Business Plan, Business Start up, Family Business

What’s wrong with a business plan template?

I’m a big fan of anyone that has decided to start a business venture!

Within my professional network, family, and friends, I’ve had the privilege of helping a few start their business by answering questions related to business registration, government, and factors to be aware.

By my own observation, one of the many things an eager entrepreneur will do is start by searching online for a “business plan template”. As you can imagine there will be numerous templates on the Internet. Let me quickly do a Google search! The search results were populated in 0.98 seconds with results of 11,100,000 sites.

You must be wondering; “Well, what is wrong with that?”. There is nothing wrong with a business plan template. In my experience, here are few observations that I’ve noticed when someone uses a template:

  • Where do you start?

People may not know where to start. They often will fill in the template from the first page and move down to the last. The business plan has a specific structure, however completing it does not mean it’s in the order the index has listed each category. For example, although the Executive Summary is the first section of a business plan, it is the last section to be completed. Start with what you know!

  • Research, research, and research!

People have not taken the time to conduct thorough research on their idea, the industry, and their competitors. As a result, this leaves several blank spots throughout the plan. Research supports your business idea. The lack of credible sources to support why the market needs your product or service may not give a favorable impression for an investor or business partner. Remeber there is “No crystal ball; just research!”.

  • Take your time:

Do not rush to complete your business plan. The business plan is never a finished document. It’s always evolving.  Do not treat it like a school project hoping to complete all categories in one night. It does not have to be 100% perfect. Thorough research will help to improve the business objectives and strategic direction.

  • Keep it professional:

Remember tone in which you write your business plan is important. You are creating a document that you will use as a guide. If you decide to share it, it must intrigue the audience to read through to the end. I once read a business plan that someone had written stating; “…Like I said in the last section” a big no no! Keep it professional.

In my next post; “Not another business plan template” I will go into details of tips that have helped me along the way.  Do not worry! Yes, each section may seem overwhelming. However, if you believe in your product or service, you will want to take the necessary time to complete it.

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