One always hopes to attract attention to their business plan for the right reasons - for the sound ideas and investment potential found inside. Any other attempts to have your plan stand out from the rest, whether it be cute and colourful graphics, or artistic font choices - will actually work against you. Potential investors will dismiss your plan as amateurish and 'substandard', and make quick disposal of all your hard work. Here are a few tips to help you avoid some common business plan mistakes.
Besides that first impresssions of a clean and professional cover sheet, your text should be accurate and up-to-date. Lenders and investors like real numbers, so do your best to include appropriate graphs and charts to visualize your data. Be clear and concise. If your plan is lacking in information (you are unable to persuade readers that you have no competitors in the market, for example) then you need to re-examine your strategy altogether.
Investors love to see large markets for their products and services, and to see the market need. This isn't always easy to find, especially when an 'unsatisfied need' has many other competitors waiting to launch their own idea. In this case, you would have to show that you can create a competitive edge against other businesses.
Your plan has to show that you can put up "blocks to imitation" and protect your edge. These blocks could be in the form of information that you and your team possess, or intellectual property such as a patented product, process, or trade secret.
A good plan will use case studies from other businesses with similar business models, distribution, marketing or exit strategies. Using these methods can go a long way in showing readers that you have a good prospect.