Great ideas for 2015
2015 has arrived and we are awash with predictions and resolutions. Many aspiring entrepreneurs and ambitious engineers will also have started the New Year with ideas for great new businesses. Others who are already on the start up journey will have woken on 1 January with a renewed determination to take their business to the next level. Hopefully we will see many of these dreams become reality over the next 12 months. But if you are excited by a new idea, how do you turn that passion into action?
Many advisors will tell you that creating a business plan should be your first step. This sounds like common sense but it can also be pretty scary. Business plans can be daunting documents full of structured argument, impressive charts and diagrams and complex figures and analysis. Is it really worth the effort and pain?
No shortage of good reasons...
There are lots of reasons why it might be the right choice. I saw an article recently by Tim Berry (@timberry) of Palo Alto Software with 15 reasons to write a business plan! It boils down to 4 main benefits:
...but maybe its a waste of time?
With all these benefits you might now be thinking there is no reason not to write a business plan. But there are also some good reasons why you might feel that now is not the right time:
Tell your story in 5 tough questions
So why not stop planning and just do it? It is all about timing and circumstances. The business plan is not dead yet but its importance is also overplayed in many quarters. As an investor and as an advisor, my first step would always be to talk to an entrepreneur than read a document. Write it down when the time is right but your first priority should be to tell your story.
That story needs to answer five tough questions:
Once you answer the 5 tough questions, creating a business plan, a pitch deck or a strategy presentation is just a matter of mechanics and time. My focus for Sunstone Communication in the next year will be providing ideas, tools and advice which help you answer these questions. Come talk to me if you are interested in finding out more.
Kenny Fraser is the Director of Sunstone Communication and a personal investor in startups.