Outside Insight—Business Plan Review

OutsideInsightBusiness Plan Review–why have a review done by someone outside the business? Watch the short visual presentation–it’ll only take a moment to two!

Developing your business plan can be lonely, and has you deeply involved in such a way that you may miss the obvious.

You may be so deep into your subject that you dont see the plan the way an investor or other partner might.

Getting an experienced outside business plan review can give you useful feedback, save time and money.

Getting clear about your startup issues is a challenge. Getting feedback through a business plan review covers:

  • purpose of the plan—what and who it is for;
  • structure—what is vital to include and how should it be ordered;
  • contents–what should it cover;
  • value proposition–convincing or not;
  • business model–will it work;
  • how long should the document be–what to leave out or put in the appendices;
  • what financials are essential–how they should be presented and do they add up;
  • what part should be tackled first–and last;
  • will it persuade the reader that you are the team to make it work;
  • what do different readers look for–investors, bankers, grant-givers, partners.

Take a look at what the Owl has to say about business planning, and/or cast your eye over the Owl’s business plan outline that covers all the subjects that should be present in a full business plan.

Outside Insight: Why It’s Needed

Do not let anyone else write your business plan for you and always get a business plan review. Get advice and input, sure, but if it’s not your plan you are unlikely to make it work. But, however you drafted your plan, you are going to need a second opinion, and maybe more. Team members will be involved anyway, but an experienced outside business person is going to save you a lot of false starts and may shorten the inevitable re-writing process.

Starting a business is a compulsive activity and takes a great deal of conviction. The entrepreneur eats, drinks and sleeps the plan. Thus, the startup may mean missing the wood for the trees. When I started my first business, I considered those who did not think it would work were idiots. Yet, I took their comments seriously and determined what would be needed for their dismal forecasts not to happen. Figuring out downside risks are often why they never happen.

You may have started with a clean sheet of paper, used a template or used a successful plan as a model, or used business plan software. You will still want to have it critiqued by someone whose opinion you value.

You do not want a critique that will drag you down or build in an unnecessary delay–a business plan review is quick and practical. You want to know if the document is going to work. A detached but interested outsider’s perspective can be very helpful. But that outsider needs to have business plan experience. Business plans of different types, preferably including yours.

Venture Founders can undertake this review for you within 7 working days at a fixed fee of $299.

You have three ways of checking whether you feel confident about our ability to do the job.

  1. Consider whether the material on the Startup Owl website is convincing.
  2. Read about Venture Founders Managing Director, William Keyser.
  3. Ask for a reference.

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Outside Insight: How the Process Works

If you wish to proceed, here is the way it works:

Contact the Owl, William Keyser, with a brief outline about your business and what you need.

You will receive a reply with confirmation that I can do the work in 7 working days from receipt of your plan and attaching an invoice for $299 for the business plan review, which will need to be paid before I start work.

You will receive my report by the date agreed.

If you would like to get a Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement signed first then tell me up front. My own view, for what it is worth (echoed by most VCs) is that it is not appropriate. The business plan needs the entrepreneur to make it work and is not a blueprint for someone else. NDAs tend to be a waste of (legal and attention) effort except in mergers and acquisitions, where critical negotiating points are involved. If I think there’s a conflict of interest, I am going to tell you before hand. You have better things to do with your time. You need to get the show on the road pronto.

Ten Questions Answered by the Report

The report you will get for the business plan review will not be a fat document, but it will concentrate on the extent to which your plan makes clear:

  1. the ‘grab’ as put forth in the summary or introduction;
  2. how and why your product/service will make a contribution to the world;
  3. the way the business is going to work (conception, finance, production, marketing, delivery);
  4. how the revenue is going to be generated and where it is coming from;
  5. why the financial projections (especially early cash flows) are not exaggerated;
  6. the reasons the business will be sustainable;
  7. the team and qualities that will make the business work;
  8. the assumptions on which the whole thing is based;
  9. the critical milestones on the way to success;
  10. the payoff.

Outside Insight–What’s the Next Step

Complete the form below and I will attend to it right away–or tell you why not! When I have received your request, I will ask you to send me a check, or a transfer via PayPal, for the fee of $299 and when I have received it, I will write and confirm its arrival and the date by when you will receive your report. I look forward to hearing from you.

Outside Insight–What You Get

Report: You will receive a short written report. The length will depend on what needs to be said and there may be links and references.

Consultation: When you have read the report, you may want to have a half-hour consultation, by phone, Skype or Google Hangout. That’s included in the price.

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