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The Most Common Business Plan Mistakes

Woman working on a business plan on a laptop computer

The Most Common Business Plan Mistakes

Avoid these five common mistakes when making your next business plan.

There are lots of things to consider when creating a business plan. And while there are plenty of resources about what you should do (including a few posts of our own on that subject), you should also know what not to do.

We’ve rounded up five of the most common business planning mistakes .

Business Planning Mistake #1: Misinformed Financial Tables

The financial details are some of the most important information you’ll include – but many plans suffer from inaccurate or incomplete financial data.

It’s important to have a solid understanding of costs, expenses, profits, margins, cash flow, and more. The best way to make sure everything is accounted for is to work closely with an advisor who knows the ins and outs. Our monthly Building Your Business Plan course and dedicated business consultants are a great place to start.

Business Planning Mistake #2: Idea Inflation

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your business plan is only about your idea. While a great idea is exciting, it takes a lot more than a great idea to build a successful business.

Your plan is a way to present information. Make sure it showcases your business knowledge, leadership skills, and abilities alongside your great idea. Don’t expect your business idea alone to do the work for you.

Business Planning Mistake #3: Vague Goals

Be careful not to fill your business plan with vague goals or unnecessary fluff. If your goal is simply to be ‘the best,’ you’re not being specific enough.

The plan should focus on objectives and the means of achieving them. Objectives and goals should be measurable, realistic, and quantifiable.

Business Planning Mistake #4: Taking a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Your business plan should be tailored for its intended audience. Are you presenting it to a banker in hopes of securing a loan? Are you approaching an individual about coming on board as a partner? Talking to a venture capital firm?

Think carefully about who will be reviewing your plan and try to anticipate their questions or concerns. Then work to clearly address those areas and provide adequate information.

Business Planning Mistake #5: Unrealistic Growth Projections

Does the growth chart in your business plan resemble a hockey stick? If it looks like you’ll be experiencing huge, exponential growth immediately (and indefinitely), you may be overestimating your trajectory.

Make projections that are conservative. When in doubt, be less optimistic.

The Business Plan Experts

If you’re ready to grow, we’re ready to help. Our team of dedicated small business consultants work with business owners every day to help start and grow businesses.

Learn how to set yourself and your business up for success at our monthly Building Your Business Plan training.