Demand More From Your Business Plan
How would you like to light two rockets with one match? Let me tell you how; create a short and effective business plan that attracts investors to your ideas and your vision, plus help you run your business and keeps you on track to meet your goals.
In his last blog, ‘Do Investors Fund Ideas or People”, Robert Steven Kramarz, the Executive Director of Intellversity, talks about how critical it is to investors to see the human side of your business. The Business Power Plan includes that important element.
In this article, I want to share with you a special tool that we have found to be very valuable for innovators and visionaries who need to raise money. It’s called the Business Power Plan. Unlike a traditional business plan that may be 30 or 40 pages long, it is two or three pages long. Unlike the traditional business plan, it gives investors insight into your idea and the human side of your business. It is similar in length to an executive summary of a traditional business plan. The makeup of it, and how you work with it is what’s unique.
Your Situation: You Need to Raise Money
You may be a start-up and you need funding or you’re adding a new business segment to a more mature business, and again, you need money. Perhaps you got one round of investment, and you need a second round.
Chances are you need a full business plan for your investors. But what are the steps to get there? If you write a traditional business plan right away, it can be overwhelming to prepare. It can sometimes be hard to see the forest for the trees. It often is also time-consuming and if you hire help it can be costly. Speaking of that, your time costs money also.
Furthermore, a traditional business is often not useful for actually running your business day to day.
What I want to share with you here in this article is how to create a business plan that is a powerful precursor for a traditional business plan and at the same time an excellent tool for actually running your business.
How is the Business Power Plan Structured?
The business power plan has five sections:
- The first one is your vision. What do you envision happening – not just now, but also in the long run?
- Why are you in business, what is your mission? We work with our clients to make sure that that the mission is expressed in only 8-12 words. What is it that you’re providing; which problem are you solving? Typically, that takes a little bit of thought to get the mission down to a short but clear and memorable expression. Oftentimes the innovator really benefits from some help with that because he/she is too close to it to pair it down to a simple expression.
- Next is the goal sections. We’re talking about the overall big goals. They may be revenue goals, profit goals, how many locations you plan to have where, etc. Think about your goals for your team composition. It’s important to your success and to potential investors to see you have a strong, balanced team. There is also a section about personal goals to help you create work/life balance.
- The fourth section is about strategies. You need to make sure that these strategies really are designed to meet your goals. In our work, we use a process of reverse engineering as we create the business power plan with our clients. You may put forth a strategy or a set of strategies and then do a calculation as to whether this actually gets you to the goals you have set. Then from that, you may realize that it wise to adjust the goals and/or adjust the strategies until it starts the plan that has emerged is cohesive and has a good chance of working.
- In the final step, you establish an action plan based on the strategies you just described and reality-tested. You may map out bigger actions over the course of a longer period, e.g., three years. But typically, we focus primarily on establishing the action plan for the next 90 days. It becomes a living breathing document: For every month that elapses off of your action plan, you add on another month, so you always have a 90-day action plan.
Having a business plan with a specific action plan that lends itself to weekly and even daily accountability is very unusual – yet, extremely useful and profitable. So you could see it perhaps as an appendix to the traditional business plan executive summary.
What are the Benefits of the Business Power Plan?
First, it’s a tool to capture the results of thinking your innovation and vision thoroughly. What specifically is needed to make it a success? If you don’t do that, it reduces, even eliminates, your chance to get funding. You need to express very clearly and quickly what your business is about to capture potential investors right away.
It is important to get feedback from someone knowledgeable in business and investing. When we work with our client’s plan, we give them feedback from the perspective of having worked with a lot of companies on business growth and business turnaround’s. We also look through the lens of investors as most of Intelliversity’s faculty are investors. This experience helps us to know what questions to ask and how to give feedback. In that process, you often discover aspects that you haven’t thought about. Everyone, no matter how brilliant they are, has blind spots (it is simply physics – you can’t see everything).
The second benefit of the Business Power Plan is getting clear in your mind how it all hangs together, and how to articulate what you want to do with the funding. You are demonstrating clarity to your potential investors. This document also provides clarity to new and existing team members and collaborators. Clarity breeds buy-in and trust. It attracts resources, from money to people.
It’s an Effective “Sniff Test” for Investors
The Business Power Plan, without doing anything else, is an effective sniff test to test interest by investors. With this plan, you can attract investors who say those all important words, “Yes, that sounds interesting, and I’d like to see more.” The same holds true for team members and collaborators, joint venture partners, and people who are inspired to become or refer potential investors to you.
With the Business Power Plan as a foundation, you can readily expand it and create a pitch deck, depending on what stage you are in fund raising. The Business Power Plan can be expanded into a full, traditional business plan which is more effective and crisp. Doing the long plan as a second step makes it faster and much less painful to do.
If you already have a traditional plan we can “reverse engineer” it into the Business Power Plan that gives you clarity, a tool to run your business more effectively and team buy in.
Can I Do This Myself?
Of course. Take a piece of paper and write down vision, mission, goals, strategies and action plan. As I said above, make sure you get honest feedback from someone with business acumen or an investors perspective.
If you want to work with Top-Notch CEO on your plan, we do this together as follows:
- Meet with you over video conference for four 60-minute sessions
- Extract your vision and all the pieces that we need very quickly.
- Articulate, define and refine all of the aspects of your business power plan
- Create the document with you in real time and share the computer screen with you online
Done this way, we can both see it and brainstorm on it together. If you are local, we are also happy to get together in person.
All up, the Business Power Plan is a pain-free, even enjoyable and an affordable way of getting a powerful plan in place to grow your business and entice investors to want to know more.
The Business Power Plan is a way to prepare yourself for funding and to run your business more effectively. Following the format and working with a knowledge business expert you will be doing the toughest part of creating a business plan; crisply articulating your vision and goal and put it into an easily digestible form. You have a 2-3-page plan that resonates for people and opens conversations with them. From there you also can readily expand it into a full business plan, or into a pitch deck or both. And, as a big bonus, you can actually use it to run your business with it.
Dr. Stephie Althouse is an Intelliversity faculty member, CEO, and author. She is the founder and CEO of Top-Notch CEO, a Business Consulting, Executive Coaching, and Training organization. Top-Notch CEO offers proprietary processes that propel successful companies to new levels of profit and transforms underperforming teams into high performing ones.
You can read more about Business Power Plan and Top-Notch CEO here or schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to explore how you can grow your business faster.