By Catherine R. Sands on July 11 2018 11:10:05
Don’t make common mistakes. I’ve seen thousands of business plans, good and bad, and I can tell you that avoiding these common business planning errors will put you far ahead of the curve.
Business plans may be internally or externally focused. Externally focused plans target goals that are important to external stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. They typically have detailed information about the organization or team attempting to reach the goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers. External stake-holders of non-profits include donors and the clients of the non-profits services. For government agencies, external stakeholders include tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, various economic agencies of the United Nations, and development banks.
While every business owner should have an ongoing planning process to help them run their business, not every business owner needs a complete, formal business plan suitable for submitting to a potential investor, or bank, or venture capital contest. So don’t include outline points just because they are on a big list somewhere, or on this list, unless you’re developing a standard business plan that you’ll be showing to someone who expects to see a standard business plan.
Make it clear and concise; include only the most important elements, keeping it at a maximum of half a page. To create the summary go back over your plan, pick three or four key messages and write a brief overview, then conclude with details of the action you want the reader to take.
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