How To - Know all the Dos and Don'ts in Business Plans

Here are a few of the more important pitfalls and tips when you are preparing a business plan.

  1. Do create a vision.
    Do not get caught up in the process of planning your business and lose sight of your initial vision or goals.

  2. Do not ignore your market.
    This may sound obvious, but you must not ignore your customers. Too many business owners believe that they know what their customers want without even bothering to ask them. Your business is about meeting the needs of your customers. Your business plan should therefore be about how you propose to meet those needs. Do not ignore the power of customer discussion.

  3. Do take risks.
    If you are going into business you need to be prepared to take risks. Creating a business plan isn’t designed for you to avoid the risk, rather it is designed in such a way that you are able to manage your risk. A good plan will anticipate future challenges and put in place strategies for dealing with these challenges.

  4. Do budget.
    Your financial budget is perhaps one of the key elements of your business plan. You need to do some research to be sure that some of the assumptions and facts and figures that you are basing your budgets on are accurate. If they are not, then the financial information in your budget will not reflect what the situation would most likely be. A solid business plan must have a solid financial budget included.

  5. Do not underestimate the competition.
    Many businesses put in their plan that they have little competition. This is not smart because your business will have competitors even if you think you have a unique product that no-one else can match. It is far better to include in your business plan that you have competitors and that you have researched how they do things and come up with a plan whereby you can compete against them adequately.

  6. Do involve others.
    A good business plan will include the views that other people have in your business. It is a good idea to bring in your managers and for each one to put together a short report of issues that they believe should be part of the business plan construction. Even if you are the only person that is involved in your business, it is still a good idea to put your information before an independent trusted person so you can get an objective view as well as suggestions that may make the plan a better document.

  7. Do not forget your advantage.
    Never lose sight of what makes your product or business unique. That is what is known as your strategic or market advantage. It is what makes your business different from your competitors. If that is a wow factor that will be of benefit to potential customers then you could have a potential gold mine. It is important for you to empathise what makes your business or your products special because it is the uniqueness that makes a difference.

  8. Do expect the unexpected.
    Don’t be fixed in your planning. Keep your mind open and allow for flexibility so that you can cope with any unexpected change in circumstances.

  9. Do not miss putting together a plan.
    The biggest mistake of all, is failing to even develop a business plan in the first place. Even though the business plan is not a guarantee that your business is going to succeed, it is better to have a map with directions of how to get to your destination than to have no map at all.


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