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.
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.
Externally-focused plans draft goals that are important to outside stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders.
These plans typically have detailed information about the organization or the team making effort to reach its goals.Writing a good business plan can’t guarantee success, but it can go a long way toward reducing the odds of failure." The format of a business plan depends on its presentation context.It is common for businesses, especially start-ups, to have three or four formats for the same business plan.During the dot-com bubble 1997-2001 this was a problem for many technology start-ups.Reference class forecasting has been developed to reduce the risks of cost overruns and revenue shortfalls and thus generate more accurate business plans.A pitch deck is a slide show and oral presentation that is meant to trigger discussion and interest potential investors in reading the written presentation.The content of the presentation is usually limited to the executive summary and a few key graphs showing financial trends and key decision making benchmarks.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.It is called an elevator pitch as it is supposed to be content that can be explained to someone else quickly in an elevator.The elevator pitch should be between 30 and 60 seconds.