Look. Thinking through your business start-up is essential. But there are some steps you should take before you sit down to write your business plan. And in some (many?) cases the business planning process just interferes with the essential “real-world-proof-of-concept” step.
From Tim Berry’s free “Plan as You Go” book and website.
Validating the idea and understanding the business model are pretty important steps that should come before writing a business plan. That’s hardly a novel idea.
Still, novel idea or not, successful entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa spells out the early stages very well in a BusinessWeek special report published in early 2008, “Before You Write a Business Plan.”
He starts with a short list for validating the idea:
- Write down your thoughts on the product you want to build and the needs you want to solve. You’ll be detailing your hypotheses.
- Validate these hypotheses with as many potential customers as you can. Ask them if they will buy your product or service if you build it. Learn about what features they need and what they will pay for, ask them for more ideas, and be sure that there is a large enough market.
- Build a prototype of your product or offer a test run of your service and again ask potential customers what they think about it. You’ll find that customers usually provide much better input when they can actually try out a product.
Then Wadhwa also suggests a slightly longer list for developing the business model, by answering s a series of questions. …