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Writing a Winning Business Plan

A good business plan can make a crucial difference between failure and success for any business.

Here are some general rules to follow, pitfalls to avoid and guidelines on structuring the business plan:

  • Do not exceed 30-40 pages of single-spaced text.
  • Make sure they are free of typos or grammatical errors.
  • The plan should identify the business's most profitable markets and promote the management team's knowledge and expertise.
  • The business should be looked at from a “bird’s eye” view.

Among the mistakes to avoid are:

  • Unrealistic assumptions and underestimations of potential problems, risks and competitors.
  • Creating the plan yourself and not including people from all areas of the business.
  • Preparing the plan yourself and not using an outside source to help you complete your plan.
  • Trade jargon and detailed technical information are best avoided. Once a draft is completed, feedback from friends and advisors can be extremely useful before the content is finalized.