Great business planning has a lot of moving parts. The more you can nail down things like your value proposition, your business model, and your go-to-market strategy, the easier it will be to you to be successful. There’s even that all-important detail of how your business will actually manage to turn a profit. The idea behind a business plan is to answer all of these questions in a single, relatively easy to read document.
But is a narrative business plan really the best option? To answer that question, it helps to understand the audience. Who will be reading this business plan? Will it just be investors and lenders, or is this something you’ll be showing to potential co-founders or high-value employees? What kind of document will give those people the information they need, and in the easiest-to-digest form?
Is a longform business plan really the best document to use in all cases, or are there better options available? Continue reading →
Creating a successful business sometimes means doing things that aren’t the most efficient or effective use of your time. If you’re working with commercial lenders, old-school angel investors or partners who prefer traditional approaches, it’s entirely possible that they will ask you to write up a business plan before moving forward with them. As I mentioned in my last post, while I’m a huge believer in business planning, I’m not a fan of longform business plans.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s usually easiest to just bite the bullet and create one. The more business planning you’ve already done — perhaps using something like the business model canvas — you should already have most of the building blocks in hand to create a narrative business plan. Continue reading →
One of the questions I’m most frequently asked as a business coach is “Do I really need a business plan?” It happens once every few weeks, and I’m asked by surprising variety of business owners, startup founders and soon-to-be entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, I still don’t have an easy answer, and by trying to provide some context for my take on the subject, I’ve gotten something of a reputation as a business-plan skeptic.
It’s time for me to set the record straight: I’m a huge believer in business planning, but I’m not a fan of business plans. If that sounds strange to you, allow me to explain. These two concepts aren’t as closely linked as you might think. Continue reading →
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Are long-form business plans really necessary for every startup? Are they even all that useful? Are there better alternatives? This week, host Tom Ryan takes on this controversial topic, explaining his skeptical view of traditional business plans and offering some other options for fledgling entrepreneurs.
Tom is on the road this week, requiring a slight change of format from two-person discussion to solo show format. As a result, he’ll be taking on a variety of listener questions. Continue reading →