Now that you’ve determined which market to target, how you will target that market, and have validated your approach, you need to encapsulate it and capture this knowledge into a document or something else so that you can communicate that knowledge to everyone else you’ll be working with. Without this, you will quickly find that others may not completely understand and follow your thinking and rationale for how or why you want to build your venture and what it will do in the market.
Because you have a lot of resources at your fingertips on how to write and build a business plan, I won’t get into the basics and mechanics of that here. Instead I’ll focus on what makes a business plan more successful and how it can be best utilized to help you succeed with your venture. For more information on writing a business plan, check out the following links: 1, 2, 3 or 4.
Divide and Conquer
Your business plan is a key element and a guiding force behind your venture. Think of it as a fundamental principal driving your venture, a written embodiment of the “true north” for your venture. It is a guiding force that embodies a centralized view of all of the key aspects of your business.
Break your larger plan into smaller plans – things like financial plans, manufacturing plans, sales plans, marketing plans, product development plans, client support plans, business operations plans, and so on. These sub-component plans become the elements of your business plan.
Make it clear, straightforward and simple enough so that others can easily understand, digest and get behind your plan. It shouldn’t take a PhD to comprehend it!
Roll with the Changes
One key point to remember is that your plan is NOT just a frozen snapshot in time. Make your plan flexible; update it regularly and treat it is as a living breathing document that grows, evolves, expands, or contracts as needed. Use your business plan to help you decide how, where and when to pivot your venture.
Your business plan is the centralized repository representing the “vision” of your venture and will be one of the key tools you will turn to when contemplating doing a pivot in the market.
Recruiting Top Talent
Guess what else your business plan can do? It is a human resource recruiting tool. You will no doubt require the support and services of others to help you build the key components and pieces of your venture. You may even require some product aspects to be developed or proto-typed.
Sometimes you’ll want to tap into the value that others can add by exciting and energizing them to work for you and bring the absolute best out of them. You may have specific people in mind that you’d like to have join your venture; your business plan can convince them that they should consider being a part of the endeavor.
A business plan, since it comprises a complete view of the business your planning to build with the venture, including short, medium and long term plans, Go-to-market strategy, product vision and plan and other key elements – is a great tool to use to convince others to join your cause.
Funding Your Venture
Your business plan is a source of funding. Almost every source of capital that you will approach will want to better understand the venture – even if you have a product in market. Investors are “buying-in” intellectually to the venture and your business plan is what helps them understand what to expect and how likely you and your team are going to be to deliver what they are expecting.
When sources of capital read your business plan, they get a sense of the “story” for the business, market needs, what you are proposing, how it is better than others, and, if they agree with that vision, that leads to money, lots and lots of money, for your venture.
Remember that you are competing against others in the marketplace – some of whom may be further ahead of you. Don’t be discouraged. Just because someone has a better mouse trap, that’s no guarantee that they will be more successful. Stay sharp, focused and drive your business to the next milestone. No matter what phase you are in, you will ALWAYS be selling and fighting to convince people that your venture and vision for it are worthwhile, and your business plan is a key tool in your sales arsenal!
About this blog The goal of this blog is to share my experiences, to capture and reveal valuable insights, and to draw from my serial entrepreneur-ship through 7 ventures over the past 20 years. I have encountered many impressive entrepreneurs along the way and I hope to share our collective experience with you to help teach and perhaps motivate you to launch your own B2B or B2C enterprise.
Like what you’ve read, or not? Have a question or a topic to suggest? Want to get another perspective on an issue or challenge you’re facing? I welcome your comments, feedback and insights below or feel free to email me here.
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