Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blueprint for your business


Michael Eager

Donna Vazquez, Marc Roethel, Zach Batty, Garrett Batty, Michael Kingsley, George Loch, Jacob Hoehne, Michael Eager, Micah Anderson.

Business Plans

A bullhorn would have been useful today! I was on one end of the table and I could hardly hear two people down from me.

I for one found Mike’s comments very timely and helpful. I think I’m inclined to brush off the importance of goal setting. It can be an arduous process to capture my vision on paper. But, I see that making a business plan is an important step, even for a service-based company.

Zach had a great insight about having an exit strategy with a “talent” based company. For many of us, the business is 100% our own ability. It reminded me of Kiyosaki’s description of taking your company “through the eye of the needle.” This was his term for building the business to the point where it can sustain itself and run successfully without you. It’s then that you have a business you can sell (or move on to build something else).

Mike listed three purposes of a business plan - or rather, three different audiences:
- Funding: Banks, Angel Investors, VC, etc.
- Partnerships
- Owner’s own roadmap

Especially for where most of us are, the third objective is the most relevant.

What were your thoughts? If you didn’t make this meeting, what role does goal setting play in your business? What is your exit strategy?


: : Jacob : :


I didn't get what the big deal is with a business plan. Can somebody explain it to me?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 05:31 PM

Why is a business plan a big deal? Pardon the long quote, but I think Lewis Carroll put it perfectly in "Alice in Wonderland".

" 'Would you tell me, please,' Alice asked, 'which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don`'t much care where--' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.' "

If you don't care where you are going in the long run, a business plan is unimportant. If you truly want to be where you are planning to be, then you need to do just that--plan. A business plan allows you to delineate exactly what you want to do in your business, as well as the steps you are going to take to get there. In this way it becomes not only a list of goals, but a measuring stick by which to check your progress and a road map to keep you on the right track. Two years from now, can you look at your plan and check off some items? When you need to make a decision about whether or not to take a risk or grab an opportunity--does it look like it will move you along the path toward your goals? Or is it a distraction?

In reality, having a written business plan may not make or break a business, but it will certainly divide the mediocre from the great.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 10:14 PM

Mike K
Don't get me wrong, I'm not big on the whole business plan either. I never really ever set one up and have been doing good. However I can see some of the points he is making. Main point being that it reminds us of our goals. No one can remember all the time the things we want to accomplish. Plus it's kind of something to be accountable to. Otherwise if our business does not grow much this year we could just say to ourself it doesn't matter and be a little more lazy.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 10:25 PM

Michael Eagar
I agree the venue proved to be rough for communication. Great food, poor privacy.

About the importance of a business plan, I think it depends on what you want your business to be. If you want to stay a small business - one person show (aka one-man-band), I would not waste my time on a business plan. If you are the only one in the business, and you are the only one that wants or needs to know the marketing strategy, the sales strategy, how you plan to get customers, how much you plan to invest in the company, where you want to be in 3 or 5 years, etc. And if you are not looking for financing, I would not spend your valuable time on a business plan.

If you want your business (service or product) to grow with many employees, partners, and may even be interested in growth with funding from others, you are going to have to communicate what you have in your head on paper to show them your vision, strategy, what makes you different from others, etc. The business plan helps them see the opportunity that you see.

For me I start every business like I do other goals. I start with the end in mind of what do I want to get out of this activity. This year I will be competing in my first 1/2 Ironman race. Hence, this is why I work out. I use the same frameset when I start a business. I want my house paid off by the time I am 35 (3 years away). The reason I started my company Utah Labs was to sell it before I am 35 and use the money towards my house and some other projects (Lucky me, I am on track so far!). The business plan for me helps me to outline this and refer to it over and over again seeing if I meet my short term goals, and what needs to change in order to keep me on track with my long term goals.

To sum it up, I think using a business plan is up to you and your business. I think taking the time to create one depends on if your "plans" for your business go beyond you and need to be communicated with others in a way that is laid out in a business plan format. Otherwise, keep selling, communicate your plan verbally, and do what is working in your business. The business plan should be a tool, not a burden.
Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 09:16 AM

perhaps this comes off as a bit "syrupy" for some, but i like to think of business plans, goals, etc., in terms of the FAITH + WORKS formula.

u gotta have a vision of where you want to go (faith part) AND execute with discipline (work) in order to achieve. one without the other is dead.

i'm not saying it has to be a full-on biz plan, like what others have stated, but we run a risk when we do business OR live our lives without an end in mind.
Friday, January 12, 2007 - 10:17 AM