"Mistakes" in a business plan are a subjective thing. While text books and "professionals" can tell you that a plan should read this way or that, most of this advice is based on personal preference. Some readers like to hear a story, some want to know just about the facts and figures. Every time a business plan goes out the door at MasterPlans, there is a risk that someone won't like the style. What we have come to understand is that you can't satisfy every possible reader. So here are some basic guidelines.
Avoid sensational language. No one buys it anyway so leave the rhetorical questions and exaggerations out. "Do you want to be rich?" "Do you wish you invested in Microsoft? Well now is your chance!" Leave this stuff out. Stay focused on what you are doing and don't try to oversell. The concept should stand alone on the plan and management.
Give Assumptions to reasoning. Putting a $1MM in first year sales is fine, but tell the reader why. Just because you say so isn't a good enough answer.
Too long winded!. Shorten it up. Some of the best business plans are under 30 pages. If you can't explain it in 30 pages, it's probably too complex to just trust a reader to get it. Make it 15 and draw pictures and give a slide presentation how it works.
Unrealistic Funding Requirements. "I need $250,000 to open a restaurant, so I'll ask for million and see what happens." You lose all creditability waltzing around with a plan carrying $600,000 in cash. You need padding but not enough to flee the country with.
Too Broad a Target Market. Many times client say the potential client is "everyone." Ideally, perhaps, but starting off you need to have a group to go after. And focus your marketing. If it really is everyone, make it everyone in a geography first. Marketing to the planet is super-expensive and usually unrealistic. Hone your target and expand from there.
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