Business Plan Mistake #1 – No Plan

by Feb 9, 2010Strategy | Entrepreneurship

For many years, I’ve taught  a short workshop on the 10 mistakes business owners make when it comes to business planning. Since only a handful of people can attend at any given time, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at the mistakes, one day at a time.

Today we begin with Mistake #1 – No Plan

Many business owners put off writing a business plan until they have no choice because their banker, investor, or potential landlord requires it. This is a huge mistake! It is easy to put off writing your plan for “someday when you have the time.” But you will never have enough time unless you make the time. The busier you are, the more you need a plan to guide and simplify your decision-making process and automate day-to-day operations. A well-thought-out plan will help you do just that.

Writing a plan does not have to be overwhelming or incredibly time consuming. You can get started with a simple outline and refine it along the way.
To begin, find a three-ring binder. No excuses that you don’t have time to go to the office supply store. Everyone has at least one binder lying around somewhere. Next, add a stack of loose-leaf or copier paper with the holes already punched. Finally, get a set of tabs or dividers so you can label each section of the plan. The titles of each section should be:
  • Executive Summary
  • History and Position to Date
  • Market Research
  • Business Strategy
  • Operations
  • Financial Performance
  • Appendix

Now start collecting all the scraps of paper, notes, and ideas you have stored somewhere, and start organizing your information.   Before long you will be well on your way to a productive plan.


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