Some while ago, I produced a number of online tutorials on various business topics, one of the best received of which was entitled How to Write a Great Business Plan. This particular tutorial was co-authored by my friend Stephen Fowler, CEO of Boardseat.com.
I’ve put these tutorials on their own site, Startup 101.info, but haven’t done much to help them be found by the entrepreneurial community at large. To remedy that, and to share these thought-provoking online tutorials, I’m going to sporadically feature an excerpt here at The Intuitive Life for your reading pleasure.
So let’s ask the fundamental question: Why write a business plan?
The tutorial begins thusly….
You’ve had a brilliant idea for a new business, and talking it over with your friends has convinced you that not only is a novel solution to a problem in the industry, but that you might even make a few dollars building the business too! That’s the good news.
Now you have the challenge of turning your business idea into a business. And that’s the purpose of the business plan.
This tutorial will explain all the critical elements of a business plan in detail, explain why they’re important and what to say, and we’ll share our many experiences both reading and writing our own business plans.
The secret purpose of a business plan
The first thing to realize is that the primary reason that you need to write a business plan is because it forces you to crystallize your vision for your company, and apply a significant level of discipline to ensure that all aspects of business are thought through.
Indeed, a common sentiment of venture capitalists is “What’s most important is that your business plan demonstrates that you’ve thought through the business.”
As you’ll see in this tutorial, there are lots of sections in your completed business plan that require extensive research, analysis, planning and building of spreadsheets . While you’re completing them, remember: the secret purpose of a business plan is not to have a document to distribute (though that’s certainly useful) but to go through the process itself.
The Journey is the Reward.
Bad Ideas We’ve Seen
Given that the secret purpose of a business plan is to go through the research and analysis to enable you to really think through your business, you’d think that hiring a third-party to write your business plan was a really bad idea.
You’d be right.
Please continue reading Writing a Great Business Plan