How to Avoid Pitfalls in Creating a Business Plan for a Small Business

After reading how to create a business plan, and getting all of your facts and figures straight, there are few key things to bear in mind before you get overly excited and share it with the relevant people.


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    Avoid glamorizing your business plan. While you might have fantastic computer skills and a creative flair to beat all creative flair, it won't improve your business plans. Keep the artwork, the fancy fonts, the pretty borders for your menus, brochures, advertising, signage, etc. instead. A business plan must be clean, crisp, and easy to read by a range of persons with varying levels of interest in and understanding of your business. Distractions such as artwork can lead to questioning the seriousness of your plan, and whether or not you're making a deliberate attempt to distract from not having adequate information available in the plan.
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    Avoid business jargon or tech-speak. The big words sound good but they don't always mean the same thing to you and the reader. And as soon as you get technical in a field that isn't your expertise, you risk losing the reader and making errors. Stick to the facts and to what you know best. Use plain English, simple words, and get to the point.
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    Avoid abbreviations and your own shortcuts unless these are clearly explained at the beginning of the business plan. People who haven't a clue about your business will be reading this document; don't assume they know your "in-speak".
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    Avoid grandstanding. Big statements about where you believe things are headed are meaningless without backing them up and they tend to worry people that the stars are in your eyes. Keep your mission circumspect, keep it reined in, keep it doable. Moreover, reference your statements where possible, to provide evidence for your assertions.
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    Don't look for investment until you have a business plan. Do that and you'll be floundering. Investors do not like being placed in the position of advising you what to do and how to sort out your morass of ideas. That should be done well in advance of seeking them out.
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    Get to the point. Avoid lengthy descriptions or rambling ideas. Make your point quickly each time and use engaging language that a reader can get through easily. Break down difficult concepts into simple language and use diagrams, charts, etc., if these help to simplify.
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    Don't expect your business plan to be finished quickly. A good business plan takes time. Time to research, to look at both the benefits and disadvantages of your ideas, and to find all the facts and figures. This is going to take several months, including thinking time.
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    Proofread. Spelling areas, mistakes with names, figures, etc., and grammar faux pas are unforgivable and reduce the sense of confidence in your venture. If you're not confident with your writing skills, enlist the help of someone who is good at this and have them check for errors. Get someone who is good with numbers to check your figures; and double check them too.


  • Don't be afraid of writing a business plan; if this is the part holding you back from launching a new business, get help from books, business bureaus, mentors, etc.

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Categories: Buying & Forming a Business