If your idea, plan, and team are great, you will get funded. You have to have a plan stemmed from your idea. This can be a one page simple plan, but the research and information behind it must be solid if you are serious. This will show you, your team, and investors that there is actual validity in your idea. There are a few models to follow, but I have created one from my experience in the military that I have adapted into a business tool. It is very easy to follow and I have personally used.
Define the borders and domain of your operational environment. What is the desired end-state? What is the area in which you will be operating? What is your area of interest, any surrounding markets that will affect your market? Define the concept of the business using the five interrogatives: Who? What? Where? When? Why? You will basically be building a simple mission statement, but not one you normally see in business plans. This one will be truly actionable.
Define your operational environment. Determine the economic climate you will be attempting to build the business in and whether that is an advantage or disadvantage. Other questions that you will be answering are: What is the product market in which you are attempting to enter? What is the geographic market or cyber market you will be engaged in? What are the people like in that market? Who is your ideal customer (stereotype)? What are the unwritten rules of that market? What type of infrastructure is available to you?
Describe environmental effects on operations. How does everything from Step 1 &2 affect you and your business, whether good or bad? What are the second and third order effects of all of the factors you researched?
Evaluate the Threat/Adversary. This is your competition. Even if there is no obvious competitor, there are always other companies and people trying to influence your market and capture the attention and money of the people you would like to sell to, potentially within your area of interest. How are they marketing? How are they reaching their customers? What are their vulnerabilities with this and other aspects of their business?
Determine Threat courses of action. Formulate what you think every competitor will do right now, in the near future and when they notice you enter the market. Will they continue business as usual or will they actively target your customers? If they will target your customers, how? How will they reach them and what will they do to win? It’s all about winning customers.
Assess capabilities and weaknesses of yourself and your allies. Develop an honest assessment of where you are. What aspects of the business you should handle and what you should hire someone to do for you, your ally. This part may hurt, but if you can’t do this honestly, you will have a much harder time down the road when problems due arise. Most of these problems will arise due to the fact that you thought you could handle something that you couldn’t.
Assess and analyze your critical assumptions. Throughout the planning process you will have to make some assumptions. That is good. This is where you determine any assumption(s) that you have made throughout this process and determine how critical those assumptions are to your success. Focus more research on these.
Develop Contingencies - Follow Murphy’s Law here, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Write down everything that you can thing of that could go wrong along the process of opening the business and your first couple years of operation. This could be that the real estate you have picked has the contract fall through for any number of reasons.
Move forward. This means organize all these thoughts and write this all down. This is the knowledge base behind your business plan. All investors will want some sort of plan with the depth of knowledge behind it to answer any questions from the top of your head
By having this completed, it will show whoever you are pitching your idea to that you are not just another pitch for the day, not “just another startup”. You are a passionate, capable person that they could trust with potentially millions of dollars of their money.
Once you have this done. Break your plan down based on these points or on the elements of any business:
Make and deliver something of value - What is it? How will you get it to customers? (Product, Production, Distribution)
That people want or need - How will you make people know about it and want/need it? (Problem Identification,
At a fair price (people will pay) - What price will people be willing to pay, but you can still meet objective 5? (Market
Research, Ideal Customer)
Meets or exceeds needs and expectations - How will you deliver so much value that people will likely talk about you to
others? (Marketing, Sales, Customer Follow-up)
To make a profit - What are your costs versus the total sales? How are you going to ensure you make enough money *
that this effort will be worth your time? (Pricing, Financial Analysis, Company Projections, P&L)
I truly hope this helps you. I believe this gives a great knowledge base to your proposed business. Now go out a build a great pitch. I recommend reading “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff. Incredible book! This will give you more confidence to move forward and enable you to sway others to be confident in you and your idea, because your pitch is well structured and you have thought of everything.
I hope this helps you!