5 mistakes most businesses make when writing their business plan

Hi guys! I’m Angeline and here I am again with another one of my video blogs. So this week I wanted to pick up from my last video where I talked
about why you need a business plan. So in my business I specialise in business
strategy and planning and I see a lot of mistakes in this area and to be honest
in the early days of running my business I was making those same mistakes myself. So this week I wanted to talk about the five mistakes that most businesses make
when it comes to business planning. Let’s start! Mistake #1: They think they don’t have to write it down because it’s all in their head. Now this is pretty common amongst sole traders or businesses where there’s
say the business owner plus one or two admin staff. In my last video that I did on business planning, I explain why writing it down is so so so important so if you haven’t already, go and watch that video first but in a nutshell things don’t become real until you write them down. I
mean there’s a hell of a lot to remember as a business owner, so just make it
easier on yourself and get your plan on paper. It’s also really easy to
get off course if things are all in your head. And finally the most obvious reason
to write it down is what happens if you get hit by bus! It makes it pretty hard for
anyone else who’s trying to pick up from where you left off to know what to do next. So that’s mistake #1. Mistake #2: They think they can write a bunch of bullet points on a page and
call that a business plan. Look, this might be okay for some but it’s not
really a plan. Really what that is is a thought bubble or a brainstorming
session, but you’ve got to put a bit more work into it if you want to build a
business that’s going to be successful. At a minimum your plan should
cover the basic information about your business structure and ownership,
your products and services, current clients and prospects,
your sales and marketing strategy and plan, and your financials and operations. And it should briefly summarise both the current position for each of those
things and your goals and objectives in each of these areas.
So if you can fit all of that into one page with a few bullet points, well done.
I mean you want to keep it succinct but really let’s not let “succinctness” be an excuse for doing
a half-arsed job with our business plan. So that’s mistake #2. Mistake #3: They think that the business plan
has to be an encyclopedia. Really this is the opposite of mistake #2. If you look
at all the business planning templates that are available online,
you actually can be forgiven for making this mistake. But truly if you’re not
willing to regularly read, reread and update a 100 or 200 page document (and
let’s be honest who is?) then don’t write one. You want to keep it succinct.
You want to cover the main points and just get on with it.
And to me a 1-2 pag e Executive Summary which anyone without any
knowledge of your business should be able to pick up and understand, plus
maybe a page or two for each of the major sections of your plan,
is more than enough. That would take you to about 10-15 pages,
which is plenty. Mistake #4: They think it has to be written in
Microsoft Word. Now OK, Word is the traditional way to record information and it’s usually the default option for most people but there are many other
ways or other formats you can actually use to document your business plan.
You could do a sort of a matrix style plan on an A3- or an A1-sized paper
and you can pin it up on the board for the staff to see. Butcher paper and whiteboards are also
great for that type of plan. If you are going to use those things I do recommend that you periodically take snapshots of what’s up on the board, just so that
you’re keeping a bit of an audit trail and you’re taking a snapshot of
the status of each plan as you change it and tweak it over time. Another option is to use the intranet or
maybe sites like Google Sites or OneDrive to create a web page for each of the different sections of the business plan and
that would make it so much easier to review and update because you’d be doing
small sections at a time. It’s also really easy to share those types of
things with your staff and partners. So be creative. Do what works for
you. You don’t have to have a Word document. As long as you’re
making it a document or a format that it’s easy for you to review and update
in future. I will also note though that if you you are writing a business plan because you need it to apply for a bank loan or to get other funding, then
to make sure that whatever means you use to document your plan is transportable
into a Word or PDF format. Because most likely your investors will
want to see it in that way. Mistake #5: They treat the
business plan as a one-off exercise. They write it and they never look at it
again. And frankly this is the most common mistake I’ve seen. Now in my last video on business planning I talked about you know the fact that the
business plan itself is really the outcome or the output of your planning
process. So if you’re using your business plan as a tool – like the document as a
tool – for your business planning process then it stands to reason that
you’re going to update it and review it periodically because you don’t just plan
once and then never do any further planning. As you continue to plan, you
continue to update your business plan. That covers the five biggest mistakes
I’ve come across with respect to business planning. Now they probably
sound obvious to you but you’d be amazed how many times I see businesses making
these mistakes. And chances are you’ve made at least one of these mistakes in
your business. So if you found this video useful
please like and share it with your networks and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel
so that you’ll get notified each time I publish a new video. And this week I would love to know if you have a business plan and if you do
what format is it in and how long is it and do you review it regularly? Write
your answer in the comments below and I’ll be sure to respond. So thanks again for watching. Until next time bye for now . See ya.

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