Writing a Business Plan is Hard

Posted in Business Plan Tips
By David Kaplan -
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No wonder most entrepreneurs and small businesses don’t have a business plan.  Writing a useful business plan requires…

  • Taking substantial time away from other responsibilities to concentrate on growth, competitiveness, planning and writing
  • Ability to “scope” correctly so that the plan contains neither too much or too little information
  • Substantial and relevant research into markets, customers, competitors and industry dynamics
  • Credible strategic thinking that sets the direction of major business activities
  • Integrating strategies so that all the plan sections fit together logically
  • Writing plan sections in clear, concise, grammatically correct language that is lively to read
  • Writing with enthusiastiam without over-selling the product, market and business opportunity
  • Anticipating challenges to your basic premises about the product, market and opportunity
  • Levels of detail and process that typically lie outside an entrepreneur’s comfort zone
  • Identifying all the crucial (and tough) strategic choices and making them wisely
  • Systematically seeking criticism from skeptics to refine the plan and address perceived weakness
  • Reevaluating strategies that others see as weak and deciding whether to change them or not
  • Summarizing the most important aspects of the plan in a two-page-or-less executive summary

Difficult as these challenges may be, sound leadership requires that businesses face up to them.  There are good reasons that the old maxim still survives that says “Failure to plan is a plan for failure.”  According to a U.S. Bank study, 78% of businesses fail because that do not have a well-developed business plan.  At the risk of quoting another ancient truism, “Each hour spent planning is worth two hours saved during implementation.”  Planning pays off better than most management activities and is the most reliable way to improve business performance.  Business gurus continue to recite these old saws because they are true.  Make a detailed plan, write it down, have the smartest people in and outside your organization read it, edit and correct it and then follow it!

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