One way to prove the company’s viability is through the “lean start-up” process. The company grows from concept to start-up with limited funding to prove its core hypothesis, seeking full funding later. You might test the market cheaply by selling an early version of your product, pre-selling it, or giving free samples. This evidence can eliminate some investment risk and make your business more compelling for investors.
Most attractive business plans show growth, and keeping up with growth can be hard. What is the company’s operating plan? Can the team handle product line expansion and growth? There is no point in having a better mousetrap if, once the world starts beating the path to your door, you can’t deliver it!
Most funders think the capabilities of the team are among the most important predictors of success, so it’s critical that your plan describe their capabilities and experience in detail. Other company resources such as staff, facilities, or websites can always be added or changed as required, but success will depend on capable leaders.
You might need additional research on markets, technology or competitors. You may want help putting together financial reports and projections. You might need legal advice on the best way to structure your business. The experts are there if you need them. You may also be able to get help at no cost from government agencies, industry associations, trade groups, or other sources.
Imagine building a house without a plan—chaos! Producing a plan will sharpen your concepts, reveal gaps in your plans, organize your data and information, point out areas needing attention, and provide structure for company operations. View it as a “sanity check.” Producing a plan is a useful discipline and worth the effort.
It is all up to you—no boss breathing down your neck. This is the exciting part and the scary part. Now is your chance to show your stuff. You have been talking this up for a long time. Let yourself shine!
Mind-map and get the big picture of how things interlink and impact each other. Take action on plan A, get feedback, and when plan A isn’t working, shift to plan B. You will also need plans C, and D, and maybe even Z.
Fail often and early, and soon you will be soaring. The toughest lessons viscerally settle in your bones never to be forgotten. No academic learning can match the raw power of wisdom learned in the fire.
Anything and everything can happen and it will. Be ready to flex and change course on a dime. At the last minute, a client refuses to sign the contract. Your key employee leaves abruptly. You are left whirling in the dust.
Everyone will tell you that you need to re-do your business plan. Soon you will be doing nothing but. Business plans are important but they will be out of date by tomorrow. Create them based on the purpose--for you or investors?