Is it a good business idea?
Some things you should do.
Some things you shouldn’t do.
Some things you just can’t not do.
Sometime way back, I was working selling word-processors. (Or trying to sell word-processors!) I did sell a few, but it wasn’t enough… it was my fourth sales job over the years and it finally dawned on me that perhaps the problem was me, and that I needed to produce or die. How long could a company keep giving me money if I wasn’t bringing in a lot more? And word-processors were just about to become dinosaurs anyway.
I had always wished that the marketing people would come out “in the field” and visit customers with me (reality check?). I blamed them. If they had…
Anyway, there I was, now on my own, starting to put together the marketing materials for other companies — the marketing collateral I always wished I had. Say hello to “Tools for Sales™.” It was Silicon Valley, mid 80s.
A friend called. He had a deal going with Apple to use his engineering software in their circuit design.
In those days software was just getting interesting, but as many companies started, they seemed to fail at almost the same rate.
Apple wanted a better idea of how my friend planned to stay in business, support the program, and continue development.
Hmmm… I could appreciate that. This wasn’t just an investment of money, it was also, a massive learning and implementation curve in the middle of their engineering and development process. The company was at stake.
I knew a little something about selling word-processors. Many people are invested in a purchase like that. Much attention was paid to demonstrating to the actual end-user, their manager would be relieved to know how happy and trouble-free their people would be, the CFO enjoyed the math showing how much less the equipment lease was than the most conservative estimate of time saved per person. And the CEO? S/He was happy to have his/her company performing at an all-time high-level while saving money. Above all, they needed to believe in me. I was the company to them. (A concept that has taken some time to sink in.)
Our business plan for Apple needed to speak to multiple people in different places, at all levels. Their marketing people wanted to know how we were going to promote the company to grow the business. Finance was all over the numbers, but the true story behind them was what made them believable. R&D was more than curious about bug fixes, the development process, project management, etc. Everyone wanted to meet the people. Steve Jobs? I’m sure he was involved. If it was “insanely great” we knew we were on the same page. We addressed everything imaginable… the worst cases, the best cases, multiple contingencies, the list goes on.
Was it overkill?
A better question: How much money was at stake for us?
Considering the payday, the actual effort was well worth it.
We got the deal.
And now we were properly prepared for many more.
Over the next year a number of people came to me for business plan surgery. I wasn’t even promoting myself as a developer of business plans. I thought of what we created to win the Apple business was an elaborate “brochure” that addressed all of their interests and issues up-front. The problem now was that many of these new clients had some brilliant business ideas, but were unconvincing about their product/market fit, business model, marketing strategy, and financial plan. And their plans sucked! (No mystery investors hate reading most of them.)
You should also know that, somewhere along the way, I was the electronics buyer and a copywriter for The Sharper Image® catalog. The pictures and copy in that catalog were the entire sales pitch – the phone rang off the hook 24/7! (We all had to spend an hour a week in the call center. I know. it was like fishing where the fish jump in the boat!) Hmmm… give people all the information up front? That was original. Obviously it worked.
Investors appreciate such candor and detail too. Once you get their attention and pique their interest, the wheels start turning. Sure a summary and good pitch deck may get them interested, but they’ll sleep on it and wake up with questions. They’ll call their friends and experts. They’ll have more questions… Eventually, they’ll want to see it all in writing. And they want it right the first time. Imagine how easy it is to fund a company that is well documented, organized and planned. Compared to all the other deals they’re looking at how does measure up? So, what are you doing to prepare your own investor “brochure?”
I’ve rarely been in an investor meeting where someone didn’t interrupt the presentation with a pointed question after about slide #2. Sometimes it’s fun, useful, and telling when you throw someone off their script. I cringe at the number of times I’ve watched an entrepreneur die a little inside, when they had neither any idea what the question was about nor the right answer. You must avoid this kind of “buzz kill” at the moment of truth!
General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “The plan is nothing, planning is everything.”
Investors pray every day that someone – You? – will walk in their door with a company worth funding.
The preparation is what you’re betting your company on, the business plan is your movie script that proves you’ve done your own due-diligence, and that you are fully prepared to move forward.
Long story short, I was standing in the shower one day when it crossed my mind that if I see another crappy business plan, I might hurt somebody… Why don’t I take all the content I had, redact anything personal, and replace it with some sample ideas to be edited? Put it all on a disc and give people an awesome headstart on doing this themselves. Whew!
Voila! The BizPlanBuilder business planning software template was born – not just any “bizplan” – this is BizPlanBuilder. It’s created from my original investor sales brochure – now evolved over 30 years.
It also includes a variety of supporting documents that make planning, pitching and a having a number of things you can and should put in place that cost nothing.
If you’ve got a great business idea…
And you think you should do it, you’ll learn what it will take.
If you shouldn’t do it, it will become readily apparent, and you’ll save a lot of heart-ache and money.
And if you just can’t not do it, this will give you every chance to figure it out and succeed.
We’ve been down the road you’re on.
We make tools for you.
Your secret weapon for raising capital
BizPlan Builder writes a professional business plan for your project quickly and efficiently. Its organized system walks you step-by-step through the process of preparing an effective plan for a business proposal from defining your audience and analyzing the market to developing cohesive financial and marketing plans.
The pre-scripted sample business plan templates in Microsoft® Word, flexible Excel financial models, and PowerPoint presentation example can be accessed online where you can collaborate with your team and advisors. It works equally well for both Windows and/or Macintosh users.
It’s the fastest and easiest way of turning your ideas into an investment-grade business plan and a successful business. BizPlanBuilder also supplements the “business model canvas” and “lean start-up” concepts to give investors all the details they want for funding your start-up or company expansion.
BizPlan Builder is the funding leader evolved and vetted over 29+ years through thousands of deals with banks, SBA lenders, angel investors and venture capitalists worldwide.
The newest version incorporates a comprehensive online dashboard!