Business Plan Insights – The Accelerated Entrepreneur

Here are the top insights I gained from writing a business plan as I become a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks:

1) While I was advised to begin the process of writing my business plan by answering this question: "What do you want?", I realized that what others want me to want, and what I want, are not the same. I had to use my dreams as a standard by which to write the plan and to edit it. I could tell the difference between my dreams and those of others by the intensity of my passion. When it waned, I cut.

2) I felt vulnerable writing the mission and motto. I attempted to express my deepest beliefs, values, and longings for what a company could achieve. (An idealist? Moi?) Someone, inevitably, will trash these. Ah, well. Like a hand of poker, when I choose to take a hit, feedback can sharpen my plan. When I decide to stick, my commitment is clarified.

3) When writing the business development section, I found myself struggling with Mark Twain’s advice to "Eschew surplusage." I wanted to use biz-savvy abstractions like "solutions," not naive details like "Office decor includes cat."

4) Predicting revenues reminded me of frosting a fallen cake. One fills in the gap with icing, knowing it will still taste good, and hopes no one notices.

5) I finished my plan one morning–I know, I know, a business plan is never finished, but it’s no longer an idea, or just started, but finished–and met that afternoon with VT Knowledge Works’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Doug Juanarena of GenTek Ventures.

When Doug asked me about my work, I felt filled with the insights gained from writing my business plan. I  replied from an inner Claytor Lake, not from an inner puddle like the one that fills my neighbor’s driveway after a rainstorm.

I used to answer, "I write Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, the VT KnowledgeWorks blog."  It’s a good gig.

"Writing the VT KnowledgeWorks blog is part of a larger enterprise…," I said.  That’s a better gig.

6) Ultimately, writing a business plan reminded me of finishing my first sprint triathlon. I didn’t feel too great during it, or too great after it when I saw my near-last-place results, but a week or so later, standing in a grocery store checkout line, I thought, "I did that."

I stood up a little taller.

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The Accelerated Entrepreneur:  The Saga of the First Year as a Member Company of VT KnowledgeWorks is sponsored by YOUR NAME HERE with text link.  YOUR NAME HERE…specializes in your business description or tagline here.

Anne Giles Clelland is the founder of a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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