They can help companies start and manage themselves, and to help grow after they're up and running.
They also act as a means to get people to work with and invest in the business.
Ideally, a company would revisit the plan periodically to see if goals have been met or have changed and evolved.
Sometimes, a new business plan is prepared for an established business that is moving in a new direction.
They are standard, with much more detail in each section.
These tend to be much longer and require a lot more work.
Even though it may work, operating without a business plan is not a good idea.
In fact, very few companies are able to last without one.
Lean startup business plans, on the other hand, use a standard structure even though they aren't as common in the business world.
These business plans are short—as short as one page—and have very little detail.