Are Business Plans Obsolete for Startups?

My name is Andrew Weinreich, founder of seven startups and advisor to many more. Join me as I coach founders by answering
their toughest questions about how to start and scale their businesses. I’m sure you’ve heard a story about two
guys in a garage in Palo Alto who scribbled a tiny drawing on the back of
a napkin and walked into a venture capitalist’s office and were giving a
check for five million dollars. Unfortunately, stories like that distort
what you really need to do, what the 99.999% of people should be doing. A business plan represents all of the
questions that need to be asked and answered to tell your story. What does the product or service look like? What’s the market you’re going after? How large is the market? What does the competitive framework look like? How do
you price the product or service? How do you market it or sell it? If you
don’t ask these questions, there’s no chance that you’ve got the right answers
to them because you probably haven’t even demonstrated the discipline to
answer all of these questions. The fact that after you start the
answers may all change makes no difference. Changes need to occur relative to a
starting point. Your starting point is the business plan. It should be obvious at this point that the
most important audience is you. The most important audience is you because you
are the founder of this business and you need to see this entire venture from a
360-degree perspective before you can get going. But there are other audiences.
When you want to inspire people to work for you or around you or to invest in
you, you will need to share this business plan with employees or advisors or
investors. When you put this plan together, you should have the confidence after
going through the discipline of researching those areas you’re not
familiar with and coming up with the best answers you can, you should have the confidence to move forward.

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