A business plan is as useful as you make it. Owners who view the document as a one-time chore miss out on the ability to refresh their vision and reevaluate goals as their business evolves. Those who look at a business plan as a valuable roadmap to be referred to on a routine basis are more likely to make informed decisions, impress investors, and, when the time comes, get the most from putting their limo business for sale.
Not Having a Hard Copy
A business plan that exists in your head might as well not exist at all. Owners of small limousine businesses with just a few employees often hold the mistaken belief that a written plan is only useful when seeking financing or operating under a complex business model. What’s so hard to understand about running a limo company? But while you may have a good grasp of day-to-day operations, you could be missing out on the bigger picture. A good business plan lays out everything from management structure to goals for growth. You can’t expect to build a sturdy house without a blueprint. Likewise, it’s hard to build – or grow – a solid business without a strong business plan.
Making Unrealistic Projections
Whether you’re trying to secure financing or make important reinvestment decisions, a business plan should always be honest. Many business owners make unrealistic projections about costs, revenue, or their market in an effort to impress investors. Lenders weren’t born yesterday. Given the choice between lending to a chauffeur business owner who claims to face few obstacles and limitless opportunity for limo business profits or a practical entrepreneur who recognizes he’s in a challenging and competitive marketplace, most lenders will choose the latter. If you’re making exaggerations in your business plan, you’re selling lenders – and yourself – short.
Being Too Specific or Vague
Many owners make the mistake of being either overly detailed or inadequately clear. Sometimes business owners focus so much on the numbers that they fail to precisely explain the purpose of their business. Other times, they clearly explain why their services are needed but don’t include the financial data, timeline, and market information to back up their business statement. A comprehensive business plan should provide a balance of “who, what, when, where, and why,” leaving no questions unanswered.
Putting Your Plan Away
All too often, business plans are filed away after the initial start-up period, never to see the light of day again. Bust like the businesses on which they are based, business plans are living, breathing entities. As the market changes and your company matures and evolves, so should your plan. When you have a written document, it’s much easier to perform progress checks as your company heads in new directions. Are your costs and revenues in line with projections? Has the competitive landscape changed? What about the economy? Are you on track to reach your retirement goals? A solid business plan can increase the odds that each decision you make is the right one, whether it’s making value-enhancing reinvestments or putting your limo service for sale.