Meet the Team, Follow Progress and Enjoy the Ride

This blog is about the lives of a few entrepreneurs who are aiming to establish the next trend in social networking and the concept that will make it happen. Since our venture is all about connecting people together, we want to be involved and connected to you and we want you to be involved and connected to us. We'll be sharing with you: who we are, how we got started, how we’re doing and where we’re going...we're taking you along for the ride!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Writing the Business Plan

This is definitely not an official post on how to go about writing a business plan, but rather, a recap of what the experience was like for me and the steps I took.

The first business plan I ever wrote, which was for the Coaching Agency, was done based off reading a few books on the subject. Thankfully, the books also provided a few examples and outlines of specific parts every business plans need to have. I couldn’t cut and paste but I could, at least, plagiarize a little. This second time around, I borrowed some software (Business Plan Pro 2006) from a friend. Okay, I didn’t borrow it. He highly recommended I use it, since you can actually insert test and simply massage it to meet your needs. I thought: “Hey, alright, that ought to make things real easy”

Once the software was loaded on my laptop, I took the following steps:

Step One: I bought a double fudge chocolate cake, made a full pot of coffee and conjured up some fake motivation in an attempt to get started on writing the plan. The cake and coffee were a way to bribe myself into getting this done or at least started. So, once I was done eating the chocolate cake and drinking massive amounts of coffee (this is, btw, the reason I gained 15 plus pounds with my first business) I was all hyped up on caffeine and sugar, but hadn’t really gotten far at all.

That’s the thing with me when it comes to writing…it’s all there in my head, but getting it out can be quite challenging.

Step Two: I surfed the internet…more specifically Craiglists and the men seeking women section and decided to call it “research”. Funny thing about that, is that, I found myself really enjoying many of the posts I read. A vast majority were very well written, thought out and seemed truly genuine.

Step Three: I answered a few posts, and by a few, I mean probably close to a dozen. I got some great replies and even met up with a handful of the guys that were on there…but I digress. Besides getting a few dates, what really conspired, is that replying to the ads is what got me to write and it’s what turned out to be the source of my inspiration to finally, truly, get cranking on writing the business plan.

Step Four: Write, write and write. I was finally getting the concept out of my head. Once I got into the flow, it came pouring out. While I was writing, I was also doing research. I had many late nights and I often went to Panera Bread and Starbucks to change things up.

Step Five: I got to a point where I needed more data and this where Martin’s expansion of the concept really paid off. We now had the meat and potato we needed to give the concept and the business plan greater validity.

Step Six: Outsource what you can’t do yourself. Like I mentioned in another post, I suck at doing financial spreadsheets, so Martin began working on those with information we brainstormed together. We both got really giddy at the time we were making projections and talking about what we could realistically accomplish. The financial numbers were bigger then anything he or I had ever seen in our lives. We really became intoxicated on the true potential and possibilities of this business. Ruth thought we were both a little wacky. She was definitely the one we went to in order to balance out the assumptions we were making. Sometimes she thought we were too high and sometimes she thought we were too low.

Step Seven: Allow things to settle in. Writing the plan and seeing our financial future was very exciting and scary. Were we being realistic? Could we really pull this off?

Step Eight: Bounce the idea/concept off some people. As we were getting closer to finalizing the plan (as if it will EVER be finalized), we started talking and meeting up with some people in order to make sure we were on the right track and indeed, not being unrealistic. Since this post is getting kinda long, I’ll talk about who those people were in later posts. However, I do want to point out that everyone we spoke with provided excellent constructive criticisms, loved the concept and gave us great support.

I haven’t looked at the plan for a few weeks now; I need to and will in the next few days. We haven’t received the funding we need yet, so we’re getting back out there and we need a strong plan to get us what we’re seeking. Next post will be about that painful road we’re on…which is, trying to secure funding.

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