Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

An Interesting Drawing; Useful Viewpoint

This image is from Egghead Marketing, in an announcement of a Twitter business plan contest. It’s an interesting summary of a business plan focusing on innovation assessment, written to be read by outsiders; the new world. 

Of course it’s a subset. We’re talking about twitter, as in extreme social media, extreme Web 2.0, extreme new world. No wonder it puts innovation assessment at the center. Also no wonder it emphasizes business model, market research, and management team. Not at all by coincidence, those are the factors that most influence leading-edge investors when looking at leading-edge companies for leading-edge new deals.

Business model is particularly remarkable. Who needs to talk about business model? Mainly new deal companies that don’t have any obvious way to show investors that they can make money. We didn’t talk about business models at all until companies started getting lots of investment money without having one.

I said subset. This business plan is a selling document, designed to prove concepts to outsiders. It’s not what every business needs. Form follows function.If you don’t have to prove your market to outsiders, then you might focus more planning attention on what you’re going to do and what’s going to happen and less on proving to outsiders that it’s likely to work.

One of the fundamentals of my plan-as-you-go business planning approach is that you don’t do the supporting information if you’re not going to use it. Do the market forecast if you have to prove it. If you’re going to just do it anyhow (whatever “it” is), because you’re sure of your business and its market, then get to work. It doesn’t mean you don’t want planning to make it better, but it does mean that your plan isn’t a document, and it’s done for you, not for outsiders.

  • Tim,

    I couldn't agree more that the elements of a business plan should be based on what one intends to do with it. Not all business plans are designed to attract outside investment.

    FYI, the image actually came from Charlie at BusinessClass, http://businessvlife.wordpress.com/.

    Best regards,
    RS