Friday, May 28, 2010

Writing Your Business Plan - Make it Modern?

Many of us learned how to write our first business plan in business school.  My first business plan, was a whopping 120 pages of...fluff, diagrams, thousands of pages of projections, etc.  Read like a textbook - BORING.

How does yours look like?  The longer I've been running PeerFX, the more I find that everybody is constrained on time, and usually a 20 slides slide deck or an exec summary is sufficient for an investor to decide if they want to see you.  Then it's your performance during your meeting that gets you the money.

What is a business plan for anyway?  As Seth Godin puts it - for us to think through the actual implementation.  Write it so that after reading it, YOU would be convinced to put money into it.  Seriously, if you can't communicate how your business is going to make a gazillion dollars in less than 20 pages (including appendixes!) then I question whether you've nailed down your business details enough.

I say that the business plan components have to be continually revisited - anyone that has gone beyond just writing the plan would know that it never happens just like it.  If it does, please go buy a lottery ticket because you're seriously super lucky.

So what components are in a Modern Business Plan?  5 things
  1. The TRUTH - look all around you, how does the environment affect your business - be realistic - you have competitors, existing alternatives, the economy...
  2. Assertions - How do you propose to change the way things are done?
  3. Alternatives - like I said, never happens like you want it - so what do you do for plan B, C and D?
  4. MONEY - money, money, money - without money either in the form of revenue or investment, you don't have a business.  Figure out your finances!

Read more about Seth's push for writing a modern business plan here.  THEN WRITE ONE.  Reading without doing you learn nothing.
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