Business plans versus Marketing plans

A business plan basically states how you plan to run your company–what are your goals, how much money it will take to achieve your goals and what activities you’ll perform to achieve your goals. Most often, a marketing plan is a component of a business plan. Marketing plans often stand alone but should always support and be closely linked to a company’s business objectives.

Representatives from organizations that plan to lend you money or invest in your business require a business plan.  They want to know how much money will be needed and how well you’ve prepared for launching this business.  

The preparation of a business plan will likely force you to analyze items that are unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable such as a realistic estimate of potential income, accounting issues if you don’t have a financial background and marketing issues if you don’t have a marketing background.  One often finds that by having to write plans on paper, we can be better prepared for situations that arise, both negative and positive. 

A marketing plan contains information about your industry, your competitors, and your company’s products, marketing objectives and strategies, as well as how you will measure the success of your marketing activities. It describes all the marketing activities you’ll perform during a specified time period (usually one year). You’ll also include any background information and research results you used to select those marketing activities. Finally, you’ll document the costs associated with your planned marketing activities as well as the measurements you’ll use to determine success.