With all of the focus that goes into making a good professional business plan, it is sometimes easy to get a little fuzzy on what makes for a good business plan and a bad plan as well. Nobody sets out with the intention of making a bad business plan, usually it is the result of being a bit too optimistic, rushing through the plan or making small errors that are unfortunately caught by the end user rather than a business plan advisor. Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make when creating a business plan.
Don’t be unrealistically optimistic. It is one thing to have confidence, but it is quite another to allow that confidence to cloud your better judgment. Don’t fudge the positive figures up based on a gut feeling or what you hope may happen. Similarly, don’t downplay the bad. Keep an even hand when you include your projections. Over inflated income figures tend to stand out and will get your plan tossed by lenders.
Don’t rush through putting together a business plan. Take it slow and give each area of your plan equal attention. Each segment of a business plan carries an individual importance that cannot be understated. If the information was not important, it would not be a standard section of a business plan. It is tempting to focus heavily on income and new product/service projections, but the less racy areas are just as vital.
Finally, hire an independent set of eyes to look everything over if you prepare your own business plan. It is easy to miss small mistakes. The last thing you want is for a lender to look at your business plan and decide they cannot invest in your company because you cannot figure out how to properly add, subtract, or use the spell check feature. Lenders are picky and tough, and fair or not, they will pounce on any error as an excuse to move on to another proposal.