Are Business Plans a Waste of Time?

I recently attended a national entrepreneurship conference along with a number of other college instructors and well-known entrepreneurs. I found it interesting that two concurrent sessions offered conflicting points of view on business plans. One session featured a panel of successful entrepreneurs questioning the real world relevance of business plans. The other session focused on teaching students to quickly and correctly develop business plans.

I was intrigued by the panel discussion so that’s the session I attended. None of the entrepreneurs on the panel had ever written a business plan-at least to launch a business-yet they were all extremely successful. The revelation that they did not use written plans is not surprising, most entrepreneurs don’t. One reason given by the panel for forgoing a formal business plan is the natural tendency for entrepreneurs to cling to a business plan they wrote due to the investment in time and effort. The reality, they said, is that things change so much in the real world of business that the assumptions underpinning a business plan must often be altered or even abandoned to allow the business the flexibility necessary to survive. In addition, the entrepreneurs were adamant that a good plan will not make a bad idea work and a great idea probably will not be hampered by a poorly written plan-or no plan. Another concept discussed in the session was that what the entrepreneur is really selling to the venture capitalist or angel investor is the entrepreneur. One of the panelist remarked that, “If the investors believe in you, they will invest in your business.” The consensus from the panelists was that investors look for passion and vision in addition to the idea. They must be convinced that the entrepreneur is capable of persevering and making good decisions and adjustments to keep the business moving forward. Since there were college instructors in attendance, and most entrepreneurship programs require written plans, all entrepreneurs on the panel diplomatically agreed that requiring a business plan as part of a course or program of study was not a waste of time. They concurred that the process itself could offer valuable insight.

As a college entrepreneurship instructor I try to convey as realistically as I can the realities that entrepreneurs face. After attending this conference I realized that students may have difficulty reconciling the two seemingly conflicting points of view presented in the workshops. Certainly my students are aware of the statistics which suggest that most entrepreneurs enter a business without a written plan. To attempt to convince them otherwise would be disingenuous. If the panel was right why bother with a business plan at all? I believe that the answer can be found in the last nugget offered by the panel of entrepreneurs; it is the process that is most beneficial.

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Age Old Marketing Technique Improves Business Plan Executive Summaries

Every business plan book tells you how the Executive Summary is your opportunity to provide a brief overview of your business plan; capture your readers’ attention and imagination; and, summarize the plan’s highlights and key selling points.

So, why am I telling you these 3 things when you probably already know them?

Because it’s useless advice unless you employ one, not so obvious, age old marketing technique to make these points come alive.

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How to Create an Internet Business Plan

A trend that is growing in popularity is starting an online business. One of the first and most important things to get your business off to the right start is to make an effective and well thought out internet business plan. By creating a good plan, you can focus your efforts and in turn help grow your business and make it successful.

The following are some tips to help you create the best internet business plan for your business. These tips are applicable for both prior to starting your business and after it has been established.

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