I was asked four times last week, “What is the main place that you see business plans fall short?” This week I decided to ask some people that read business plans as part of their professional career for their answers. Here is what they had to say:
“One of the most frequent oversights we see is the new business does not allocate any or sufficient funds for marketing expenses. It seems the plan focuses on the expected sales and costs of the first two years and detailed research is made to obtain realistic sales figures, however no one focuses on how they plan to attract those potential new clients which = future sales/revenues.
Each business plan should have a dedicated section on their intended execution for marketing the new business / product or service to their target market.”
Sherril Wright, Senior Account Manager Business and Personal
RBC Royal Bank
“Too many business plans have a shopping list of marketing ideas but are very thin on how those ideas will be implemented. If, for example, the main marketing approach is using Facebook ads, then I want to know why this makes sense, how this will be implemented (the content), how often this will be done, by whom, who will they target, the cost, what the follow up strategy is and what they expect to achieve in terms of new clients. Eighty percent of an entrepreneur’s energy will be spent on marketing, yet many business plans devote a meager portion to this vital activity.”
Dominik Loncor, Entrepreneur-in-Residence,
Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF)
Are you seeing the reoccurring theme? The best plans are actionable and measurable, so focus on concrete plans that include specific tactics, timelines, assignments, prospect lists, distribution strategies, costs, and measurements of success.
The real quality in a sales and marketing plan, whether it be a working document you create well after your business is started, or in your initial business plan, is in the details.
Tip: Check out our Resources for Starting a New Business, including business plan templates and other useful resources.