Have a Plan!
A business plan, as theoretical as it may sound, is a must have for any entrepreneur. Lack of a proper plan is a very big reason as to why my last startup failed. We often tend to think that a plan is only required to show to an investor when we start looking for investment. This is a big mistake most of us tend to mistake.
One MUST have a plan for the startup from the very first day. We need to comprehensively plan the business for the short and the long terms. A typical plan must include:
- vision and mission of the startup
- product/service clearly defined
- target markets addressed alongwith their sizes
- financial planning with regards to money required and revenue models
- team plan; who we need now and how this will change over time
- my competitors; their strengths, weaknesses and that one solid thing (atleast) which differentiates my business from them
- targets for everything; customer traction, sales, profit margins etc.
I am not saying that actuals will go according to the plan and in fact they almost never do, but it is important for an entrepreneur to know what the reasons for the deviations are and what has to be done from there on. The plan needs to be updated regularly so that, as I have already mentioned in a previous post, the entrepreneur is in control of the venture.