Any entrepreneur who has written a business plan knows the challenge. For one thing it has so many goals. Among others, a plan should:

  • Describe the market need
  • Describe a plan of what you're going to do
  • Attract investment
  • Attract a team
  • Look good
  • Be flexible
  • Describe your competition

I suggest the United States Declaration of Independence can claim to be the best entrepreneurial document in history, perhaps combined with the full business plan a few years later, also known as the Constitution.

Market need: Its greatest strength. Its list of grievances is clear and compelling. Who doesn't want to escape tyranny?

A plan: It doesn't just describe a plan, it put it into action. It declared independence.

Attracting investment: Not only did it attract investment, it got it from the French, notoriously not entrepreneurial and slow to act.

Attract a team: Just writing the document got some amazing players. They got the John Hancock of John Hancock! Thomas Jefferson was a serious player whose connections got George Washington, Alexander Hamilton (before he hit Broadway!), and more.

Having Benjamin Franklin aboard pulled in some Benjamins.

Look good: We've all seen too many cheesy Powerpoint decks. The Declaration wrote the book on classy. Why doesn't anyone do handwritten calligraphy on yellowed parchment any more? They killed the category.

Flexibility: It may have lacked flexibility and painted the team into a corner with the competition. Still, they won that battle and put flexibility into the full business plan, amending it dozens of times while still sticking with it.

Competition: Many entrepreneurs act like they have no competition, which investors know means they don't know their market. The Declaration minced no words and stood right up to the competition, the best in the world in its day, and won.

The competition's recent "Brexit" product seems derivative with poor market acceptance.

Results

Ultimately, we have to judge a document by its results. How did this one do?

Since most ventures fail, most entrepreneurs would be happy with a venture that lasts a few years. How about 240!

Most entrepreneurs would be happy with revenues in the millions. How about three trillion!

They went public from the start, in a difficult regulatory environment to say the least.

Most entrepreneurs would be happy to grow their teams to a few dozen or hundred. How about 324 million!

As Space X and Virgin Galactic compete to get into space, this team made it to the moon. The moon! Enough said.

Room for improvement

Claims that the organization has become overly bureaucratic seem well-founded.

Published on: Jul 1, 2016