White Papers and Business Plan: The Main Differences

Business plan

When owners of companies think about documentation, they sometimes choose between white papers and business plans. So, what is the difference? In this article, you will find out, what is a whitepaper in marketing, the peculiarities of business plans, and in conclusion, you`ll be able to decide what approaches are best for you.

White Papers in Brief

A white paper is a document that consists of information about a product or service. It usually highlights its main benefits and effectiveness for the business. There are the most popular types of white papers:

1. Technical

These documents are more geared toward tech-savvy customers. They include diagrams, specific terminology, flowcharts, etc. The main goal of the technical white paper is to help users to solve issues with products or malfunctions. It is more of a user manual.

2. Business Benefits

Companies use these documents to describe the advantages of their services or consumer goods. They show what the user will get in the end. This white paper answers the question «How can the product help them?

3. Product Comparison

The aim of the document is to tell about the main advantages of the organisation. It talks about the values of the corporation and its principles. This type of White Paper shows positive reviews and feedback from customers.

4. Market Research

Organisations monitor the market and look for popular trends that work effectively. They analyse strategies other corporations follow, and how these tactics help them in business.

5. Prediction

After careful monitoring, experts build forecasts of how the market will change soon or far. Due to these documents, readers could highlight things they need to pay special attention to stay in trend later.

All white papers rely on authentic data, official statistics, and scientific facts. These documents are often used not only by commercial organisations but by non-profit companies too.

Digital marketing

Business Plan: The Main Peculiarities and Advantages

The business plan describes the company goals and strategies for achieving them. It is so difficult to imagine any commercial start-up without a business plan. It is often used to attract investors and sponsors before launching a project. The business plan is vital for internal and external company policy. Key elements of this document are the next:

  • Resume or brief

This part includes a description of the organisation, its tasks, and its missions. A resume can include information about owners, employees, the location of the main office, etc. Usually, this is a short block of a business plan.

  • Products and services

Companies should write this part in detail. The block of products and services includes their benefits for users, patents (if there are any), manufacturing processes, prices, etc. Corporations often mention product lifespans in this section.

  • Market analysis

Organisations usually describe their strong and weak sides in the modern market. The company should have a good understanding of the industry and realistically assess the risks. In this block, the competitiveness of the company is described. It is estimated which part of the target audience the company should aim at first.

  • Strategy

Every company should have a tactic that helps to gain consumer confidence. This block includes mass media and marketing campaigns used for sales. Shortly, organisations describe how they are going to get the target audience and keep it.

  • Financial planning

This block includes information about investors and partners, start-up capital, and further development of the company in the financial direction.

  • Budget

This section lists the expenses of the company. The most popular segments are salaries, manufacturing costs, development budgets, and cost of promotions.

There is no ideal template for writing a business plan. Companies independently think over each item in detail. The main thing is the document should be of interest to investors and customers and show the main potential for the success of the organisation.

Business planning map

The Main Differences Between These Documents

The business plan is longer than the White Paper. It always includes all spheres of company activities — from the logo to the annual budget. This document is oriented to investors, customers, and heads of certain internal departments. The White Paper is usually written for consumers.

Reading a business plan, the user will not understand how to solve a problem with a product if something is not working. The document does not provide detailed instructions for solving such issues. The business plan is more focused on the values of the company and its prospects in conditions of the contemporary market. The white paper shows the benefits of the product in the customer’s world, pointing out what they will get and why this product is a great solution to their problem.

If we are talking about types of business, then the white paper is more often used in B2B. A business plan is a must for both B2B and B2C companies. Additionally, the White Paper contains more technical specifications, documentation, research results, and scientific facts. The business plan is mainly based on predictions and analytics.

Companies often use both types of documents in their activities. They help to establish a business, take into account all items of income and expenses, build a strategy for several years ahead and develop in the current market conditions. Without these documents, it is impossible to start a project or create a corporation. A business plan and white paper help to present and visualize the planned project efficiently. With the right approach to writing, you will get an effective development strategy and, as a result, the trust of customers.

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