• Viknesh Silvalingam

5 mistakes to avoid in a Business plan for 2021


How many mistakes can you avoid in a solid business plan? The answer... As many as you can think of. In my blog last week, I wrote about why and how we are starting to build an executive pitch deck. In parallel to that, our team has started to draft up a business plan for the upcoming year. A business plan is a document in which a business opportunity, or a business already underway, is identified, described, and analyzed, examining its technical, economic, and financial feasibility. The Plan develops all of the procedures and strategies necessary in order to convert the business opportunity into an actual business project (1*). There is no specific time within the calendar one should have a business plan ready. However, if you are planning the business plan for 2021, why wouldn't you want to have it ready before the start of 2021? Why waste a few weeks in the new year to come up with the plan and then execute it? By then, you are already weeks behind.



So how do you find time to write a business plan? You don't. You are always planning. Your plan is never done, but your planning process is your key to good management.

Your plan is for you first. Don't make it for anybody else. Do it because it helps you divide and manage big goals into practical steps. (2*) Instead of looking at it as a document, think of your business plan as a place on your computer where you collect ideas, useful stories, lists, and numbers. It's a place where you keep track of the market, your milestones, goals, and projections.

Do keep in mind that a plan is never set in stone, be prepared to review and revise them in accordance with your overall vision in order to get the maximum output.


Though writing a plan is always a work in progress, there are some pitfalls we need to avoid in order to prevent the plan from causing more harm than good:


1. Lack of Data and Metrics


  • We are aware of SMART goals(3*) In order to show improvement we need to have something to compare with. Having proper measuring the data to correct course and fine-tune our business is crucial.

  • Now with almost all data available online, we are able to ensure that we have an abundance of reliable data on every single aspect of our business which will allow us to track the bigger and better picture to maximize efforts.

  • However, quality data rather than the quantity of data is key. We need to be aware of what data points will have the most significant impact on our business.


2. Overestimating

  • We need to be grounded on where we currently are in our journey and make goals accordingly. Unrealistic goals can demoralize a team and derail what could be a viable concept.




3. Paying too much attention to Competition

  • Though we don't have a direct competitor, there is value in studying the other software in the space, however, it can be counterproductive if end up spending too much time and/or comparing ourselves to them.

  • Of course, we will take a look at their strategy, approach, etc. However, we will come right back and focus on how we can grow and improve.

  • We will let the competition inspire us to come up with a better product, nothing else.



4. Failing to Plan

  • In the beginning, when I working on The Martini alone, most of my actions were off the cuff. Not much was planned, which made my actions more reactive and less proactive.

  • However, moving forward by using a project management tool we can define all of our tasks with an agreed due date. This can easily be solved by giving every task and event date.

  • Filling up our calendar for the entire year before it even begins will allow us to strategize how to invest our time in order to obtain the desired result out of each quarter, month and day.


5. Lack of Accountability


  • While there is much to be said about discretion and guarding our vision especially in the early stages, keeping a business plan a secret will do more harm than good.

  • We need to hold each other accountable which is an essential factor for a successful business plan.


  • Bringing everyone on our team in will also bring perspective and allow them to have some skin in the game as the responsibilities are being delegated.


At this point, The Martini is a small startup, thus a formal business plan might not be necessary(5*) unless we are ready for outside investment. Having said that the whole purpose of a business plan is like I mentioned earlier is to hold us accountable for our actions. Time is money and with a plan, we can be confident that we are spending it wisely.


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Author’s Notes/References

  1. https://articles.bplans.com/what-is-a-business-plan/

  2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/business-plans

  3. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/smart-goals

  4. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/things-you-dont-need-397575


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viknesh.silvalingam@gmail.com

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