The most common mistake by far is on profits. Startups that grow don`t produce profits. Investors make money on valuation increases, not profits. Real businesses rarely produce more than single-digit profits. Big profit projections are sophomoric. Take all those profits and dump them into marketing expenses and you`ll be better off.
To understand your competitors and the industry, you`ll need to do market research. Invest time and effort and do market research correctly. A business can`t succeed if the owners don`t understand their industry, target customers, or the competition.
The executive summary of your business plan introduces your company, explains what you do, and lays out what you`re looking for from your readers. Structurally, it is the first chapter of your business plan. And while it`s the first thing that people will read, I generally advise that you write it last.
The investment decision is about the content – the team, the market, the differentiators, the scalability, traction so far, validators, growth potential – not the presentation or formatting of the plan.
Writing a business plan may seem like a big hurdle, but it doesn`t have to be. You know your business—you`re the expert on it. For that reason alone, writing a business plan and then leveraging your plan for growth won`t be nearly as challenging as you think.
By having a written business plan that you`re regularly reviewing, you can make confident decisions. You`ll have all the information necessary to know when you can hire new employees, launch a new product line or make a major purchase. At the same time, you can also plan ahead in case a decision doesn`t work out as expected, minimizing your potential risk.