It is often times difficult to turn ideas into action without an action plan. Here, see how a business or corporate plan may offer a viable path to success.

Purpose is the main difference between a business plan and a corporate plan. Business plans are focused on creating general framework, whereas the corporate plans are concerned with providing steps necessary to build the business.

The business plan provides business goals and mission statements, which will be in place for the life of the business. For example, Apple Inc.’s mission statement, as listed on its website, is “to design the best PCs and professional software, lead the digital music revolution, and bring innovation to the cell phone market.” The business plan includes content such as the company background, organization and structure, marketing strategy, purpose of product/service, and financials. An investor might focus on the financials—projected annual sales, net income, and required financing—whereas a marketing director might focus on the marketing strategy, but the document is written and presented in a way that will be suitable for both internal and external groups.

While the business plan’s audience is both internal (employees, board) and external (potential investors, customers), the corporate plan’s audience is strictly internal. The corporate plan is written for a company’s staff and will describe the procedures and responsibilities for carrying out the plan’s specified goal, as reflected in the business plan’s mission statement(s). Key elements in the corporate plan are short-term company objectives and priorities, key economic trends, and financial allocation. The corporate plan takes the business plan’s goals and missions and breaks them down into smaller chunks. An environmental organization might have the goal of promoting environmental awareness in its business plan. Its corporate plan would be a detailed strategy of how to implement a one-year campaign for local elementary schools to increase participation in its youth volunteer program by 20%.

The business plan is general, whereas the corporate plan is specific. It takes the business plan’s goals and missions and breaks them down into smaller chunks. An environmental organization might have the goal of promoting environmental awareness in its business plan. Its corporate plan would be a detailed strategy of how to implement a one-year campaign for local elementary schools to increase participation in its youth volunteer program by 20%.

Sources:

1) eHow Money “Definition of Corporate Planning”: http://www.ehow.com/about_5117185_definition-corporate-planning.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask

2) eHow Money “The Differences Between Business Planning and Corporate Planning”: http://www.ehow.com/list_6830044_differences-business-planning-corporate-planning.html

3) Chron Small Business “The Differences Between Business Planning and Corporate Planning”: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/differences-between-business-planning-corporate-planning-882.html

4) Docstoc “Sample Restaurant Business Plan”: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2852808/sample-restaurant-business-plan

5) Wikipedia “Business Plan”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_plan

6) Yahoo Answers “What is a corporate plan?”: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070104184011AAA55nk

7) Docstoc “Sample Corporate Plan”: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/34042631/SAMPLE-Corporate-Plan

8) Docstoc “Main Purposes of a Business Plan”: http://www.docstoc.com/article/84368127/main-purposes-of-a-business-plan