of disparate information, which takes a diverse set of skills to pull off. Whether you’re new to new businesses or this is just your latest and greatest project, this can always be a tall order.

Make it easier on yourself by using all of the tools you have at your disposal to help. In addition to the guidelines above, explore a wide range of business plan templates available from Microsoft 365, including everything from complete business plans to individual components like revenue forecasts .

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How to use business in a sentence

It’s unconscionable to go home before the election without helping families and small businesses, and I think there’s a deep recognition that now, at this point, that it’s simply impossible to go home without getting something done.

Another idea circulating in the House is to pass individual bills, such as new business loans or unemployment help, just to show or remind Americans that House Democrats are trying to help.

The full restrictions at issue have now eased, but a variety of limitations on businesses and gatherings remain in effect.

Before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and sent unemployment soaring, the president could certainly brag about the state of the economy in his first three years as president.

The plan calls for accelerating access to reconstruction funding, forgiving disaster relief loans to municipalities and bolstering local businesses.

I was a little mystified at how benignly he responded to my questions about his business activities.

This reporter knocked at the Wilkins home on Tuesday morning but received neither an answer nor the business end of a shotgun.

“Competition is there, of course, but I think there is enough business for everyone as long as the demand is there,” he says.

Last March they gave Airbus a huge piece of new business , ordering 169 A320s and 65 of the slightly larger A321.

Together, they crossed over the International Bridges on foot into Juarez to conduct some business .

He remembered something—the cherished pose of being a man plunged fathoms-deep in business .

A letter from Fajardo to the king (December 10, 1621) concerns various matters of administration and business .

The father of Mr. Stacy Marks predestined him for the coach-building business .

That, and a range war that grew out of the killing, and some kind of a business deal just about broke them.

But he could not bear the reflection, and with fevered impatience, he hurried through the business of the morning.

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Words Related To business

  • functioning
  • in the works
  • proposition
  • arrangement
  • negotiation
  • stipulation
  • transaction
  • understanding
  • life's work
  • nine-to-five
  • walk of life
  • ways and means
  • wherewithal
  • constituency
  • conk buster
  • quarterstaff
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What is another word for business plan ?

Synonyms for business plan busi·ness plan, this thesaurus page includes all potential synonyms, words with the same meaning and similar terms for the word business plan ., we couldn't find direct synonyms for the term business plan ., maybe you were looking for one of these terms.

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