Need a Business Plan? Consider Pitch Then Plan.

Many of our clients come in asking about business plans. There are many reasons they are doing this. Sometimes it is because they realize they need to get their idea out of their head and on to paper. Other clients want a business plan because they talked to a bank and realized that they will not get a loan without a plan the bank can review. Either way smart entrepreneurs realize the advantages of writing a business plan but are frequently intimidated about the writing process. Is it like looking at a blank piece of paper and attempting to write a novel?

Years ago we had little more than an outline for a client to follow, or we might have recommended a book about writing business plans. Neither method was very efficient. Today there are great software programs that make the process easy. Biz Plan Builder and Business Plan Pro are two popular programs you can buy at a local retailer. They ask you a series of questions answers in an orderly fashion, with the accumulated answers adding up to a plan. Both programs do a pretty good job of capturing information and include sample plans for your review.

Here at the UNF Small Business Development Center, we use a program called Pitch Then Plan. The beauty of the system lies in its simplicity. The process starts with a straight-forward ten-slide business “pitch” which covers the essentials of the business and how it operates. The next step is to complete the “plan.” The plan essentially takes each slide of the ten-step pitch and drills down to the next layer of detail. Finally, the process is completed by taking the money assumptions from each of the slides and creating a financial projection for the business.
Many entrepreneurs try to perfect their business plans and then pull PowerPoint slides out of it. This is backwards thinking. A good business plan is a detailed version of a pitch—as opposed to a pitch being a distilled version of a business plan. If you get the pitch right, you’ll get the plan right. The converse is not always true.

Pitch Then Plan is ideal for start up businesses. It is based on the Guy Kawasaki book The Art of the Start. The software allows you to work on your narrative from anyplace you can access the Internet. It has great instructions and links to valuable sources of business plan information. If you buy it through the SBDC our staff are available to provide technical assistance and review your plan.

Keep in mind that you should always write your plan yourself. If you pay someone to write it you will be getting the consultants version of your vision!
Pitch Then Plan is only $50 dollars. A bargain compared to other software programs available out there. To download this business plan template click the Pitch Then Plan logo below:

Here are Guy Kawasaki’s Top Five Things Every Entrepreneur Should Accomplish:

1. MAKE MEANING.
The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning—to create a product or service that makes the world a better place. So your first task is to decide how you can make meaning.
2. MAKE MANTRA.
Forget mission statements; they’re long, boring, and irrelevant. No one can ever remember them—much less implement them. Instead, take your meaning and make a mantra out of it. This will set your entire team on the right course.
3. GET GOING.
Start creating and delivering your product or service. Think soldering irons, compilers, hammers, saws, and Auto CAD—whatever tools you use to build products and services. Don’t focus on pitching, writing, and planning.
4. DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS MODEL.
No matter what kind of organization you’re starting, you have to figure out a way to make money. The greatest idea, technology, product, or service is short-lived without a sustainable business model.
5. WEAVE A MAT (MILESTONES, ASSUMPTIONS, AND TASKS).
The final step is to compile three lists: (a) major milestones you need to meet; (b) assumptions that are built into your business model; and (c) tasks you need to accomplish to create an organization. This will enforce discipline and keep your organization on track when all hell breaks loose—and all hell will break loose.

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