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Crafting the perfect business plan is often a challenge for any number of reasons.
In addition, by pre-screening, this tool will effectively let us see more companies that are further along in their business plan development.
This series of newsletters will lay the groundwork for the kick-off of this tool early next year by discussing the different fundamental elements of a business plan, including the following: the team, the value proposition, the market, product/service differentiation, barriers to market entry, competition, business model and financials.
It also shows that they recognize their own limitations, their ability to focus on their strengths and the need to bring in others who know what they don’t in order to reach the goals they envision. Is the idea for the product or service innovative, a unique invention, or is the dream truly inspired?
By innovative, I want to understand if the business plan is centered around a new twist on already-existing technology or services delivered in a new and compelling way?
Are they inspiring to me, each other, and their marketplace?
While this is very simple in summary, the task of evaluating by the three "I" criteria is something to be vigilant while reading any plan and listening to any entrepreneur. I look for it to be a realistic business plan, not something that is pie in the sky. I tend to look more on the conservative side since I feel that is the safest way to go.
Multiple roles should be assigned at first if necessary, and filled with the right people as the entity grows and the timing is right.
I like to see that type of thought process because it shows me they recognize that they won’t be able to do it all themselves and that business success revolves around collaboration and management.
The CEO should be smart and foster good problem solving, have demonstrated a strong work ethic, have a backbone, and enough self-confidence to recruit a staff that is intellectually strong and has complementary skills. Good leaders must be able to listen well, assimilate information rapidly, question the team thoroughly, and make decisions quickly.
They also need the honesty to change positions if needed – without losing the power or authority that is required to effectively lead the company.