You know, it's entirely possible we're making business planning way too complicated.
Don't get me wrong -- business planning is incredibly important, and you need to dedicate time and resources to making sure you're ready to rock and roll on your launch date.
But investors don't want to see or hear a 20-minute pitch.
They don't want to read a 40-page business plan.
And they don't want to sit through any more than 10 PowerPoint slides.
We know this, and yet when you're super excited about your idea, you just want to tell the world! Often in painstaking detail.
Resist the urge to overshare in your business plan. Get right to the heart of what it is that makes you different, and what's going to make you successful. Get to the point of your plan.
A young entrepreneur whose business plan hit Reddit recently did just that, and you have to admire her ability to cut right to the chase:
Nine-year old Rylee's mother found the business plan in her daughter's backpack, as the story goes, and it quickly became an Internet sensation. The savvy kidpreneur starts her business plan out with something we would all do well to remember: to get a head start, look to people with experience to help you out!
In Rylee's case, this is Mom and Dad.
She knows it's going to take some convincing, too, and has accounted for the fact she'll need to work on getting them to say yes.
Rylee is going to look for pricing information and create marketing materials to "spread the word!"
Of course, #6 is critically important: actually carrying out on the task of walking the dogs.
And #7 is priceless: Success!
The intrepid young businesswoman's plan was such a hit that it received millions of views and comments on Reddit.
If only we could all be as succinct and direct with our ideas.
Starting a business is already terrifying and complicated enough. Do we need to make it more so with long, boring business plans? I think not. If you're struggling with your business plan, use these tips to get you back on track:
Don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel -- use a business plan template to get you started. You can always customize it to suit your purposes.
Do your research, but remember that you don't have to include it all. You can always keep in-depth information about your market and competitors on hand without trying to cram everything you know into this one document.
Be sure to explain clearly and as briefly as possible why your idea will work. Don't get so bogged down in explaining it or how it works that you forget to highlight the main point: why it's different and awesome.
Take a critical pass over the entire plan and ask yourself, what can I remove without negatively affecting the quality of this plan?