News

Business plan links

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by dantm, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. dantm

    dantm Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2003
    1,092
    YYZ, BOS, SFO
    Full Name:
    Dan B.
    Hi, can you guys recommend any good links on writing a business plan for a techical company? I have some stuff already written and want to cross-check it against some online sites...

    Thanks,


    /Dan
     
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. dherman76

    dherman76 Formula Junior
    Owner

    Feb 25, 2004
    601
    Boston
    Full Name:
    Darren Herman
    Hello,
    Here is a great resource, provided by the US Government about writing bplans. http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html

    If you want me to look over your bplan and add my insight, just PM me. I do this as a consulting job to startups and small/medium sized companies.

    DH
     
  4. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    here's my two drachmas on the whole business plan thing.

    the GREAT news is that business plans for early stage companies (i assume that's you) are not magic. they're barely science in fact.

    go to the bookstore. buy five "how to write a business plan" books. read them all (quickly - skim them). massage and coalesce them together in your head and you've got a really solid starting point. no one of them is useful, but taken as a body of work, you triangulate to what is "acceptable" if not "ideal" at least.

    there are a few software companies who make "business plan writing software". do NOT use these to create your plan - clueful investors smell that stuff from a mile away and don't generally think highly of it. HOWEVER read their sample plans (and sometimes their user manuals) and you can learn good stuff about business plan structure, etc.

    there are two key things to remember about early-stage tech company business plans (and for some reason this is a lost lesson on most first-timers, myself included, cf.:
    (1) know what your audience wants to know. answer thier questions in the plan so they know you know what they want to know! this is tough to do for a first timer, but not impossible (cf. below)
    (2) WRITING a plan isn't worth jack. you need to DEVELOP a plan and then WRITE about it. if you grok the distinction. don't write a plan to write a plan. figure out what your business needs to do and then explain it. nobody invests in "a plan". they want to invest in "a business".

    the first plan i ever wrote was largely junk. i got a meeting with a big-shot VC. within three minutes he knew i was clueless. he ripped me a new cornhole for the next ten minutes. then, he was apparently feeling randy, and ripped me a second cornhole for the following ten minutes - just for fun! while it was a more-than-painful learning process, let's just say i've never made the mistake twice. i WROTE a plan but i never really DEVELOPED the plan, so when there was a question or a hole or whatever, i wasn't on top of it.

    read Nesheim's "High Tech Startup". it's dated, but contains a lot of great data bout how investors think. be careful of a lot of the later "how to raise VC" books - anything involving the bubble is for crap these days, imo.

    feel free to email or pm me if i can be useful.

    good luck!

    doody.
     
  5. dantm

    dantm Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2003
    1,092
    YYZ, BOS, SFO
    Full Name:
    Dan B.
    Thanks a lot guys, I have posted in the past and the advice I've received here has been largely successful.

    To make a long story short, we're starting a small company consisting of some high end radio frequency/microwave/antenna designers. We have worked for a sponsoring company to develop something similar to this:

    http://www.kvh.com/tracvision/a5/index.asp

    For those not inclined to check the site, it's a mobile antenna for satellite TV reception (theirs works with DirecTV only, ours is Dishnetwork + DirecTV).

    Within a small focused group and in a university context we've prototyped successfully such a product.

    The IP for this product belongs to our sponsoring company (who have invested money and paid salaries and for manufacturing over the last 2 years). They will most likely offer us a consulting contract to help them take this to production.

    NOW, the good news for us is that such technology is not exclusive, we're already thinking of 2-way mobile Internet, higher frequency applications, and so on.

    So the business model already exists, and since all research has been done and the background IP has been generated it remains for us to start a company and propose low-cost, comprehensive design, prototyping and manufacturing development to antenna/microwave companies.

    Anyway I can give much more details than this -- in no way am I just trying to sell a business plan only, we're basically banking on our expertise in such designs, ideas for future products, and offer advantages for low cost design which are not possible by any other group (ie - cooperation with university research for using the facilities such as multi-million dollar labs and so on).

    So basically what I'm looking for is:

    a) write the business plan (advice/etc.)
    b) VCs for investing in some of the new ventures and ideas we have.

    Thanks for any and all of your input so far!!!



