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5.0 Do’s and Don’ts

HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN >> Each section contains key Action Items located within the downloadable Action Guide >> Click to Download Action Guide.

THE DO’S AND THE DON’TS OF BUSINESS PLANNING

5.1    Things you should NOT include in your business plan

While there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to things you shouldn’t include in your business plan, there are a few things you probably want to leave out, including the following:

  • Superlatives: naturally you think your idea is the smartest, best, most intelligent concept to cross your investor’s desk.  But you shouldn’t say so.  Skip the self-congratulatory talk, overblown metaphors, or adjectives that make your business sound like the best thing ever.  It’s simply distracting and really, truly won’t do much in the way of convincing an investor that it’s so.
  • Mentions of things that don’t relate to your business: so you had a near death experience once. Maybe you’ve parachuted into the Andes and climbed Mt. Everest. Unless it’s directly related to your business idea and how you’ll run the company (and we’ll concede that the Everest thing could reflect some discipline) leave it out.  At worst you’ll put off your reader, at best you’ll sound like a blowhard.
  • Only happy, sunny sentences.  This speaks to the point above. You can’t fool an investor into thinking that your business idea is a good one just because you say so.  Don’t try to overly sugarcoat things or pretend that you won’t face challenges. Investors and lenders know better and you should too.

5.2    Things you SHOULD include in your business plan

Most of this we’ve already covered, but here’s a quick recap of some of the things investors and lenders expect from your business plan, boiled down to the most basic points:

  • A clear description of the problem, and how your business intends to solve it
  • Solid research that backs up your argument showing your business has opportunity, and that it will be profitable
  • Financials that demonstrate value to an investor, or that you’ll have the ability to pay your loan back to an investor
  • A realistic assessment of the difficulties, challenges, and troubles you may face

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

REVIEW your current business plan for the things that you SHOULD and should NOT include in your business plan. Just because you’ve seen other business plans with a particular section doesn’t mean you need the same content in your plan. Think through your business and business plan, then ask yourself what purpose each content section provides and how it will benefit the reader of your business plan.  After someone reviews your plan, you may be asked to provide additional information to them and that’s alright.  In fact, it demonstrates that they want to learn more about your business and provides an additional opportunity to meet with them.

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