Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How NOT to Write a Business Plan

The Wall Street Journal's Business Insight section on Monday, June 22, 2009, featured an entrepreneurship article titled "Why Business Plans Don't Deliver."

Since I write business plans, I wanted to be sure that I was in synch with what this expert had to say. I am. The article pointed out the five most common flaws in plans. Reading them made me laugh because they are the same flaws I see most in the plans that are brought to me for editing. The top five are:

1. Being in love with your own idea and not paying any attention to filling a real need.
2. Unrealistic sales projections -- not knowing enough about the markets you're entering.
3. Over projecting sales, without understanding costs.
4. Over-hyping the management team without realizing they don't have the skills or background needed.
5. Not being aware of the risks and pitfalls ahead.

When I worked for Business Plans International, we never put in a risks section because we felt that was for the lawyers to do. However, I believe that a well researched competitive analysis that explains how your company distinguishes itself helps investors know that you have thought things through.

The article is well worth reading.
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/business-insight/articles/2009/2/5121/why-business-plans-dont-deliver/

If you need a plan edited or written, please contact me at: upstartwyn@gmail.com and visit my Web site at: www.upstartbusinessplanning.com. I've been writing plans that answer the questions investors ask most often since 1999.
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