Business Plan Competitions vs. Business Model Contests

No One Wins In Business Plan Competitions

Business Plan Versus Business Models
Where did the idea that startups write business plans come from?  A business plan is the execution document that large companies write when planning product-line extensions where customer, market and product features are known. The plan describes the execution strategy for addressing these “knowns.”  In the early days of venture capital, investors and entrepreneurs were familiar with the format of business plans from large company and adopted it for startups. Without much thought it has been used ever since.

The Alternative – Business Model Competitions
I’ll offer that to be useful for startups Business Plan competitions need to turn into Business Model competitions. A Business Model competition has a radically different goal than writing a business plan.  The Business Model competition measures how well students learn how to Pivot by getting outside the building (not by writing a plan inside one.)

Read the rest here

Recommended reading – Mixergy BLOG

The Mixergy Mission

The Mixergy Mission is to introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you.

The Mixergy Mission is to give you an alternative to the “know-it-all, professional gurus.” I want to convince you that no single person knows it all. I want to show you that the best way to grow is to learn from a mix of smart people who are willing to share their expertise and experiences.

The Mixergy Mission is to infect you with a passion for business and then help you build your business.

The Mixergy Mission is to encourage YOU to have a mission, not just a startup, not just a company, but a calling.

The Mixergy Mission is to act as a counter-weight to all the venture capitalists who’ll try to convince you that the only reason to build a business today is so you can flip it tomorrow. The world isn’t changed by people who have an eye on the exit.

The Mixergy Mission is to convince you to follow a vision so big and important that you can’t do it alone. Then I want to give you a mix of wicked-smart people who will help you achieve it.

The Mixergy Mission is too big for me to achieve alone. If what I’m describing here calls to you, jump in and join me.

Help for Startups! – A semi-complete list of startup accelerator programs

Robert Shedd’s list of startup accelerator programs. Click here

The number and worldwide diversity of these programs is absolutely amazing.

Thanks Robert!

SBA Research data

SBA Research – Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories

The Office of Advocacy’s Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories supply data on small businesses in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The publication also provides national-level data and limited data on the U.S. territories. The usefulness of the publication is the great detail it provides about small businesses at the state level. The following topics are covered: the number of firms, demographics of business ownership, small business income, banking, business turnover, industry composition, and employment gains and losses by size of business. Detailed historical data may be found in the Small Business Economy.

Small Business Lending Falls

Loans to Small Businesses Dropped at Double the Overall Rate


Government funding to U.S. banks has done little to ease the credit crunch for small businesses—and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving, according to a new report.

The value of large banks’ loans to small businesses shrank 9% between 2008 and 2009, more than double the 4.1% drop for overall lending, said a report released Thursday by the Congressional Oversight Panel, a group set up to oversee funds allocated by the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“Big banks pulled back on everyone, but they pulled back harder on small businesses,” said Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the oversight panel, in a discussion with reporters.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s TARP programs, launched during the depths of the financial meltdown, didn’t improve access to credit, the report claims.

“Treasury never required banks to lend their new money,” said Ms. Warren.

The squeeze on small-business credit “has been and remains a serious economic challenge,” said Gene Sperling, counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in an interview. “There’s also little question that the crisis, the economy and small business lending would have been far worse without the swift and significant financial rescue efforts.”

Based on the Treasury’s own research, smaller banks that took capital from the rescue efforts showed stronger small-business lending than comparable small banks that did not, Mr. Sperling said.

The oversight panel didn’t include this data in its report, but said that small-business lending values at the smallest banks fell by about 2.7%, compared with a 0.2% decline in their overall lending.

Read the rest here

VC Wear — Lesson #1

Lesson #1

A list of Start-Up BLOGS from Venture Hacks

I wish I’d found this (April 2009) list earlier.

Start up BLOGS (A list from Venture Hacks)

by Nivi on April 9th, 2009

“With knowledge being universally accessible, there will be no excuses for non-performance.”    – Peter Drucker

Steve Blank recently asked me to prepare a list of startup blogs for his customer development class. Here you go Steve.

I read all of these blogs. They all have incredibly useful archives. And they’re all written by people who teach and practice, so the advice is practical.

Must read

Eric Ries – Startup Lessons Learned
Fred Wilson – A VC

Marc Andreessen – pmarca

Paul Graham

37signals – Signal vs. Noise

More to read

Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson – Ask the VC
David Hornik – VentureBlog
Dharmesh Shah – On startups
Josh Kopelman – Redeye VC

Should be posting more often

Bill Burnham – Burnham’s Beat
David Cowan – Who Has Time For This?
Naval Ravikant – StartupBoy
Steve Barsh – Barsh Bits


Yoichiro “Yokum” Taku – Startup Company Lawyer


Mike Speiser – Laserlike

Steve Blank On the town

Andrew Chen – Futuristic Play

Dave McClure – Master of 500 Hats

Comedy  Venture Capital Wear