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.
"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.
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.