What are the most common mistakes when writing a business plan? 

Watch our short video that explains how to avoid making common mistakes when writing your business plan.

With the right preparation, your business plan will be a powerful tool that enables you to make quick decisions, rapidly adjust your processes and decisions and optimise management of the team. 

Avoid making the following mistakes.

Using a single static plan 

Things constantly change within the VCSE environment. A good business plan is never truly finished. Undertake a lean plan and keep it focused. Revisit it regularly and be brave enough to alter or amend it if you think it’s right to do so. 

Losing the focus on income 

While income is not our prime reason for existing it is vitally important. A business plan that does not mention income and expenditure or set out your funding requirements for now and the future is not a solid and robust plan.

Skipping idea validation 

Never underestimate the importance of an idea. Ensure your plan sets out the idea, how you came to the conclusions you did and what you require to execute it. Give idea validation some critical thought. It may present your organisation with opportunities to generate income or enable you to deliver more to many. 

Making the planning process overwhelming 

Writing a business plan is not as hard as you might think. For example, a simple, lean plan contains a few pages of bullet-point lists, tables, and essential projections. Never get tempted to make the business plan process overwhelming. 

Vague goals or objectives 

Leave out vague and meaningless business phrases. Remember that the objective of a plan is its results, and for results, you need tracking and evaluation, as well as well-defined and robust objectives in the first place. If you cannot define these, then some development work is required before writing any business plan. 

Thinking that all business plans need to be the same 

Each plan should be unique to the circumstances of your organisation and tailored accordingly. 

Showing a distinct lack of care 

Funders will see through poorly thought out or careless business plans. If you start from the premise of a plan being a good thing to do for the organisation, rather than a burden on the organisation’s time, your finished business plan should be robust, well presented, and full of useful and informative content. 

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