Today I was transported to school daze when I had the good fortune to attend a seminar on developing a business plan to a primarily Ryerson student audience. The seminar was presented by Dr. Dave Valliere and at $10 for three hours was the deal of the century. The material was so engaging that I managed to fight off flashbacks of incomprehensible scribbles from engineering profs from yesteryear.
Going in I expected to be taken through the structure of the business plan, only to find out that templates are a dime a dozen and what really counts is the thought process that goes into it.
Some of the really important tidbits I learned are:
- Let the investor know how they will get their money back as soon as possible in the plan
- Investors will toss your plan in the garbage at the first opportunity.
- The business has to offer a product that solves a problem exceedingly well.
- The business is more important than the product.
- Demonstrating the methodology used to make financial projections is far more important than the actual numbers – projections are always wrong.
- The numbers should be synchronized with the information in the plan
- Hire people that are smarter than you, get things done and are not assholes.