THE FOOD START UP DIARIES: ENTRY TWO
Again my order in these diaries isn't "historically" accurate as a journey time line, because you must be thinking, "surely the product came first?!" However, I am going to do the evolution of the products as separate entries, as well, they are still evolving!
So not strictly the second thing, but it definitely came in the early stages was the business plan. Now many people are very anti-business plans, claiming they stifle innovation, they are intimidating, a waste of time etc. Which depending on how you approach writing your business plan this is very true.
However, I have found my business plan invaluable, it is a very fluid document which I regularly update when I brainstorming an idea. My document isn't intimidating at all, I don't use any fancy language or write it trying to impress anyone it is me, trying to structure my thoughts.
Pre-writing my business plan;
I assumed my idea was clear to everyone else and that they MUST see the brilliance in it, no explanations required;
I was so caught up in certain aspects of the idea, I would gloss over or completely ignore parts that either didn't fit with my vision, or I felt might be tricky!
The template I used was one I got off the "Princess Trust Website" - shock horror a former PWC employee didn't go and use a fancy big 4 template?! No, because I wanted something simple! Without inserting the whole thing here, I am going to highlight a few key points why I think it is so helpful.
It holds your hand whilst you put your idea down by asking questions like; you are in lift and have 2 minutes to summarise your product?; who are your competitors?
Each topic is given it's own section; not sure on how you are going to finance the project? That's fine, carry on with the other sections, but now you can see which areas of the project you are happy with and which lack substance.
Whether you call it a business plan or not, I think it is imperative you have some form of document where you collate your thoughts.
Personally so as to take the pressure off and avoid procrastination I would always have it that this document is something you are writing for yourself and for no-one else. If on that first day I had thought I was preparing a business plan for a 'Dragon's Den" style encounter, I would have been paralysed with fear and never started, citing that everything I wrote sounded "lame" or "not clever enough".
Instead when I opened that template my thought was let me just have a go!
Best of luck and I hope you find having a business plan as helpful as I have.