Recently, I did a post entitled Avoid These 8 Mistakes in Your Business Plan. The first mistake was that plan drafts are typically too long. So how long should a business plan be?
I surveyed SCORE counselors and experts around the country on this question. Then I did a quick Google book search. Below are the numbers and caveats.
Advice On Length From The Experts
Greg Nelson, SCORE Naples
At the end of the day, the business plan needs to be long enough to address all the key areas so that the reader is not left with serious questions, concerns and red flags…Most businesses should be able to present an adequate business plan in less than 20 pages. Simple businesses can probably do a decent job in 8-10 pages. In cases where there is complicated market research involved in a product, much of the supporting information can be placed in appendices, making the core business plan shorter, more concise and to the point and therefore, more effective.
Jeff Lippincott, SCORE Princeton
I suggest 25 to 35 pages typed. Less than that and the plan is too superficial. And longer than that and some of what is in the plan no doubt should be in an appendix instead.
Sales is a numbers game and my background is sales so when I started volunteering for SCORE I had the same problem of NOT prejudging as I did in sales. One of my, what is now a very long term client, came to me with a large sum of money (golden handshake) and an idea that seemed a little unrealistic to me. (Actually, more than a little unrealistic). WOW! Should I give her my opinion (which wasn’t asked for) or ask questions that would lead her to the right decision. The decision gods were with me and we moved forward with a business plan. My head started to turn around. We checked out the competition. I was surprised there WAS competition. (Made me think I may not be a bright as I thought I was.) Now 4 years later, she is looking for a second location. Scares me when I think what damage I could have done by prejudging. Same as in sales – clothes do not always make the woman! So, do you prejudge?