Another disadvantage is that a template in some instances can be a waste of time and ineffective. Most templates appear to be extensive but when closely evaluated, are unnecessary sections that are irrelevant to your planning needs. As you eliminate those unimportant parts, it will leave you with an incomplete business plan outline that's close to being useless. Sometimes you have to forget about performance numbers, growth projections and other typical "pie in the sky" business plan drivel and focus on the one basic necessity that all small businesses (including start_ups) need in order to grow and thrive: Ways to bring in the cash. And if you're just starting out, this will be even more critical to your success since the most important activities of any new business are to generate prospective customers, sell them products and services to keep the business growing. Far too many entrepreneurs believe that by using downloaded templates, they can cut short the planning process and cut down the planning cost. Keep in mind, the real value of doing a business plan is not having the finished product, but the process of research and thinking about your business in a systematic way. A template alone is not enough to make a good plan it takes other variables such as the skills of writer, planning skills and tools working together for the best outcome. Although templates are one of the most helpful things that happened in business planning, before you even consider using one for your plan, decide if it limits your imagination or flexibility to grow your business.
Although the advantages are all valuable, there are of course also some significant disadvantages to using a template. Remember that a template is after all_ a template_ it limits creativity. Just as your business is subject to changing marketing conditions, you want your plan to be accommodating for growth. If you want your business to progress, you can't settle for what you put in writing because it makes it hard to see the situation realistically. Templates also most often tend to be too general. For you to survive in today's economy you have to be trusted as the go to person or brand in your respectable niche. Your business should have unique needs, features and offerings. A general template will not necessarily provide every detail to help you prosper in your niche. Sure it can guide you, but it may not help your business survive.