When to do a business plan in startup?

Few weeks ago I went to Plugg conference to present  GigsWiz in Plugg Startup Rally. Plugg was very interesting conference and again I learned a lot about the state of European startup ecosystem and generally about entrepreneurship. Before the conference there was pre-conference session with presentation about pitching and other relevant stuff to a young entrepreneur like me. One of the jury members, Sien Luyten from Oraura, shared interesting point that I feel very passionate about.

She presented the picture below. The picture present a bottom up process where you first build business plan and then presentation, executive summary and finaly elevator pitch. The idea is that when you start a company you should begin with building 10-20 page business plan and then it will be very easy for you to make a presentation, excecutive summary and elevator pitch.

I think that the picture is very good. People just read it wrong way. The first thing you do when you start company is not business plan. It is the elevator pitch. Business plan is the last thing. My experience is that 10 slides, excel sheets and 1 page executive summary is enough for most of people. It is very improtant to rember that updating these documents is iterative process. Personally I try to do as small iterations as possible and maximize learning between these iterations.

I don`t believe that startups have time to build 10-20 page business plan and keep it up to date. I do believe that most of the things in business plan are important and they should be considered when building a startup. I am just saying that it should be iterative process and documentation format is not 10-20 page document but something else, like 10 slides.

What do you think?


April 2, 2010. Tags: , , , . Startup.

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