17 Business Plan Mistakes To Avoid
If you’re about to write or rewrite the framework for your business, you might want to read over these business plan mistakes to avoid first.
Compiling a business plan can be a daunting task, but knowing some of the pitfalls and business plan mistakes to avoid can make your job easier. Whether you’re applying for finance, a franchise or you want to become a supplier for a particular brand or product, your business plan can make or break your chances of securing a positive outcome.
Here is a list of business plan mistakes to avoid:
Procrastinating over starting
While the thought of writing a business plan can be overwhelming, the plan won’t write itself. If you’re passionate about your business, you need to portray that in your business plan. Start by mapping out an outline of the plan, listing the contents (the order can be changed as you go), then research the information you need and fill in the gaps.
Too much information
Although a business plan needs to contain a lot of information, try to avoid overloading the reader with too much information. People are time-poor and most of us just want the short version wherever possible.
Being too vague
When information is missing from the business plan, it can sometimes look suspicious or as though you haven’t done your research. If an investor or interested party thinks your business isn’t ready for the next step, they’re unlikely to approve your application. You information really needs to be specific and precise.
- Poor researchTake the time to find the correct information for your business plan. Research your market or potential market. You may need to engage a professional research firm if you’re unable to do this yourself – think of it as an investment in the future of your business.
Making it all about figures
Of course, figures are an essential component of your business plan. However, the reader will want an explanation of what the figures mean in terms of overall business growth and how you plan to produce the projected results, so you must ensure you have the wording to cover this.
Not including people
Figures don’t sell ideas, people do. It’s the people behind the business who have the power to make or break it, so it’s really important to include a brief profile of the key players in your business. Your readers will want to know what qualifications and experience you have and what your team is capable of achieving.
Faking your figures or using unrealistic projections
If you falsify any figures, you will be found out at some point. The same applies to using unrealistic expectations. If you do manage to secure finance based on your falsified figures, you will be doing yourself a great disservice when you’re unable to generate the business required to produce the projected figures. #NobodyWins
Glossing over your marketing
A marketing plan is undoubtedly one of the most important components of your business plan. Having a clear marketing strategy in place is vital. Your plan must outline how you plan to advertise and promote your business, as well as your sales strategy and distribution channels.
Not knowing who your customers are
You must know exactly who you are going to sell your product or service to. Do as much research as you can on this topic. If possible, it’s a great idea to compile Ideal Client Profiles so that you know who you’re addressing in your marketing copy.
If your plan contains typos, spelling mistakes and errors in grammar or punctuation, it makes you appear sloppy and the reader may conclude you have a sloppy approach to your overall business – this is not the impression you want to make, is it?
Not accurately portraying your brand
What sets you apart and makes you stand out? What makes your brand different from your competitors? You need to capture the essence of your brand and tell the story of your business in a way that makes the reader want to become involved in bringing your business plan into fruition.
Talking yourself up too much
While it’s important to outline what makes you and your business idea great, it’s important to be realistic and not exaggerate the facts.
Not admitting your weaknesses
Every person and every business has weaknesses. While you don’t want to place too much emphasis on these, it’s important to state what your weaknesses are and outline how you can improve on them. Doing this is realistic and expected.
Claiming you have no competition
Every business has competition of some kind. It may not be direct competition, but there will always be some competition for your customer’s business. You may need to think about the issue from the customer’s perspective – what other options to they have?
Not using confident, concise and clear copy
Your tone needs to be confident and business-like without sounding cold and unapproachable. Getting your point across in as few words as possible is also important. Being too wordy makes the business plan too difficult to read. Make it easy for your reader!
This makes you appear unprofessional. It’s important to have a professionally-presented document which displays a consistent font, margin settings and headings. It’s also very helpful to have page numbers and an index which directs readers.
Not including an Executive Summary
The purpose of the Executive Summary is to provide a brief explanation of the contents of the business plan. While the summary usually appears in the first few pages, it’s best to write it after the remainder of the business plan, as things often change during the writing process.
There are probably more Business Plan mistakes you could make, but I’ll stop there for now!
If you’re completely overwhelmed at the thought of writing a Business Plan, I can help. I work with you, acting as a Project Manager to pull the most relevant information together. I’ll help write your plan and presenting it in a polished and professional way.
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