Steps to Avoid Wasting Time on a Poorly Written Business Plan

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Your business plan is the road map to your organization’s future. Unfortunately, many organizations have substandard business plans that do not accomplish their needs. Many suffer from lack of clarity, cohesiveness and clear demonstrated understanding of what they hope to do. These business plans may serve to address some short-term goal, but do not serve as a resource the organization needs for its ongoing success. Common pitfalls in business plans include:

· Poor demonstration of writing skills

· Lack of functionality

· Unrealistic performance expectations

· Unverifiable data

· Unclear organization beliefs

· Insufficient market data

· Lack of recent data

· Lack of industry, market or competitive research

· Lack of principal advisement

· Unrealistic financial goals or statements

· Lack of or poor operating procedures

Venture Capitalists and potential investors want and need to have a business plan that makes sense in order for them to put their money behind a project. While their initial emphasis might be on what the organization is does, they will need to be able to envision the business as one that works and can ultimately and realistically make money. A good business plan:

· Shows a thorough understanding of the industry

· Shows good understanding of organizational thinking

· Provides business clarity

· Forces organizational leadership to think through every area of the business

· Provides a good baseline for goal setting and measurement

· Defines criteria for next stage planning

· Helps leadership to understand requirements for the organization

· Provides justification for starting or growing the organization

· Helps define a clear, compelling set of belief statements for the organization

As your road map and ambassador for your organization, your business plan needs to demonstrate, clearly, your organization’s capabilities. While some business owners invest in developing the plan on their own, many times, the business plan simply lacks the depth it needs in order to meet the required objectives.

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