10 Ways Not to Write a Business PlanPosted by Jessica Oman
There are many different ways to write a business plan. No single template works for all businesses, in all industries, for all purposes. A business plan is, to use a cliché, as unique as a fingerprint. But there are some elements most experts would agree should stay out of any business plan.
Thus, I give you my Top Ten Ways Not to Write Your Business Plan.
10. Don’t use superlatives. You are probably not the “only” person to ever make a sandwich as good as the ones you’ll sell. And your product probably isn’t the most innovative one ever, and you aren’t guaranteed to be a market leader.
9. Don’t claim that your target market is everybody. Yes, everyone needs to eat. But a 54-year-old man who drives a Cadillac and has two kids probably doesn’t want to eat the same pizza in the same restaurant as a teenager whose phone is an extension of her hand.
8. Don’t understaff your business in order to save money. It’s a huge red flag. If you are going to be successful, you need human resources. Sooner than you think.
7. Don’t write claims like “If we capture just 1% of this market, we will make millions of dollars!” 1% could be millions of people. Do a thorough assessment of your potential market share, and back it up with research.
6. Don’t use clichés to try to be persuasive. Clichés don’t work and they are not effective.
5. Don’t forget to include a line to pay yourself. Have you been living on $400 per month your whole life? No? That means you won’t be able to live on $400 per month when you start your business. Pay yourself what you need to earn to sustain the life you lead now.
4. Don’t underestimate your start-up costs. It will cost more than you think to start your business. No, really. It will.
3. Don’t show a hockey stick-shaped revenue growth chart. Really? Your rubber gumboots are THAT good?
2. Don’t claim you have no competitors. You do. And if somehow you don’t have them now, you will.
1. Don’t try to write your Executive Summary first. How can you summarize what you haven’t written yet?
Do you agree or disagree? What else would you add to this list?