OK, I admit it, I wrote the title like that just to suck you in…
The truth is that 99% of entrepreneurs hate business plans. Unfortunately for us it’s also true that 99% of ANYONE who would ever even THINK to give or lend us money will expect to see one.
Here’s a few good things about business plans…
- They focus you.
- They take you through a methodical process that can, and does, often uncover things you’d never thought of (both good and bad).
- They give you something to show for all of the brain fuel you’ve burnt on your idea thus far.
- They are, despite the pain of it all, very satisfying to do.
- As I said in the start, if you are looking for outside capital you’ll need one.
Here’s a few tips on how to make it an easier and more valuable exercise… (I will expand on this in a later post… Please remind me)
- If the term “business plan” makes you feel like you’re back in school, try calling it a “feasibility study” instead. For an even less threatening approach use the term “business guess”.
- Approach the exercise like you’re having a discussion with someone about your idea. If you hit a question you don’t like, skip it and come back to it later.
- Don’t get all formal and uptight about producing something that will get framed and go on the wall at Harvard – this will distract you from the purpose and ultimately discourage you.
- Get a template from somewhere (I’ve included one from ANZ Bank that you can download here). Answer all of the questions you can answer without thinking or researching first. Then go back and flesh it out a bit.
- Go for clarity, not length or pretty wordage.
- Don’t stress about it – Keep in mind that what you eventually build will probably only VERY LOOSELY resemble what you’re writing down now – It’s OK, that’s MOST people’s story. The goal is to get something down on paper.
- Keep in mind that this is version 1. Remember the tallpoppytip – “That sounds like you’re talking about version 1,000,000 – what does version 1 look like?”.
The overarching principal is K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple Stupid. The more complicated you make it the more difficult and disheartening it’s likely to be. And have FUN! This is an adventure we’re on here… The fact that you’re sitting down to do something that resemble ACTUAL WORK isn’t the end of the world…! Just do it.