Dwarfed by your Biz Plan

By July 12, 2013

THWUMP: Your 80-page masterpiece plops on the table.

If you are referring to your business plan, you’ve fallen into one or more of the following #entrepreneurfail traps:

1. Assuming that quality and quantity are the same thing

2. Babbling because you are just not focused on one idea or clearly identified your customer

3. Assuming that if it looked like a book, the business plan would sell itself

4. Not realizing your plan won’t stay the same when you actually start launching and executing

5. Forgetting that it’s a constantly changing document that will re-mold itself a million times in the future

In a nutshell, the purpose of a business plan is to succinctly yet thoroughly provide an overview of your product, value proposition, business model, and the steps to get there.  Far too many entrepreneurs assume that it is a document to brain-dump every possible marketing strategy and list all possible revenue-generators for your business.

On the surface, a long business plan may seem weighty and powerful, but you should be aiming for a fluff-to-stuff ratio of 0:1.  The business plan needs to be actionable and focus on priorities.  I’ve mentored some entrants in a business plan competition, and inevitably, the more direct and concisely thought-through business plans signaled a cohesive team and a concrete strategy.

The longer the business plan, the more likely:

1. No one is going to read that thing so say good-bye to chances of investment

2. Your customer has sailed away on another ship or the needs have changed by the time you launch

3. A competitive company has already launched by the time you finish the plan

In fact, if you are not seeking immediate investment, we used and liked the one-page business plan by Chris Guillebeau.  It has all the key elements, it’s not overwhelming, and it gives you enough to get started.

Did you create a business plan when you first launched your business? Let me know in the comments below.

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