If you are reading this blog, it is likely because you have written or you are in the process or writing your business plan and you want to know if it is up to snuff! We’ve compiled the 7 most common mistakes that we have encountered in the hundreds of business plans that we have reviewed. Now, be honest, are any of those mistakes part of your business plan?
1. Bad Spelling – It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often people forget to run spell-check on their business plans.
2. Lack of Research – This phase of writing the business plan usually takes the longest. But, it is important that you do not take shortcuts. Conducting the proper research and learning about your industry, your target markets and your competitors are paramount to creating a successful business, business model and business plan. With the information that you learn from your research, you will be able to develop successful sales and marketing strategies, pricing strategies, distribution strategies, product/service features to incorporate, etc.
3. Overoptimistic Thinking – Don’t fall in the trap of developing unrealistic projections because you are that confident in your product/service. Every product/service has competition; every company needs to establish a presence in the market; and every company needs to test and tweak its product/service and sales/marketing strategies to find the right mix. Furthermore, do not neglect your research. Use the statistics surrounding the size of the industry, the size of your market and your competitors market share to make realistic financial projections.
4. Lack of Evidence – This goes hand in hand with lack of research. Many business plans assert that the market is attractive or that there are no direct competitors currently on the market. These claims need to be proven with evidence. What makes the market attractive? If there aren’t any direct competitors, which companies will you most closely compete with?
5. Disorganized Logic – Many business plans present objections or accomplishments that the business will achieve. However, they are not supported with clear logic that shows how these objectives or accomplishments will be achieved.
6. Unclear Format – In many cases, problems with disorganized logic can be as simple as the format in which the statement is made. Use graphs, charts, images, infographics, bullets, prose, etc appropriately.
7. Jargon Language – If you are operating in an industry that is rich with industry-specific jargon, do not assume that your reader understands the jargon. Be sure to provide definitions and to complete spell out abbreviations.
Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.