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Your business's current stage and goals will help determine what type of plan to create, from startup plans for brand-new businesses to "what-if" preparation-type business plans. — Getty Images/izusek

In our Startup2021 series, we're helping aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the new business climate of the COVID-19 era. Each week, we'll share an in-depth look at one step you can to take toward launching your business in 2021.

Writing a business plan is an important process for every startup. In its simplest form, a business plan is a formal document that contains your goals for the company and the timeline in which you'd like to achieve them. While many stick to writing the "standard" business plan, there are various types of business plans you can choose from, depending on your goals. Choosing the right plan for your business can ease the writing process and help you better achieve your objectives. Here are five types of business plans to help you decide which is right for you.

[Read: 5 Common Sense Reasons to Write a Business Plan and 7 Mistakes to Avoid]

Standard plan

A standard business plan (often referred to as a “working plan”) sets an overview of your company, states your goals and outlines how and when you will achieve them. For any business, they’re an important tool in helping you secure financing, such as a loan or an investment. Lenders and investors will want to know how you plan to use their money and make a profit. A business plan will accurately state how you intend to do this, list the achievable goals and put them in a realistic time frame.

Other aspects to include in your plan depend on your audience. You may include more information about cash flow and expenses for investors, or more of the day-to-day operations and goals for your employees.

What-if plan

In business, not everything will go according to plan. A what-if business plan outlines different roadblocks your company might battle so you can be prepared for anything. Because businesses are often at the whims of external factors such as the stock market or supply chain, this plan outlines the various predictable scenarios your company could face. In writing this plan, you might consider including the worst-case scenario to reassure investors that even if something goes wrong, you will have a way to financially recover. This plan can be part of the standard business plan or exist entirely on its own.

In business, not everything will go according to plan. A what-if business plan outlines different roadblocks your company might battle so you can be prepared for anything.

One-page plan

Your business plan should be filled with detailed information about various aspects of your business. However, sometimes you'll come across someone outside of a formal pitch and want to give them a condensed version of your plan for quick reference. A one-page business plan outlines your plan in five simple, easy-to-read sections: the demand, your solution, your business model, your management team and your plan of action. The content on your one-page plan should be a summarized version of your more robust business plan.

[Read: Starting Over? How to Write a Business Plan for a Post-Pandemic World]

Startup plan

If you're an entrepreneur who's in the early stages of planning their business, your plan may look a little different. A startup business plan is for potential investors to get an idea of your new company and what you hope to achieve as your company grows. This plan should include an executive summary, your background, what your service or product will provide, your market evaluations, startup costs and your financial projections.

Because this is a plan for a business that does not yet exist or is in its infantry, it is essential to outline who you are and your background, as well as your proven track record. Investors want to know if they can trust you with their money to start a brand-new business. They'll be more open to financing your idea if they know you have similar experience or have worked in or created a startup previously.

Expansion plan

An expansion plan is written when a business is looking to scale themselves and requires additional resources for that development. These resources can include additional employees, new materials or a financial investment. Within this plan, include details of your company's background and how you've grown to where you are today. Then, outline how these additional resources will contribute to the expansion of your company and what that expansion will mean for your overall growth.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published April 26, 2021