When you’re starting up a business, you would be a fool to try and do so without a business plan. It is so important to have this in place. Most entrepreneurs realise this and so have a blueprint in place in order to try and structure their startup from the very beginning.
However, even though the majority of businesses have such a plan in place, more often than not the plan has not been thought out properly and so fails. Does this ring true to your company? Do you know why your business might plan be failing?
Below you can find out more about five of the biggest reasons why your business plan might not be working and how you can resolve the problems you’re experiencing.
1. You’re not thinking about your target audience
Your business plan needs to be focused. This means identifying your target audience and making sure your plan specifically references this audience. If you are focused on a target audience it will mean you are addressing their concerns and questions, which will help you. If you try to be everything for everyone, you will fail.
2. You’re focusing too hard on all the minute details
Your business plan should not be an in-depth thesis! Because you know all the inner workings of your business you will probably want to explain this in great detail to anyone who will listen but most of the time this will not actually add any value to the person reading it. Indeed, it is likely to put the reader off, which means the more relevant parts of your business plan will be missed!
When writing your plan, make sure you are thinking about the audience and only provide the detail that is needed. Before finalising the plan it is always best to re-read and edit it a few times. Doing this will ensure you keep cutting out the ‘bumf’ that’s not really needed. Always get at least one other person to read your plan too – this will ensure it makes sense to an outsider.
3. You don’t understand or haven’t explained your market
Many entrepreneurs are guilty of copying and pasting text that they find online from the market section of other companies’ business plans. This is extremely lazy and investors or anyone else worth their salt will recognise this when reading your plan. When writing this section, you must therefore ensure the detail relates to your business.
You must break down your market and ensure your business plan identifies who you are targeting, who is relevant to your business and what all the specific characteristics of your target market are. You also need to think about who you are writing for and explain the market in a manner that is appropriate to them.
4. You’ve ignored the financials
For many, the financial aspect of running a business is the most terrifying. However, you cannot hide from it and the business plan should have a whole section dedicated to financials. If you need help, ask for it from an accountant! It is important to get it right from the start and tell readers the whole story. The financial story needs to be told in a simple style to make sure it is accessible and, most importantly, told in a manner that shows its relevance.
5. You’ve only focused on the present not the future
Many people have their business plans focusing so much on the present that they forget to look forward to the future. It is so important to explain what’s next, in addition to explaining what the current situation is. Context is, of course, vital but anyone interested in your business will also want to know what your plans are for both the short, medium and long term.
Following the pointers above is a very good start for preparing your business plan. However, you should also be prepared to constantly revisit your business plan since it will need to change as your business grows and you have to adapt to the various market opportunities and challenges.