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10 Boilerplate Phrases that Kill Your Business Plan

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Failing BusinessmanA while back I started reading a lot of articles on resume writing.

No, I'm not looking for a new job.

But, I realized the similarities between resumes and business plans.

A resume is used to convince a prospective employer that you might be the right job candidate, and that they should invest the time to meet with you to learn more.

Similarly, a business plan is used to convince an investor or lender that you might be the right funding candidate, and that they should invest the time to meet with you to learn more.

(Note that there is a key difference between resumes and business plans. Mainly your business plan also has critical value in terms of plotting your strategy. But when used to convince outsiders (investors, advisors, partners, employees, etc.) to join or fund the company, plans and resumes serve a similar marketing function.)

Interestingly, HotJobs recently developed an article revealing the "10 Boilerplate Phrases that Kill Your Resume." They are as follows:

• Results-oriented professional
• Cross-functional teams
• More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
• Superior (or excellent) communication skills
• Strong work ethic
• Met or exceeded expectations
• Proven track record of success
• Works well with all levels of staff
• Team player
• Bottom-line orientation


Moving back to business plans, I have often heard investors and lenders complaining about similar phrases in plans such as "proven management team," "first mover advantage," and "dominate competition."

The problem with these generic phrases in both resumes and business plans is that, by themselves, these phrases don't show whether the person or venture is really unique (which is what both employers and investors/lenders want).

Now I'm not saying that you need to avoid these phrases.

Rather, you need to clarify these phrases.

If you have a "proven management team," then you need to state why. For example, maybe one management team member formerly ran a successful company, or another formerly increased sales by 3 times at their last company, etc.

When presented to people outside yourself or your company, your resume or business plans are marketing documents. They are used to convince others to invest time towards hopefully hiring you or investing in your company. In order to be successful, be sure to show how you and/or your venture is unique, and whenever possible, provide specific proof behind your arguments.

If you have not completed your business plan, or are dissatisfied with the results, download Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template. Our Template will help you quickly, easily and expertly complete your business plan: http://www.growthink.com/products/business-plan-template


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