10 Common Business Plan Mistakes

Are you thinking about getting your business plan underway? Many elements go into a good business plan. And it often takes time, patience, and many revisions before you get it right. Set yourself up for success by learning how to avoid these ten common business plan mistakes.

1. Unrealistic Financial Projections

Lenders and investors expect to see a realistic picture of where your business is now and where you hope it goes. One of the most common business plan mistakes is overestimating the value of your company. Ensure your plan is pragmatic and explain your projections. This way, lenders and investors are much more likely to accept your plan, knowing you’re thinking logically.

2. Not Defining a Target Audience

You must define your specific target market, present how you’ve made these assumptions, and outline how you’ll target them. No business will appeal to everyone, so think carefully about who your audience is. 

Need help defining your target market and learning about market research? We offer resources such as a Market Research Resources Guide, seminars on market research and one-on-one consultations with in-house experts. 

3. Too Much Hype

It’s essential to believe in your business idea. But, to truly showcase its potential, you should focus on providing backup for this belief. Instead of relying on superlatives like “hottest” and “greatest,” wow them with your well-researched business plan. Let your good ideas and preparation speak for themselves.

4. Poor Research

Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Remember to double-check and substantiate all your research. Using incorrect or out-of-date information would discredit your business idea and plan. If you need clarification, get a colleague, friend, or family member to help you review it.

5. No Focus on Your Competition

Even if your business is one-of-a-kind, there’s no such thing as no competition. It’s important to highlight your competition, but not so much that the investor worries the business won’t survive. Focus on your niche and what separates you from other companies. Highlight how you plan to compete in the marketplace and paint an accurate picture of what the industry is like now and where you see it going.

6. Hiding Your Weaknesses

Every business has weaknesses, but you could risk deterring the investor if you hide or highlight them too much. The best way to address them is to include a detailed strategy for solving them. Ensure you’re being realistic and tackle these weaknesses head-on.

7. Not Knowing Your Distribution Channels

Consider how you will provide your service or distribute your product and create a secure plan. Include all possible channels and explain why they’re correct for reaching your target market. Your ability to articulate your strategy for how your product or service will reach clients is vital.

8. Including Too Much Information

Most investors have a mental checklist of 10 to 12 points they’re looking for in a business plan. The purpose of your plan is not to show the depth of your knowledge but to focus on the key elements of your business. Strive for clear and concise writing. If you have more information you want to include, create an appendix.

9. Being Inconsistent

Take time to review each section of your business plan and ensure it’s consistent. Double-check your highlighted target markets, statistics, and strategies to show investors you’re well-prepared and knowledgeable.

10. One Writer, One Reader

Remember to ask several people to review your plan before submitting it. Since you’re familiar with the information, it’s easy to miss spelling and grammatical errors. Another set of eyes will help your plan look more professional and ensure it reads correctly.

Need Help with your Business Plan?

Get started on your business plan by downloading our Business Plan Template and Cashflow Forecasting Tool.

Small Business BC’s advisors will help review your business plan and provide you with feedback with our Business Plan Review Advisory Service.

How Small Business BC Can Help Your Business

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.