Dr. Steven Gedeon, PhD, MBA at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management has seen both sides of the entrepreneurship game, as an entrepreneur and as a venture capitalist. He brings insights from both worlds to this excellent video interview on business plan writing.
Gedeon has plenty of tips for writing business plans in this video interview. Probably his most important is, “Writing the business plan itself is not nearly as important as the process by which you think through what is a successful business.” In other words:
- Figure out what your business idea is. Write down clearly and succintly what your business idea is – preferably just one sentence. If you can’t describe it in two sentences or less, it’s not clear in your mind.
- Figure out who your customers are. Write down in detail who is your customer – or rather, your target demographic – and why they care about your product or service. The more you can focus in on who your customer is, the more you’ll be able to focus your business, your product and your sales.
- Figure out who your competitors are. Who’s going to compete with you for customers? How are you different from your competitors? Identifying these will reveal opportunities and underserved niches, as well as weaknesses in your competitors.
- Keep refining and changing. Don’t be afraid to go back to an earlier stage and make changes. That’s the whole point of writing a business plan – to get your business’s details right.
- Venture capitalists look at your management team. Make sure you assemble as crackerjack a management team as you can. As Gedeon says, “People will bet on the jockey before they’ll bet on the horse. People will bet on an A team with a B plan over an A plan with a B team.”
- Venture capitalists look at your financials. According to Gedeon, nobody believes the numbers in your financials – your sales and such – and you’re never going to get them right anyway. The trick is to take your best shot at your estimates anyway, and to make it as detailed as possible. This serves two purposes. First, it helps convince your investors that you’ve put some serious thought and research into your company. Second, and probably most important, it serves as a guide to what actions you should take later, when you inevitably don’t fulfill your projections.
Sierra Investment Group Inc. Carson City Nevada is a small business plan writing service and small business funding resource. They can be reached toll-free at (800) 323-6298 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or at firstname.lastname@example.org