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Common business-planning mistakes

What are some common business-planning mistakes? 
Here are the top nine:

1. Procrastination. Write your business plan now. Don't wait until the bank or your investors want one.

2. Cash casualness. Cash flow is more important than sales, profits or anything else.

3. Idea inflation. Plans don't sell new business ideas to investors; people do.

4. Fear and dread. Writing a business plan isn't as hard as you fear.

5. Spongy, vague goals. Forget the vague hype about being the best or the meaningless babble of business phrases. Root your plan in facts.

6. One size fits all. Tailor your business plan to its real business purpose.

7. Diluted priorities. A priority list with three or four items is focused. A priority list with 20 items is not strategic.

8. Hockey stick-shaped growth projections. Have conservative projections that you can defend. When in doubt, be conservative.

9. Forgetting to keep your eye on the cash flow! 
Brain Trust contributor: Author of Hurdle: The Book on Business Planning President, Palo Alto Software
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