Learned at Entrepreneur Cafe Nairobi
A business plan, this dreadful yet magic document, seems to be so crucial to a business yet so hard to write. During our first July meeting we gathered several facts about business plans that take the fear out of the writing process:
1. The difference between a business plan and a business model. The business model can be summarised on one page, showing the ways money gets into the business and how it is used and for what. The business model may be the starting point for or part of a business plan, giving more details and breaking down the model into actual numbers, actions and milestones.
2. The importance of story Designing a business model means telling a story. It’s a bit like looking at a drawing of a house and seeing all the processes going on in the different rooms. The business plan also tells a story, but it’s more of a road movie, a journey from a starting point, meeting different people and events along the way, overcoming certain obstacles and reaching a destination.
3. The elevator pitch, Whether you have a business model, a business plan or none yet – practice your pitch. Imagine you are in an elevator and a highly influential and successful person comes in and asks you: So, what do you do. You have maybe three seconds to make her ask for your contacts – or forget about you. Entrepreneur Cafe is a great, safe place to practice your pitch and talk it into reality. The same way an elevator pitch makes you look confident about your business, a business plan shows professionalism.
4. Say the truth, When presenting your business plan, people will realise whether you actually know what you are talking about or not. Being nervous is normal, but if you are burning for your venture there is no need of making up facts and figures.
5. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel There are templates, software, courses and more resources online and offline. People have done it before and you can learn from them. Just make sure to include operations, management, marketing and financials.
6. A business plan is a living document In most cases you will make projections on how you plan to grow and run your business in future. There will be changes along the way. So don’t engrave it in stone and then tuck it away and bury it, but use it to guide you, to come closer to your dream business every day, and don’t shy away from changing and adapting it regularly.