What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business—usually a startup—defines its objectives and how it is to go about achieving its goals. A business plan lays out a written roadmap for the firm from marketing, financial, and operational standpoints.

Business plans are important documents used to attract investment before a company has established a proven track record. They are also a good way for companies to keep themselves on target going forward.

Although they’re especially useful for new businesses, every company should have a business plan. Ideally, the plan is reviewed and updated periodically to see if goals have been met or have changed and evolved. Sometimes, a new business plan is created for an established business that has decided to move in a new direction.

Key Takeaways

  • A business plan is a written document describing a company’s core business activities, objectives, and how it plans to achieve its goals.
  • Startup companies use business plans to get off the ground and attract outside investors.
  • Businesses may come up with a lengthier traditional business plan or a shorter lean startup business plan.
  • Good business plans should include an executive summary, products and services, marketing strategy and analysis, financial planning, and a budget.