It’s common knowledge that a written business plan is a good idea if you’re serious about your business succeeding. Not only is a business plan necessary if you’re planning on obtaining investments or financing, but if you’re trying to attract top talent to help make your business dream a reality, being able to show a prospective employee your plan and your path forward may seal the deal.

When developing a business plan, your initial focus will likely be on the main elements that are standard in all business plans — things like goals, strategies, your organizational structure and your budget. And when those elements are in place, it may be tempting to think that your business plan is finished — but you will be well served by taking a second look. Let’s explore some of the most commonly overlooked elements of a business plan.

1. Ask “What If?”
When developing your business plan, especially in a partnership situation, it makes sense to brainstorm “What if?” scenarios and address as many of those as possible in your plan. For example, what if one of the partners wants to get out of the business — can they sell their portion of the business to just anyone, or does the other partner get first dibs? Or what if one of the partners dies? Who would take over for them and how would their interest be distributed?

It may seem uncomfortable to be talking about a partner leaving or dying before the business is even off the ground, but by thinking through these what-if situations in advance, you’ll be saving yourself from having to make big business decisions when emotions are heightened. And it goes without saying that as with other areas of your business plan, you may want to consult a tax professional or attorney to make sure you’re structuring things correctly.

2. Include Ample Time for Trademark Activities
When crafting a business plan, one thing that you want to make sure to include is plenty of time for obtaining the proper trademark for your business name and/or important product and service names. Trademarking your name offers you protection for your budding brand; if someone else is infringing on your federally registered trademark, you will have legal recourse.

Obtaining a trademark is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. Plan for a minimum of six to eight months from start to finish. A smart move is to work with a trademark attorney for the entire process — from trademark search through trademark registration — which will streamline the process and help you avoid any unforeseen pitfalls or challenges.

3. Speak the Same Language Between Documents
In developing a solid business plan, it’s just as important to be consistent as it is to be accurate — after all, when you review your business plan against the results you’ve achieved, you’ll want a true apples-to-apples comparison. One way to set yourself up for success in the review process is to ensure that the language in your business plan reflects the language used in your day-to-day business, and vice versa. For example, if your business plan groups together “Marketing and PR” but you tackle marketing, PR and even social media separately in your daily business, it will be extremely difficult to gauge how different activities are helping you meet or exceed your marketing and PR goals, milestones and budgets.

Additionally, in your business plan, avoid broad language that could be open to all sorts of interpretation. Catch-alls like “communications” and “promotional activities” can lead to confusion; it is better to be specific and define exactly what you mean so that you can better map your path forward and compare your outcomes.

A Tough Process, But Worth It
Developing a business plan can be a tough process, but ultimately it is one that will increase your chances of success. Before you finalize your plan, ensure that you’ve considered a variety of “what if?” scenarios and that your language is consistent with the way your business will actually work. Additionally, be certain to spell out your trademark plans and include plenty of time for the process. By addressing some of the most commonly overlooked elements of a business plan, you’ll be ahead of curve and poised for success.