Are you trying to create a solid business plan, but you’re worried you might be making some mistakes that could compromise your success in the future?
You’ve been comparing different startup ideas that make money for months, and you’ve finally settled on a product or service you’re confident can be the foundation of your successful business. Now it’s time to turn your attention to creating a rock-solid business plan to make it all happen, but you’re not sure how to get started and you’re worried that a less-than-comprehensive plan will put you at a disadvantage straight out of the gate. While there’s no such thing as the “perfect” business plan, there are some things you can do to avoid making some critical mistakes during this important step.
Here are just a few of the worst business plan mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
- No Business Plan at All
It’s easy to get so excited about your business that you forget to plan for the future, and while it’s okay to be excited, you don’t want to neglect your business plan as a result. Worse still, some business owners are so confident in what they’re selling they intentionally set out with no plan at all.
Whether your business model is as simple as answering questions for money online or as complex and red-tape laden as starting a restaurant, you need to have a business plan in place from day one. According to Fortune, there are incredibly few business opportunities that don’t require solid planning, so don’t be one of those business owners who thinks they can totally handle the complexities of running a business just by “winging it.”
- No Marketing Strategy
Your business may offer the best product or service in the industry, but if no one knows who you are or what you’re selling, it probably won’t do you much good. You can’t expect to reach the top of your industry without a marketing strategy. You may get lucky at first, but over time, you’ll find that you need a strong marketing plan in order to reach your goals.
According to The Balance, there are 10 basic questions you can answer when creating a marketing plan to start out on the right foot. Without a marketing strategy, you’ll struggle to make decisions about how to connect with your target audience or where to spend advertising dollars, costing you time and money.
- Neglecting the Financial Side of Your Business
Entrepreneur shares six financial mistakes small business owners are prone to make. For example, impulse spending during the startup phase is incredibly common; you’re so excited about getting up and running that you spend, spend, and spend some more. Unfortunately, making this mistake early can cost you big time.
So many companies have failed because of bad money management; like your personal finances, running a business requires commitment and a strategy for paying down debt, making bill payments on time, and having a little extra leftover to play with.
- Not Hiring the Right Team
Even if you plan to keep your company small, there will come a time when you need to hire employees. It’s important to find talented individuals who share your vision and enthusiasm for your brand; you cannot just hire the first applicant who sends in a decent resume.
Inc shares some killer advice for attracting and retaining the best talent to put your company in position to succeed. Remember that your business plan should reflect information about who you might need to hire and what skills or qualities you might be looking for in a candidate. A good business owner knows when to delegate.
- It’s Just Too Long
It’s a common misconception that longer is better when creating a business plan. Yes, it’s important to include as much information as possible and be thorough, but that doesn’t mean filling your business plan with fluff so you can take it to the bank and make it look as though you’re super committed and organized.
According to Bplans, an internal business plan can be as short as 5 to 10 pages, and even if you’re creating a business plan to share with potential investors, it shouldn’t be any longer than 20 to 40 pages.
Although these are not the only mistakes you can make as you develop your business plan, they are some of the most common roadblocks new entrepreneurs face. Fortunately, when you plan ahead and take your time, you can develop a strong business plan that doesn’t fall victim to these pitfalls.
Have you made any mistakes with your business plan drafts in the past? Share your learning experiences in the comments.