Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time both in workshops and online researching how to build that killer business plan that’s going to anyone’s company to the next level. What I’ve discovered so far is that there really is no template for success when making a business plan (I know this may be obvious but its incredible the variation and quantity of suggested templates available). There are however key sections that need to be covered that I have found in any worthwhile template. Below I wanted to present a layout that I have since found to be the best (in my opinion) for a solid start to your business plan that can be used for pitching to potential investors (and business competitions).
1. The People – I know this has become more obvious recently, but to reiterate: most research and studies point to the fact that most big money investments in risky (yet possibly rewarding) ventures are made based majorly on the people in the company. The people section not only requires explanation of who is in the company and their credentials but more importantly how they fit into the company and how they complement the skills that the other employees have or don’t have.
2. The Opportunity – For me being in the high-tech start-up space it is easy to get bogged down in the technical aspect of the inventions’ opportunity, BUT remember that anyone who is going to invest in your company wants to know HOW you are going to make money (sales!). What’s the death of most startups? Nope not the tech, its lack of SALES!
3. The Context – This is really where you get into some the nitty gritty of the regulatory environment, financial environment, and any other factors that are external to the opportunity that you as the entrepreneur have to adjust and accommodate for regardless of how good your technology/idea/service is.
4. Risk and Reward – What are your major risks? What can cause your company to fail in the next week? Month? 6-months? Year? 5-years? After explaining these risks, the most important part is to discuss how you plan to mitigate these risks with or without the resources you have at your disposal. It is also important to discuss different paths to success and different paths to the reward (financial, ethereal) that you and your shareholders seek.
Additions? Recommendations for new sections or more refined section focus? Let me know in the comments
I went to Blue Creek Campground outside of Banff, AB last weekend and truly enjoyed some very nice September scenery. The rivers were low as it was late in September, but the colour of the water was as spectacular as ever. Theres something to be said about the calmness of a quick moving river full of ice-cold glacier run-off. Here are some of the best pictures I have to share:
And then of course we find a lone cow in the middle of the road…only in Alberta:
And then of course, nothing like a nice campfire to wrap up a beautiful day:
In order to get to Edmonton from my home province of Ontario, I had to road trip across the country and since it was my first time doing so I took some pictures of the highlights and would like to share them!
It was my first time driving across the Canada, after having crossed the USA multiple times. I would have to say that it was a completely different experience than the trip across the States for several reasons. First off, when driving on the I-80 in the USA, there are truck-stops, gas stations, hotels, and small towns scattered along the highway in a very high abundance. I would say the exact opposite for this trip, as there seems that the Canadian wilderness is much sparser when it comes to human life. I took the Trans-Canada highway across northern Ontario through the Sue, Wawa, and Thunder Bay. Here are some pictures from the Ontario section:
The packed car with my UofWaterloo sticker:
Lake Superior, was absolutely breath taking as the sun went down:
The WORLD FAMOUS (not really) Wawa goose:
The Husky Muskee in Kenora, Ontario:
The Terry Fox monument commemorating his journey and where he finally collapsed on his trip across Canada, just outside of Thunder Bay:
And goodbye Ontario:
I had never visited Northern Ontario before, but I wish to soon go back as it is an incredibly beautiful place!
And now for the province signs as I finish the second half of the trip through the flattest provinces known to mankind:
So you are new to the scene, you want to start a non-.com/.org/.me/.anything company, and all you have is a computer and enthusiasm to start finding information on how to do it. It’s tough being in the startup scene and not starting an online based company nowadays as it seems all resources and readily available literature is mostly surrounded on the methodology of starting the next Facebook.com. But all is not lost:
The first step is to realize that startup methods applied to online based companies can also be applied directly to every other startup company as long as you take sometime to tweak the info and adjust it to your needs. Several references that I have found my self reading and enjoying have been the following:
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (Eric Ries)
Take some lessons on how to get through the boring things and focus on the important process of Build-Measure-Learn. Also can visit theleanstartup.com and see if there are any Lean Startup Meetups in your area.
How to Argue: Powerfully, Persuasively, Positively (Jonathan Herring)
Every new Entrepreneur(unless you are classically trained as a Debator/Lawyer) should probably take some time looking into how to negotiate, whether that be for your seed-capital or your cellphone service.
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey)
I’ve found this book both highly enlightening due to its ability to point out things you thought you know but didn’t understand about yourself, as well as helping you to improve personally and professionally.
So I’m still working on finishing these books, but so far each of them have been exciting and inspiring in different ways. I will be updating on insights and important information that I’ve garnered from these resources as I find them.