Don’t Constipate Your Mind With Your Plan, Release Now !
First things First.
“A business plan is not an investor driven document document at all ” I would totally agree to this fact which was shared by an amazing entrepreneur.
So the first question is “How critical is to have a business plan?”. As one amazing expert shared “All investors want it to see that you have done your homework, and then they will toss it in the bin. So you do need it, but don’t be surprised when its thrown into the trash!”
Related: Do You Really Need A Business Plan?
Through the numerous discussions with global entrepreneurs, mentors and my own experiences there were a couple of critical reasons why you would need a business plan BUT remember again a Business Plan is primarily for your homework and self consumption. Please also remember a Business Plan is always an ever evolving document which is the sum total of how, when, why, what, where you would run your startup and essentially plans to help you document the details.
As one entrepreneur shared ” We don’t have our startups build business “plans”. They build business “models” using our business model canvas. Essentially, it is a concise, iterative document that points out the major assumptions and key elements of the business so that they can be built, measured, and learned from”
You would love to read this thread where some fantastic global experts answer this amazing critical question “How Critical Is It To Build A Business Plan” Its a good debate that entrepreneurs and startups will find it useful to run through.
Remember you have to be precise, it is your business handbook but not a story book 🙂
As one amazing entrepreneur shared in the discussion on why is it critical to have a business plan “It is a plan of what you actually want to achieve. It gives you direction on achieving your objectives, but with that in mind it is only effective if you hit the ground and implement some of the planned activities in it. This will give you first hand experience and thus enable you to change and further fine tune your business ideas”
Lets now take some tips on “How to Write a Kickass Business Plan”
The 7.5 Tips:
SEE, LEARN AND CHUCK
Don’t get mesmerized by templates which are available by dime and dozen on the net.Having said that, do go through some of the business plan templates BUT ensure you mark your own version and keep it lean and flowing as per your business flow.See what suits your business. Are your a product company or a services company? Make your plan simple with short and long term objectives written in the flow.As one entrepreneur mentioned “You don’t need to create a 20 page PPT, sometimes a One Pager concise document which creates your business flow is enough“.
CRITICAL ELEMENTS IN THE PLAN
Take a note and answer these critical elements in a short precise way from a very practical angle. Summary of Your Business, Target Market (Product, Services & Customers), Your Damn USP, Your Problem Solving Pitch,Your SWOT of Business, Your Organizational Structure, Operational Flow Of Business, Cash & Revenue Projections (Financial Projections), Primary and Secondary Research for Product Testing in Target Market, Your Go To Market Planning, Marketing Alliances, Expansion Plan..Put these points as elements which will be components to your business.
BUSINESS PLAN AS A DASHBOARD
Think of the business plan as a regular evolving dashboard to help you build “Long Term and Short Term Objectives with Pit-stops”. These pit-stops later will help you audit your progress in your business. Put those checks in the business plan so that you and the founding team can go back to the assigned pit-stops of progress on the dashboard. Remember some of the key pointers will be always be evolving.
BE HONEST.. BE EXCITED
Get excited to write your business plan, if you are excited writing it… chances are that anyone you are presenting it to will be excited going through the same too. Write your details in clarity, honesty and with an aim to know your business (whether services or product) in a detail format. Doesn’t matter on the grammatical mistakes but write down this format-Precise or Detailed in your own way.Its ok to make some little mistakes as long as the gist is fine.Remember it is your business story.
DON’T BE SHY IN ASKING HELP
This is extremely crucial if you are doing the investor rounds or critical customer rounds. Now if you are a product company the approach to showcase your business may just require a lean business plan pitch however a services company may have an elaborate business plan. Shout to an expert who can help you tailor build a business plan to pitch it for investors or customers.Connect with a mentor or an expert who can have a helicopter view of the business plan.No harm getting some experienced people on board for review.
REVIEW YOUR PLAN OFTEN
Once you have built the business plan you should review it monthly for sure. This is critical as this helps you to match the progress with the laid objectives of the pit-stops for growth. Periodic review also helps in evolving key elements on the business plan and gives you a realistic mode of running your business.Make it realistic.
DON’T WASTE TOO MUCH TIME
There is nothing like a Perfect Business Plan. Make sure as a startup you don’t waste too much time in developing a 50 pager business plan that never ends and bores you that you don’t focus on getting your product or services to the market fast.Put the critical elements, get excited, toss it as a flow of events, create this document, whether a sweet one pager, 5 pager or 10 pager document…Run it through your founders and get going to achieve your sweet pit-stops that you have laid down. Just go for it.
I have often discussed with fellow entrepreneurs, mentors and experts on what critical mistakes to avoid while building a business plan. You may get some ready made great tips of the same from here. “”
Oh BTW we just got carried away in not sharing the 7.5th Tip for Building a Business Plan 🙂
Well the 7.5th tip is “Never Get Too Late” i.e. If you are planning to startup don’t just keep waiting for things to be perfect, people have achieved success with or without a business plan too but yes it does help to have one good business plan handy 🙂
Feel free to share these pointers with like-minded peers and do add your thoughts.