Your business plan is the lifeblood of your company's financial future.
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Without it, you don't stand a chance of securing the kind of capital you need to achieve your company's goals and objectives. Although every page of your business plan is important, investors are especially keen to read one specific section: The company overview.
The company overview section of your business plan describes what your company does and how it does it. It gives investors a birds-eye view of nearly every aspect of your company. Market position, core competencies, short-term goals, growth strategies – it's all found in the company overview.
But despite its importance, many business owners fail to reach their full potential in the company overview section. Here are the most common business plan company overview mistakes and how you can avoid them when you write your company's business plan.
- Poorly written company overview. Just because your business plan will never win a Pulitzer doesn't mean it should be poorly written. Quality writing counts throughout the business plan, but especially in the company overview section where your goal is to tell an interesting and compelling story, i.e. the story of your business.
- Too many details, too much jargon. Investors and lenders won't be impressed by your ability to overwhelm them with useless details and populate the overview section with confusing industry jargon. A certain amount of detail is expected in the company overview, but only to the degree that enhances your overall messaging.
- Pie-in-the-sky. The most fatal mistake you can make in your company overview is to fill it with unrealistic goals and strategies. An effective company overview gives investors a snapshot of how your business actually functions – not how you want it to function. If your company's future reads like it is totally disconnected from your company's history in the overview section, it's time to start over.
- Weak competencies. It's the overview's job to highlight your business' key strengths and core competencies, and to identify the characteristics that make your company unique. An overview that fails to demonstrate the strengths that differentiate your company from the competition will lack traction with investors.