    /Dan
     
  6. dantm

    dantm Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2003
    1,092
    YYZ, BOS, SFO
    Full Name:
    Dan B.
    Just as an addendum to my previous message, designing our previous prototype has been done from day 1 with intent for manufacturing. For example the product you see on the KVH site above (and which is - like I mentioned - a vehicle roof-top antenna for mobile TV reception from satellite) is retailing at $3,500 US, out of which (based on KVH press conferences and releases) 40% is manufacturing cost. Therefore it costs $1,400 to produce each unit.

    By comparison the work that we did (having the low-cost mass production goal since the beginning) has lead us to a system costing about half of that.

    Based on insider information, the work (to prototype) that we did was also at the cost of less than 10% of what they spent (salaries, manufacturing, other costs).

    Therefore I think we're in a strong position to write a business plan based on this experience.

    What do you guys think?

    Thanks!!!
     
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
    5,308
    N.Richland Hills, Tx
    Full Name:
    James Dunne
    I have been writing a business plan for something I am going to attempt within the next twelve months. I contacted the ecconomic development corporation in the city where I plan to do this. They put me in contact with the University of Houston School of Business Small Business Development Center. They are helping me with the business plan as a project at no cost to me. The only thing required of me was purchasing Palo Alto's software, Business Plan Pro 2004. It is the software used by most Small Business Development Centers at the major universities. I highly recommend it but as stated earlier, use their sample plans and make yours your own.

    By working with a SBDC, you can be assured that the plan will meet the requirements for considerations by lenders. It is looked on very favorably by the SBA. The SBDC at the U of H helped small businesses secure SBA loans of over a total of $30 Million last year. Loans from $10,000 to $1M. I am feeling confident that they will help me also. Take a look at this software. It is very easy to use and produces charts, bar graphs, circle graphs and all sorts of amplifying information.

    Good luck in your venture. Go for it....................You don't want to look back 20 years from now and ask yourself, "I wonder how good we would have done if we had gone ahead instead of holding back". The old cliche holds well here, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained".
     
  9. dherman76

    dherman76 Formula Junior
    Owner

    Feb 25, 2004
    601
    Boston
    Full Name:
    Darren Herman
    Go for it! Good luck. If you need help, PM me.
     
  10. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 6, 2003
    22,309
    Las Vegas, NV
    Full Name:
    Ryan Alexander
    I'll second Doody and through in a vote saying just write the plan in Word and Excel if you're already good with MS Office. Get the structure from books and resources and combine the best ideas. My biz program used Business Plan Pro 03, but I didn't like it's cookie-cutter format and didn't use it to actually write the plan... it's ok, but can be kind of like picking your whole living room out of a single photo of an Ikea catalog. Even my dad (business prof) was trying to convince me it was the best though (ironically, I was already done school, but he wanted to prove a point).

    I'm sure you've already heard this, but I think a HUGE thing is having non-investor 'team members' : industry-experienced guidance counselors/friends who you can call in times of need and use as references. Having their credibility on your team list in your business plan can go a long way for a first-timer facing VC's, esp. if they have some clout/connections in that particular industry or field. This is probably pretty basic though and i'm going to be quiet and sit in the corner now.

    Break a leg.
     
  11. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    44,719
    Texas!
    I'll see all these comments and raise you a buck. When writing a bidness plan, you must always remember the number one rule of writing -- Know your audience.

    The purpose of a business plan is to hustle money. The bad news is that it tough to con a con. Most folks who have money are not fools. Thus, you need to very, very clear on your exit strategy.

    Say in a weak moment you convince me to spend money on your foolish idea instead of on a new car. (Good luck.) What is the first thing I'm gonna want to know? That's right, when am I gonna get my money back. I don't want to hear some vague response about selling to competitors or going public or some other horse ka ka. I want you to show me how you're gonna pay me back within, say, three years.

    And don't puff the projected ROI. Private investors know when someone is blowing smoke up their hinney. Plus, if you want my money, I will tell you what the ROI will be. Oh, and BTW, you ain't getting your greedy little hands on the checkbook. No way, Jose. If this is a big enough deal, I'll bring in my own money people to watch yo butt.

    Remember, money loves no one.

    Dr "Meanie" Tax
     
  12. To remove this ad click here.

Share This Page