Q: I am working on a business plan for myInternet start-up company and am wondering what the next step should be.

  1. I would like to know how I can share my idea with the right people. At thispoint, my biggest concern is the privacy of my idea. I am aware of thenondisclosure agreement, but I want to know how effective the document canbe to protect the privacy of my idea. Furthermore, I would like to know if Ishould include a lawyer at this stage to address this problem.
  2. My next concern is my business plan. I have completed a draft of mybusiness plan and would like to put a professional touch to it before Ipresent it to the appropriate parties.
  3. In addition, I am aware that a typical business plan includes a list of"assembled core team of individuals." At this stage, my firm has one otherindividual besides myself involved.

A: Protecting your idea is challenging. I would recommend that you consult anattorney to at least provide a reasonably written nondisclosure documentand procedure for you to follow.Share the global concept so that a possible investor can be convinced ofthe potential of the concept and technology. Remember that prior to an actual investment,you will need to disclose all related information.

As for the business plan,outward appearances go only so far. In the end it is the integrity of thedata, and your ability to present the concept, that will make the difference.To me it is more important to be able to support your claims and assumptionsthan to have a slick-looking plan.

Keep in mind that you only have a few seconds of the investors' time to grab theirinterest. So the first few lines and paragraphs are the most important.Think of the novels you have read and how some captured your attention and compelled you to keep onreading.

As for your team, list who is currently involved and include their résumés.For other positions you feel would be essential to your plan, list them asopen, but detail the type of talent you will be looking for. Remember, yourability to manage needs to be sold as well as the plan.

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Published on: Feb 14, 2000