London Business School professor John Mullins says now is a great time to start a business. He writes in the WSJ:
Costs are lower, and more talent is available, thanks to layoffs. Prospective clients are more likely to try a new supplier who can help them cut costs or increase their competitiveness. Established players, too, are focused on cutting costs instead of increasing market share.
Of course, starting a business means finding funding, and finding means writing a business plan.
In his very long WSJ article, Mullins explains what not to do when writing one up. We’ve boiled it down to five bullet points:
- Don’t focus on your amazing technology. Focus on the customer need your business will solve.
- Don’t overestimate the size of an untapped market, and then claim your business will only need to capture a small slice of it. In untapped markets, the consumers don’t know they need a product yet and they don’t know how to get it. Mullins calls these the “Coke-for-Every-Kid plans.”
- Don’t stretch the numbers. Mullins quotes an entrepreneur who says, “With a couple of beers and an Excel spreadsheet, you can make a lot of money in no time.” Don’t try it.
- Don’t lead with your resume. Investors don’t care how many Harvard MBAs there are on your team.
- Don’t ignore the risks your business will face. Investors know all businesses have their weaknesses. Don’t be naive and try to pretend yours won’t.