Write a business plan. Or not.
Every time I see the recommendation to entrepreneurs to write a business plan, I am overcome with weariness. Business plans suck all the energy and enthusiasm out of your idea and require weeks (if not months) of work–time that would be better spent testing and refining a possible product. They may be based on solid research, but without first-hand market feedback, a business plan is a work of fiction. And it doesn’t really tell you if your idea is any good.
In the words of lean start-up guru Ash Maurya, “Life’s too short to build something nobody wants.”
Do This Instead
Unless you need a business plan to present to bankers or investors, there is a better use of your time, one that is a more direct way to refine your business idea. By borrowing the fast prototyping model from the tech industry, you will gain first-hand market knowledge that is invaluable.
The process is described in the following series of short videos from Business Town:
Turning Your Idea Into a Business : Get focussed by boiling your idea down to one sentence that says what you do, how you do it, and for whom you do it.
Cheap and Fast Market Validation Tools Thanks to the interwebs, you can inexpensively test a product idea.
The Prototype Development Cycle: If you want to sell a product, you need to have something to show people. Here are some ideas how to achieve that.
How to Prototype a Service: No product? No problem! Tips for creating a professional appearance for your business, even if you’re just starting out.