Every year, as an investor, I look at scores of business plans from eager entrepreneurs who seek funding for their emerging enterprises. Most plans are not well written and I find only a few that are excellent. I invite the founders with poorly conceived plans to improve their efforts and return when they are ready to present again.
At the end of a presentation, I take time to share with the entrepreneur what they need to do to develop an optimal business blue print.
For those high achievers who have thoughtfully prepared outstanding plans, with reliable assumptions, they often receive the funding they need for company growth.
I contacted my good friend, Thomas Harrison, chairman of Diversified Agency Services, an Omnicom division, to share his views with me on the key elements of a great business plan. Over the years, he has seen numerous presentations from companies Omnicom has purchased that represent a vast number of firms within the Omnicom firmament of marketing organizations. He, too, has seen a combination of terrific and terrible plans.
“Mr. Harrison,” I asked, “What counsel would you give an aspiring business builder on the development of a great plan?”
“Alan,” he said, “I think some people get confused between a business plan and a marketing plan. A business plan is a genetic, molecular definition of my business. It crystallizes why I’m in business; it shouts what I do for the world, for consumers, for my customers. It dissects my business DNA and how it is unique and it clarifies why my customers should do business with me.”
“The “Plan” is the blueprint; it’s the architect’s renderings that show the skeleton of the business… the DNA of the business. The Plan allows me to be crystal clear about that skeleton and how it supports my vision of my value (the business value) to my customers. It explains exactly why customers will buy what I make/sell and what it is about my product that will delight my customers.”
Ten Key Points: