Top 5 Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid

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Have you made any of these common business plan mistakes?

Going back to your business plan to cross reference your projections is a good idea but what if your business plan is wrong?  As the blueprint for your company the business plan is as important as any other part of your business.

Check out the list of common business plan mistakes below to make sure your plan is both accurate and actionable.

 

 

Top 5 Business Plan Mistakes

#1  The Plan is Poorly Written

You don’t need to be an English major to know that your plan is poorly written. Investors are looking for professional and clearly-written plans. Misspellings, typographical errors and basic grammatical errors should be avoided. If writing is not your strength, don’t do it on your own. It’s best to hire someone to help you review and edit your business plan.

#2  Bad Visuals

Great content always comes with well laid out visual components. You don’t need to have stellar graphic design to go with your plan. Just make sure that you avoid these things:

  • Unlabeled charts
  • Missing page numbers from the table of contents
  • Tables without headers

#3  The Business Plan is Incomplete

If you want your plan to cover all the bases, then it should have:

  • Detail on product or service features, including strengths and weaknesses.
  • What competitors are doing right and what are they doing wrong.
  • Overview of operations and how will it support the financial goals.
  • Sales and marketing plan to give investors and employees a sense of direction, whether it’s long term or short term campaigns.
  • Sales and financial goals should also be present. If you’re operating for three years, then an annual balance sheet will help show cash flow and the ability to reach projections.

#4  The Vague Business Plan

All plans need to be clear whether these are financial plans or marketing plans. Setting realistic and measurable goals will help your investors and team understand your intentions. Make sure it’s backed by research to make it more credible.

#5  Claiming There’s No Risk or No Competition

Plans are based on research and intelligent assumptions. When you set your goals, you always want to succeed. However, claiming that there is no risk involved is unrealistic. Investors see it as too good to be true.  Products or services without competition will sound too “scammy” or leave the impression you are hiding a major flaw.  Be honest about any obstacles or competition and how you plan to address those challenges.

Some entrepreneurs often make mistakes in planning for their business. However, the best advice every entrepreneur can get is to consult the experts. If marketing is not your strength, then look for a consultant or partner who can help you with this aspect. Or, if you find financial projections difficult, hire an accountant to do it for you or use a business plan package that has everything you need and can be modified to fit your business needs.

The most successful businessmen are usually the ones who delegate and work to avoid the common business plan mistakes that can prevent success.

 

Example Business Plans – Business Planning

Now is the perfect time to evaluate your success or opportunities from the past year and make necessary changes to start the new year off right.  Modifying your existing business plan or putting together your business plan for the first time can help you focus your efforts and plan for success in the new year.

Using example business plans to take the hassle out of creating a business plan from scratch can be beneficial strategy for anyone that is creating a plan for the first time.

Don’t get hung up on the process as much as the results – there is no need to reinvent the wheel when professional business plan templates are available.

Some of the benefits to having an up-to-date business plan include:

Find Profit Niches – track your progress by setting a financial baseline and plan your expenditures.  By planning and evaluating your profit / loss you can see where you need to focus more effort or resources on profitable areas.

Get Funding – if you need funding for an expansion or a new product line a business plan with profit forecasts may help you land the capital you need.

Set Your Business Apart – successful businesses constantly evaluate the company goals and mission / vision statements in order to meet the needs of customers in an ever changing marketplace….don’t get stale!

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be hard.  Find some example business plans to get started and replace the info with your company specific data.  You will be surprised how fast your business plan can come together by taking one section at a time and filling in your details.

Grab my actual business plan at the link below and use it to create your own customized plan without all the hassle!

Business-Plan Toolkit

Don’t let the unknown keep you from putting together your business plan.  Start planning for success today!

Adam Hoeksema

Craig Frazier

About the Author

Craig is a small business marketer, author and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business management and marketing.
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Craig Frazier Interview with Small Biz Kaizen

Earlier this year I was contacted about doing a podcast interview with Small Biz Kaizen to discuss the business planning process and explain how to get started writing a business plan.
I wanted to post it out here again as I think it was a great interview and uncovered some simple steps that anyone can…

Writing A Business Plan

Writing a business plan can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to seem like work.  Getting started is half the battle and finding a good template that you can use as a guideline is a quick way to begin making progress.  In order to find a good business plan template that can meet your needs keep a few things in mind:

1) Look for a template of an actual business plan so you can see how the different sections were worded and you can get an idea for the type of information that was included.

2) Find a business plan that was written for a similar size company.  This doesn’t need to be exact but a business plan for a small business will be much different from the detail needed to be included in a plan for a large corporation.

3) Find a pro-forma template to use as a guide for projecting your monthly and annual cost and profits.  Every good business plan should have one of these and you can find them several places online.

4) A break even analysis is a good visual to include in the business plan to show potential investors what will be needed to turn a profit.  Your financials should show how you intend to get there and the break even graph will illustrate the point.

5) Don’t let the charts, graphs and layout keep you from getting started on your business plan.  If you find that you are having trouble finding the pieces you need to put together a professional business plan then grab the whole set of files I used to create a winning business plan for a small business that is still in operation today.  My actual business plan, financial spreadsheet and break-even graph are all included in the “Business Plan Toolkit” you can find by clicking the link here – Business Plan Toolkit.

You know more about your business than anyone else but it is important that your knowledge about the industry and your business are professionally communicated to investors and potential business partners.  Take the hassle out of writing a plan by using one that has already been written – feel free to change it however you need.  Grab the Business Plan and Files now and get started writing a plan for your successful small business.


Adam Hoeksema

Craig Frazier

About the Author

Craig is a small business marketer, author and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business management and marketing.

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