Are you (or do you know) an entrepreneur that is just beyond the initial idea phase and is now working on fleshing out the concept and attracting the right players (potential partners, suppliers, customers, future employees, investors, etc.)?
If you are and were asked to describe your business concept to one of these potential players, what would you tell them?
Would you spend all the time discussing your product (or service) and how wonderful it is? Would you be able to provide any written description of the business (a business overview/summary)? With many of the entrepreneurs that I meet the answers to these questions are “Yes, I only talk about the product”, and “No, I don’t have any written description of the business”.
In my opinion (I’d be happy to hear yours) it is never too early to think and communicate holistically about your business – which means talking about more than your product. Also, writing it down provides a level of clarity to your ideas that you can’t get from just talking about them.
That’s why when I talk to entrepreneurs who are in this dream or kick-off stage I always encourage them to get things down on paper as soon as possible. To help in this I provide them with an outline to use for their first Business Summary.
I thought it might be helpful to some of my readers to see what the outline is, and to have it explained to them. Over a couple of posts I am going to describe the template and how to use it.
So what are the sections in this outline or template I provide? There are thirteen in total:
- Market opportunity/problem
- Our solution
- Business model
- Markets & channels
- Our advantages
- Accomplishments to date
- Next steps
- Key metrics & financial projections
- Team bios (in an attachment)
Writing this business summary will help you to:
- communicate your vision and ideas with clarity (even when just talking about your plans)
- identify areas where you have questions that need to be answered, and
- focus on the complete business – not just your product/service idea
Now you may look at that list and start getting overwhelmed – and that’s OK. What’s important is getting started – moving from the thought stage into an execution mode. If all you can do for each section is write down one sentence, identify a few bullet points, or write down a question that needs answering, then you have made a start that can be built upon. Remember, what you are starting on is a process not an event.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will provide additional detail about what you want to cover in each of the sections, so stay tuned!