Every business needs a business plan. Plans keep businesses focused, owners on track, and ensure no steps are missed. Here are some common obstacles to writing a business plan — and how to overcome them.
- Lack of planning experience
Just because you’ve never done one before, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or you can’t. Basic templates are just a Google away. Or just make a list of your goals and some steps along the way to get there. Map them out on a calendar. It’s a start.
- Writer’s block
You’re stuck before the writing even begins. Try brainstorming. Do you need more clients? Want to earn enough to buy a new home? Do you want to make more money in less time, or provide a specific service? Find two new clients a month? All of these goals can be part of a plan.
- Detailed financials
The plan itself isn’t a problem, but gathering all the information seems tricky. You’ll need to pull together all of your money matters, and that’s a level of detail some business owners may not have. It’s worth taking the time to gather this, since the more detailed your plan, the more actionable it will be.
Every business has competitors. Maybe you have unique skills or live in an unique area, but there’s still some kind of service that could siphon off some part of your business. Every business has risk. The risk could involve wasting a small amount of time, or it could involve mortgaging your house. There’s always some kind of risk.
- Thinking too big
Sure, business plans are about a map for the future. But focusing on nothing but the big picture means missing out on all the steps that bring a vision to life. A business plan is a roadmap, not a model of the universe.
- Being unrealistic
Dreaming leads to success, but a quality business plan has a firm grounding in reality. Sales, investments, cash flow, experience, all of these things should work together to create an accurate picture that you, your investors, your bankers and your clients can understand.
- Too broad an audience
Very few businesses can accurately claim large swaths of the population as customers. If a business’ focus is so broad as to include all possible adults, then that means it really targets no one.
- No eyes on the prize
One of the main reasons to create a business plan is to solicit funding, from investors or a bank. They’ll want all the specifics you can provide, in concrete terms — no sugarcoating, no funny math, no exaggeration, but lots of detail and facts.
- No time
Business plans take time to hone and make actionable. If you don’t have the extra time, you can outsource. It’s one of things Back Office Brigade does, for example. Don’t let a lack of time keep you from doing something key to growing your business.