Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid
It doesn’t matter if a small business is just starting out or expanding - there are several critical mistakes businesses can make with its business plan to sidetrack success.Sunovis Financial assists small businesses with lending needs, and offers guidance on all aspects of the process, including the business plan preparation.
A business plan is one of the main factors that investors and lenders use to decide if a new business is worth the investment consideration. A poorly crafted business plan is a certain path to failure when looking for financing, so be sure to avoid these 5 critical business plan mistakes:
1. Aiming too low or far too high in projections. It doesn’t matter if the company is projecting market share, sales, profits, or growth. If projections are too low, potential investors and lenders will question the credibility of the business. It is normal for people to be conservative in their estimates when constructing a business plan, but remember that being too conservative could run the risk of being discounted. Present the most realistic numbers possible.
2. Using numbers that are obviously wrong. When presenting numbers for profit margins, general expenses, development costs, and sales and marketing expenses, have them checked by a CPA for accuracy. The numbers you use should be in line with standards for your industry. Using proper financial measures will let lenders and investors know they can trust you to manage the business properly.
3. No editing or proofreading. As with any document, your business plan should be proofread and edited. Grammar and spelling mistakes have no place in a proper business plan. More importantly, you should find someone who is familiar with business plans to correct any obvious omissions or errors. An experienced entrepreneur, industry expert or company that specializes in business plans should be considered.
4. Using inappropriate or poor visual elements. Focus on the message and the use of charts, graphs, diagrams and pictures that will add to and clarify your message.
5. Improperly formatted. Before you write and submit your plan, make sure you know what the investors and lenders are expecting. It does you no good to submit a 3 year business plan when investors are expecting a 5 year plan. Make sure you know your industries standards for business plans and follow that.
A well crafted business plan can mean the difference between obtaining the financing you need and alienating potential investors and lenders. Take some time to understand what is expected and you can avoid common mistakes in your business plan.
About Sunovis Financial
Sunovis assists borrowers and small businesses with their lending needs. The motto of Sunovis Financial is to help rebuild the US economy, one business and one loan at a time.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.