All businesses started with business plans – unfortunately, most of these plans weren’t effective. For those who can still get funding (thanks to personal connections or sheer luck), they iron out the details as they go or fail because of them. For those who aren’t able to get funding without ironing out those details, they have to go back to the drawing board. Eliminating those shortcomings can make all of the difference in getting funding and starting your business.
Some of these shortcomings are easy to fix, and others aren’t. As an accounting firm that does business plan reviews, we have seen reports from people with great ideas but poorly written plans. We have also seen extremely well-written plans for businesses that are less than inspired. Regardless, we have read over and created business plans of all kinds – and they all have similar problems.
Here are the most common shortcomings we see in business plans:
Your Research Is Out of Date
We tend to do research early in the business planning stage. By the time we present our business plans, this means that the information is outdated or incorrect. In using information that isn’t relevant or accurate, you will discredit your business idea and the remainder of the plan.
You Just Aren’t A Writer
One shortcoming that is incredibly common is that you just aren’t a good writer. It could be that the plan itself is poorly written or that the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are off in the document. Stylistically, you want to come across as professional and mature, but you also want something that will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Before you show your business plan to anyone, make sure that you go through every line and ensure what you say is what you mean and what you say is appropriate. Run your spell check and have someone you know with strong editorial skills review it for grammar problems.
Not Admitting Weaknesses
Many entrepreneurs fall upon their own swords. No plan is infallible and not admitting to where your weaknesses are can actually hurt you more than not having them at all. If you can identify your weaknesses, do so. If you cannot, sit on your plan until you can.
The only way to address these weaknesses is to include a detailed strategy of how you plan to address them. It shows funders that you have thought everything through and you have a mind for fixing problems.
You Didn’t Dedicate Any Time To Your Competition
Even if you have a unique business idea, you are bound to have competition somewhere. With the internet, almost everything is available to everyone. Even if your business is one of a kind and offers a service one cannot get online, you still have competition for your money. Since your business doesn’t exist, where are people spending the money they will eventually spend on you?
Highlight your competition and discuss how you will overcome them. Don’t spend too much time here, or the investor will worry that the business won’t survive. Focus on your niche, what differentiates you from your competition, how you plan to compete, and why you will earn clients.
You Aren’t Consistent
You probably didn’t sit at a computer and type up your business plan in one day. In fact, it was probably written over a long time. This type of writing, while necessary, invites inconsistency in messaging. You want to ensure that you continually use congruent statistics, have a clear path in your strategies, and you are using the same tone.
Sections of plans should be read in order before you submit it – even if you didn’t write them that way.
Need Help With Your Business Plan?
Do you have a great idea for a business but need funders and a business plan? At IC Quantum, we can help you to present a business plan that will have funders lining up for your services. We have years of experience in guiding people to make the right decisions about their business, starting with feasibility studies and ending with working hand-in-hand with them to handle the bookkeeping once their business has flourished.
Ready to get started? Give us a call today at +27 87 980 0000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.