A business plan is a document that contains a description of a business idea and the measures necessary to implement the business venture in order to assess the investment’s profitability. It includes an evaluation of the required human and material resources (costs) and the expected revenue, which leads to a profitability analysis.
Typically, it is prepared for the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as individuals embarking on a business venture for less complex projects with an investment amount up to 200,000 EUR according to HBOR methodology (the amount may vary depending on the requirements of the financial institution). In contrast, an investment study is prepared for projects with a higher value of over 200,000 EUR, usually for existing companies.
The business plan should provide answers regarding the profitability and sustainability of the business venture and primarily serves as a means for entrepreneurs to evaluate the investment, as well as a means of communication with private or public investors such as banks, venture capitalists, or potential business partners.
The content of a business plan typically includes information about the entrepreneur, project goals, products/services, market, technological and technical elements, location, environmental protection, static financial analysis, and conclusion.
An investment study or investment program is a document prepared for more complex business ventures exceeding the amount of 200,000 EUR according to the HBOR methodology (the amount may vary depending on the financial institution).
It is commonly developed when initiating an investment cycle within an existing company to present the economic viability of the investment, the implementation plan, and the impact on the company’s existing operations.
Unlike a business plan, an investment study provides a more detailed overview of the investment, including additional financial indicators that provide a better assessment of profitability and project justification.
The content of an investment study includes the elements mentioned in a business plan, as well as an analysis of the entrepreneur’s previous business operations and potential, a more detailed structure and timeline of the investment, dynamic financial analysis, and sensitivity analysis.
The main difference between an investment study and a business plan, in addition to the specified investment amount, lies in the more comprehensive financial analysis included in the investment study, which encompasses static and dynamic analysis as well as sensitivity analysis.
A feasibility study with a cost-benefit analysis is often a mandatory part of the project documentation required for co-financing projects from EU structural funds, particularly for infrastructure projects. The study aims to determine whether the project is desirable for investment from a societal perspective. Feasibility studies analyse all the costs and benefits of the project according to a prescribed methodology to determine its justification for public funding.
A cost-benefit analysis is a financial instrument used to quantify all the costs and losses on one side, and all the expected revenues and benefits of a venture on the other. It takes into account not only financial and economic aspects, but also considers a broader societal context, including environmental impact and social issues. The cost-benefit analysis should serve as the foundation for assessing the feasibility of any public project and as a tool for making a quality comparison among multiple public projects.
The main difference to a feasibility study is that it includes a description of the project’s impact on the broader community and is typically used for projects in the public sector.