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The Business Plan. Janis Machala, Paladin Partners Don Ferrel, SeaTec Cofounders of BigScreen. About Us. Janis Managing Partner, Paladin Partners Serial entrepreneur, business advisory services Wang, Sun, Microsoft, IT Start-ups BA Psychology, MBA, University of Iowa. Don

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the business plan

The Business Plan

Janis Machala, Paladin Partners

Don Ferrel, SeaTec

Cofounders of BigScreen

about us
About Us
  • Janis
    • Managing Partner, Paladin Partners
    • Serial entrepreneur, business advisory services
    • Wang, Sun, Microsoft, IT Start-ups
    • BA Psychology, MBA, University of Iowa
  • Don
    • President/CEO, SeaTec Consulting
    • Serial entrepreneur, business development, large scale IT systems integration
    • Scitor, Rockwell International
    • BA Math, BS Physics, Washington State
  • Strong technical acumen
  • Excellent execution and team building skills
  • Fiscally conservative
  • Long time active player in West Coast venture and angel scenes
  • NWEN, Alliance of Angels, Seraph
  • Done lots of deals
about our company bigscreen
About Our Company - BigScreen
  • Simplified computing and Internet for older adults
  • Extends social and care-giving networks
  • Trusted source for value-added services
purpose of a business plan
Purpose of a Business Plan
  • Alignment of team(s)
  • Operating plan
  • Communication across company, division, department, business partners
  • Investment capital
  • Expansion capital (banks, leases)
  • Merger/acquisition process
how to use a business plan
How to Use a Business Plan
  • Executive summary
    • Solicit interest
    • Screen for investor candidates
  • Mini business plan
    • Banking/leasing document
    • Potential acquirers
  • Full business plan
    • Team planning process
    • Due diligence
what investors look for
What Investors Look For
  • How does the team think?
  • How detail oriented is the team?
  • How big is this market?
  • Is there sustainable competitive advantage?
  • What’s the growth plan?
  • What does the technology roadmap look like, short term or long term play
financial projections
Financial Projections
  • Build 5 years
  • Detail near years, extrapolate out years
  • Build from single unit economics
  • Document assumptions
  • Compare against top down
  • Validate with market comparables
10 must answer questions
10 Must Answer Questions
  • How large is your addressable market?
  • How fast is the market growing?
  • Who’s make up your management team?
  • What’s your “secret sauce?”
  • What are the barriers to entry/competitive advantage?
  • What do your 5 year financials look like?
  • What’s your path to profitability?
  • Why is this a company versus a product/service?
  • Who’s your competition and how do you beat them?
  • Why can’t Microsoft do this? (or name any big, established company…)
creating your company s strategy
Creating Your Company’s Strategy
  • Building a strategy is harder work than building your product
  • Think about
    • What do you want your business to be when it grows up
    • Looking back from 5 years in future
    • Perspectives of all stakeholders
    • Anything that could go wrong
  • Hope is not a strategy
competitive analysis
Competitive Analysis
  • You always have competitors
  • Dig deep, be detailed, be honest
  • Compare features and benefits
  • Technology comparison
  • Whole product offering (pricing, support, etc.)
  • Channels, funding, customers…
sustainable competitive advantage
Sustainable Competitive Advantage
  • Create barriers to entry
  • Continually add value for your customers (and your investors)
  • Anticipate competition and make plans for dealing with it
    • Better widget, price erosion, market share, different business model…..
  • Avoid the trap of believing that your main competitor is your exit strategy
business plan format
Business Plan Format

Typical Outline

Executive Summary

Introduction and Business Premise

Market Analysis and Customer Needs

Product Overview

Value Proposition

Business Model

Business Operations Plan

Marketing and Sales

Market Entry

Transition to Revenue Service

Competitive Assessment

Partnership Strategy

Management Team and Advisors

Financial Projections

Key Business Metrics

Capital Structure/Financing Plans

Exit Strategy

Risk Analysis


  • Pages: 10 to 30
  • Kinko’s white bond is good enough
  • Simple binding
  • Examples
    • Handout – a good example B Plan
    • Discuss examples of bad ones
user friendly b plan is key
User Friendly B-Plan is Key
  • Investors receive hundreds of these
  • Most plans don’t get fully read
  • Reasons why:
    • Logic is difficult to follow
    • The business is not obvious
    • Too much extraneous information or fluff
  • Use the same techniques to write your plan that you would use to write a play, a song, software…..
nuts and bolts
Nuts and Bolts
  • 12 point type
  • Use a clean font
  • Don’t use bold or italics too much
  • Make sure your visuals are readable
  • No typos, proof-read thoroughly (including the visual!)
  • Remember: not everyone has same printer
  • Check for grammar
  • Style consistency
  • If you can’t write, hire someone
due diligence
Due Diligence
  • Market assessment is initial focus
  • Customer market validation next
  • Team references and resumes critical
  • Secondary:
    • Financials and assumptions
    • Corporate structure and legal docs
    • Patent applications
  • Reading list
    • Guy Kawasaki
    • Geoffrey Moore
    • Business 2.0
    • HBS Case Studies
  • Workshops
    • CIE Program
    • NWEN
    • WTC
    • SBA
  • Archive
    • Venture blogs
    • Kauffman Foundation
  • Consultants
    • Domain experts
    • Funding experts
    • Teambuilding experts