Like anything else in business, a business plan should be judged good or bad not in a vacuum but in its business context with its specific business objective. Most of the online discussion about business plans is focused on business plans related to seeking investment, and I`m going to make the assumption in this answer that you are asking about those.
Whether you are in the beginning stages of starting your own business or planning on taking it to the next level, you will need a clear and informative business plan. `What is a business plan?` you may ask. In short, it is a comprehensive guide wherein answers to the questions and problems you will face in each stage of growth are laid out in detail.
By having a written business plan that you`re regularly reviewing, you can make confident decisions. You`ll have all the information necessary to know when you can hire new employees, launch a new product line or make a major purchase. At the same time, you can also plan ahead in case a decision doesn`t work out as expected, minimizing your potential risk.
The pitch is a summary of the plan, organized according to highlights for investors, ideally a way to present your business in a structured way. The business plan is the bones of the pitch, like the screenplay, setting strategy, tactics, milestones, market, and essential numbers.
The investment decision is about the content – the team, the market, the differentiators, the scalability, traction so far, validators, growth potential – not the presentation or formatting of the plan.
The executive summary of your business plan introduces your company, explains what you do, and lays out what you`re looking for from your readers. Structurally, it is the first chapter of your business plan. And while it`s the first thing that people will read, I generally advise that you write it last.