A [tag]business plan[/tag] gives the answer to what?, How?, When? When? and Who? . To write a business plan is the most important thing you can do as a [tag]businessman[/tag] because that will pinpoint the [tag]strategy[/tag] and see the risks. But what about the qualities of all written business plans? Guy Kawasaki, as a venture capitalist, has read a lot of business plans and has some thoughts about the quality. He says:
“A good business plan is an elaboration of a good pitch; a good pitch is not the distillation of good business plan. Why? Because it’s much easier to revise a pitch than to revise a plan. Give the pitch a few times, see what works and what doesn’t, change the pitch, and then write the plan. Think of your pitch as your outline, and your plan as the full text. How many people write the full text and then write the outline?”
Sometimes I find it difficult getting entrepreneurs to understand that writing a business plan is not only important for the business when discussing the strategy, the risks and the need for money. But it also important when you like to have a good culture in the company, that everyone knows what to. Often a business plan is written for the venture capitalist so it´s very interesting to read what a venture capitalist thinks about the business plan.
Here is what Guy Kawasaki think you should think of when writing a business plan:
1. Write for all the right reasons. The more relevant and important reason to write is a business plan, whether you are raising money or not, is to force the management team to solidify the objectives (what), strategies (how), and tactics (when, where, who).
2. Make it a solo effort. It’s very difficult to cut-copy-and-paste several people’s sections and come out with a good plan.
3. Pitch, then plan. A good business plan is an elaboration of a good pitch.
4. Put in the right stuff. Here’s what a business plan should address: Executive Summary (1), Problem (1), Solution (1), Business Model (1), Underlying Magic (1), Marketing and Sales (1), Competition (1), Team (1), Projections (1), Status and Timeline (1), and Conclusion (1). Essentially, this is the same list of topics as a PowerPoint pitch. Those numbers in parenthesis are the ideal lengths for each section; note that they add up to eleven. As you’ll see in a few paragraphs, the ideal length of a business plan is twenty pages, so I’ve given you nine pages extra as a fudge factor.
5. Focus on the executive summary. If it isn’t fantastic, eyeball-sucking, and pulse-altering, people won’t read beyond it to find out who’s on your great team, what’s your business model, and why your product is curve jumping, paradigm shifting, and revolutionary.
6. Keep it clean. The ideal length of a business plan is twenty pages or less, and this includes the appendix.
7. Provide a one-page financial projection plus key metrics. Everyone knows that you’re pulling numbers out of the air that you think are large enough to be interesting.
8. Catalyze fantasy. Don’t include citations of some consulting firm’s supposed validation of your market.
9. Write deliberate, act emergent. It means that when you write your plan, you act as if you know exactly what you’re going to do.
I like 4; even there are other ways to present the contents but remember that a [tag]venture capitalist[/tag] becomes frustrated with an unfamiliar format.