You're here to learn about common business plan mistakes so you can avoid them and increase the odds of knocking your plan out of the park. For you, right now a better plan might mean improving your management skills, fostering better collaboration within your team, or perhaps to gain access to funding.
Regardless, may this content be a catalyst for your next amazing growth period. Let's dig in.
Recommended: Business planning software can help you write a professional business plan that will lead you to success.
No Legitimate 'Hard Copy' Plan
It's true, your mind is an absolutely astounding mind and you're a brilliant entrepreneur. But, you're not a robot. Like the rest of us, you NEED to get that web of interconnecting magic in your head written down or nailed down within professional cloud-based business planning software. This way everything can be parceled out, prioritized, optimized, etc.
Poorly Written Business Plans
Come on, it's the treasure map of your business. If you're too busy to dot your T's and cross your I's then your ability to properly command the troops must be waning. Either that or you're already close to burning out. Regardless of how pretty and polished your it may be, pretend you're the investor with cash on the line and you see common spelling/grammatical business plan mistakes...what would you do?
Overtly Hazy Objectives
Let's focus on a) your pitch, b) Executive Summary, and c) marketing. You can tell how refined objectives in these sections are by verbally practicing them to yourself in the mirror. Are they focused and easy to understand, or jumbled, hazy and not quite there yet? Your pitch should be nothing but power-statements, your Executive Summary filled with specifics, and your marketing goals direct.
Incomplete Business Plans
There are 6 critical areas that need to be completely filled out/thought through: customers, products and services, operations, marketing and sales, management team, and competitors or market analysis. Which means you now have a solid framework to start with no matter what. Although with providers like LivePlan you get access to hundreds of proven/tested customizable templates.
As an example, let's say you over-estimate the projected value of your company as-is and in the Funding section ask for zillions. Or, let's say you stuff your pitch with delusions of grandeur nowhere near present reality or the foreseeable future. There are many ways you can reduce the authenticity of your business plan; to water it down. Please avoid these and stay 100% genuine/grounded.
Too Many Priorities/Business Goals
This is one of those business plan mistakes that needs to be repeated as many times as it takes because once you reach a certain point it doesn't matter how well-written and polished your goals are...there's too many. No one likes the shotgun approach. Stick with the top three, at most. Anything else can be included in follow-up documents for your team or investors once they hop aboard.
To be clear - a "business plan" discusses the specifics of starting/growing a business platform. It's not a summary of what you're about and what your personal goals mean to you. Skip that fluff for later and stick to clear business objectives, strategies, the financials, etc.
Plan Properly & Start Smart
Business plans are critical guides and you don't want to waste your time and effort making one only to discover it’s of no use. If you need help writing (or fixing/optimizing), leverage inexpensive business plan software like LivePlan. They're our favorite. Our own 20-page business plan was curated on their platform where we still impeccably maintain it today. It's no risk to you, they have a 60-day money back guarantee (chances are you'll fall in love with their step-by-step approach by then).
For more information, check out our LivePlan review.