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Category Archives: Writing a Business Plan

Business Planning in a Down Economy

By | Business By The Book, Buying a Business, Buying a Franchise, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Increasing Profitability, Investing in Small Businesses, Planning, Starting Up, Valuing a Small Business, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments
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Q: Should the economic forecast be an important factor in determining the type of business to start or acquire? A: Most businesses that are acquired or started are done so with a long time horizon in mind. Add to that the fact of the typical continuous cycles of any economy: (downturn, bottom out, upturn, and peak). Given that long-term view and the necessary expectation of economic cycles that almost defy the ability to forecast the timing of those trends, it’s more important to pick an industry/market in which you have loads of experience and create a superior offering with a…

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Your Business Model Determines Your Success or Failure

By | Business By The Book, Financing a Small Business, Growing a Business, Organization & Strategy, Self Evaluation, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

In business school, I had the privilege to read, study and analyze 1,600 business cases and as a strategy consultant I had the opportunity to transform several different businesses and industries. Additionally, over the past two decades I have reviewed, invested in, and created hundreds of business plans as an entrepreneur, Entrepreneur in Residence/Venture Partner with two venture capital firms and Chairman of a Seed Capital investment firm. One of the lessons that I’ve learned — often painfully as I look back on my mistakes — is that business models really do matter and have a tremendous impact on the…

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Are You an Inventor or an Entrepreneur?

By | Business By The Book, Coming Up with an Idea, Leadership, Self Evaluation, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

I like this topic because there is a very real distinction between the two roles of inventor and entrepreneur. We’ve had a number of Q&As on this topic including How to Determine Whether to Patent and Produce or License Your Idea to Another Company, How to Negotiate a License and Royalty Agreement, How to Take an Invention to Market, How to Make the Most of an Idea Without any Money, and Eight Ways to Prepare for a License and Royalty Agreement Negotiation, but I liked the perspective of this author regarding the entrepreneurial viewpoint and its distinctiveness when compared to an inventor who churns out new…

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What Investors Look For in a Business Plan

By | Business By The Book, Financing a Startup, Investing in Small Businesses, Organization & Strategy, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

I’ve invested in around 20 startups, helped launch scores of others, and advised hundreds more, but I’ve never written a business plan. That is to say that I’ve never written the traditional narrative style plan with all of various sections that you get with typical business planning software (and I don’t think I invested in many like that). All of the plans I’ve written (and the startups I’m drawn to as an investor) are combinations of: A Power Point presentation that tell the story well, and A detailed financial model (which led to the model on this site) to make the…

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The Problem with Being First

By | Business By The Book, Coming Up with an Idea, Growing a Business, Organization & Strategy, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

Those of us that participated in the craziness of the dot com days in the late 1990’s through 2001 will no doubt recall that there was a rush to be first-to-market and launch your company quickly with the coveted “first-mover advantage” status. Simply having that phrase in a venture capital fund-raising presentation in those days usually guaranteed an additional $5 – 10 million in pre-money value from your investors. I, too, was guilty of that thinking in one of my dot com ventures. Well, as we all found out, you can only suspend the normal rules of business for so…

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Ideas on How to Start an IT Services Business

By | Business By The Book, IT Outsourcing, Organization & Strategy, Planning, Self Evaluation, Starting a Family Business, Starting a Part Time Business, Starting Up, Tech, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

Q: I am an out-of-work IT director that cannot seem to land another job. Do you have you any advice or suggestions? If I could come up with a family business that could keep us together and clothed and housed and fed, I’d be more than delighted! A: You could plug into a virtual IT support network and provide services as an independent IT support specialist or your could sell several small businesses your services as a “fractional” IT Director and manage their network, provide user support, etc. at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. The best opportunities for…

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A Father Encourages Family Entrepreneurship

By | Business By The Book, Coming Up with an Idea, Leadership, Starting a Family Business, Starting a Part Time Business, Starting Up, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

What happens when a father sits his family down and lays out a vision for entrepreneurship?  When one father I know did this with his family, the results were dramatic. First, the vision was simple: he encouraged the family to think and pray about how they could contribute to the family economy by using their God-given skills and talents. Second, the strategy was simple: work from the family home, encourage each other and find some initial customers that will pay you for whatever you can do. Within a short period of time everyone in the family had a business and…

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