Choosing Between the Plan and the Opportunity

Imagine yourself as judging a business plan competition. You read the plan, watch and listen to the pitch, ask questions, and consider the answers. What do you do, in that situation, with a team whose opportunity is in your opinion bigger than it realizes? What about a team whose opportunity is different from what it realizes?

Do you reward the team for what you’re thinking and they aren’t? For the opportunity they’ve built that they don’t see?

For example: a team is trying to do too much too fast, spreading the business way too thin, and therefore losing, in your opinion, a really interesting opportunity at hand. That opportunity would require focus, and they’re trying to do way too much.

Another example, almost the opposite of the first one: the team is focusing very narrowly on a hard market, not seeing what you think is a much more interesting and easier to address market in a different direction.

Is it the best business opportunity, based on the assumption that this team will listen and redirect? Or is it the best business plan?

Having seen similar situations as angel investor, I want to put my money where the opportunity is; as long as I can reassure myself that the team will see it as I do. But as a judge in a venture or business plan competition, I think I have to go by what the team says, not what I think it could have said.

What do you think?


  • themadpeacock says:

    As a judge I think you are obliged to go with what they see, not the potential you see. After all, you are rewarding the team for the fish they catch, not the fact that they happened to pick a good spot on the river.

  • Strategic Growth Advisors says:

    Great article, Tim. Nice insight, Brad. This is one useful resource for entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts who are trying to have more prominence in their respective fields.

  • Bradford Shimp says:

    I agree that in judging a competition, you have to judge based on where the contestants are at, not where they could be.

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