Monday, March 3, 2008

how to write a biz plan

sorry, have not posted any blog for the whole of february, been traveling, am in the thick of the teaching term and a number of interesting clients in different verticals at different stages of incubation have needed my attention, so blogging took a back seat!

before we understand when, how and why one writes a biz plan, lets go back a bit and understand what is the starting point for all entrepreneurs. we have touched upon this already in one of my blogs, the starting point necessarily is ideation.

but strictly speaking ideation is not the starting point. what is the opportunity that gave rise to this ideation, is really the starting point of what may be termed the 'entrepreneurial process'.

opportunities are all out there, all around us, some of us spot them, most of us dont. those of us who do go on to ideate from these opportunities, build a biz around the idea and become entrepreneurs. many of us may be staring at the opportunity, but we dont ideate either because we have developed a 'rhino skin' when it comes to feeling 'opportunity vibes'; or we are too cocooned in our comfort zones to even imagine an entrepreneurial opportunity.

for those of us who can look at opportunity in the eye, there are four distinct steps that need to be followed before the venture is created :

identification of opportunity
evaluation of opportunity
writing of the biz plan
creating the biz enterprise

the first step, which is identification of opportunity, is perhaps the most difficult one. it means that your antenna should be ready to receive the signals, 24/7. because anything may throw up an opportunity.

it could be new technology. eg last year during the cricket world cup, cricinfo developed software whereby they could show cricket in animation as it happened on the field, real time.

it could be on account of market shift. airtel has become the largest retailer of music because more than 60 % of music are mobile downloads. digital music has halved the market for physical music.

it could be a change in government policy. the telecom policy in india for instance made it possible for mobile telephony as well as landline telephony being opened up to the private sector.

it could be competition. a matchstick manufacturing company in brazil wanted to export its products to japan and when they couldn't do it cost competitively in the matchstick market, they entered the japanese market with chopcticks and gave run for the money to local competitors.

it could be change in the consumer need. urbanization and concretisation of living spaces has reduced the greenery one can afford to have around one's homes, but artificial plants have managed to satisy the need for colour and zero maintenance. so a new need for artificial plants has come about and a new opportunity has been created..

in other words, anything can throw up an opportunity; the cause also determines the size of the market.

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