We learn by doing, seeing and at time imitating. For that is what it took for me to write my first business plan.
The course that made it happen was Glen Hubbard’s Entrepreneurial Finance at Columbia Business School. For the past three terms I had been working on the outline of an idea and using the spare time available at school to polish and test it. While we had put together parts of a product, marketing and advertising strategy, the investor friendly version of the business plan still had to be written. Glen came about with this course that focused on 12 cases, a case for every week of classes. A startup to own for each group; a business plan and a story for each startup. These were real life cases, with real life plans and real people. The course made it possible for us to understand what went round as acceptable in entrepreneurial and venture capital circles at the turn of the century and laid the foundation for many a plans that were written that fall in Uris Hall by aspiring entrepreneurs.
A few months later as I struggled to put my own plan together for real, notes from Entrepreneurial finance were a frequent reference. So were any other plans that I could dig up or came across and the same went for power point presentations.
Fast forward 11 years and change… A few weeks ago I asked on my blog if anyone would pay good money to view a plan that I would write or had written. And the reactions were mixed. Most friends and reader said that in the interest of contributing to the entrepreneurial community, I should simply give them up for free. Other quoted up-to 30 dollars. One brave soul ventured out and suggested 300.
I was not amused. So here is the deal.
I have put not one, but two plans for sale. Both belong to product companies that I have started. Once focuses on institutional customers and large ticket sales. The other on retail and sub hundred dollar sales. So much so for non disclosure agreement and keeping your earth shattering ideas to yourself. For just under a hundred dollars you are more than welcome to steal my best laid plans. J
The first business plan belongs to Alchemy Technologies, the business that I run today. A business plan responsible for over 1.5 million dollars in sales, a few buyout offers and 150,000 dollars in angel funding in the last 7 years. It also won us a spot as the runners up in the first MITCEF business acceleration plan competition and represents a more mature, well aged effort at putting a business plan together. There is an accompanying power point presentation which is already in public domain on slide share. You will have to look for it, it is out there and if you can find it, it is yours. (If on the other hand you are just looking for money, you are little late; it is all gone now, like dust in the wind, like sand through my fingers, you get the drift…)
The second business plan is less of a plan and more of a half baked power point presentation. It is a product that we have been experimenting for the last two years that has finally started to earn revenues after six iterations of the business model that went nowhere. The seventh has a growth curve that looks quite impressive. While the numbers are quite small and represent lunch money rather than serious cash they still represent a lot of promise. Unlike the first business plan up for grabs the second is still a business in incubation stages. It hasn’t received any funding and total revenue earned to-date is under 1,000 US dollars. But it is cash flow positive and growing at a rate of 50% a month. And it picked up the runners up slot in its category earlier this year in the PASHA ICT Awards and ranked 2nd from the bottom in the finals in the regional Asia Pacific ICT Awards. The plan has also picked up two nominations for the Manthan Awards in New Delhi later this year and the World Summit Awards in Austria mid next year.
There is a half baked write-up that goes with the half baked presentation but that is not for sale. If you are nice to me and buy both plans and send me a short and sweet note sharing how the two plans have changed your life forever, (or I am the best thing since Chevron Castrol GTX), I may consider sharing it (things I have to do to brush my ego these days!).
And if you are broke, just about to be thrown out on the street, entrepreneur, who would like to see the two plans for free, you have to show me yours first as well as share your riches to rag story. If I like the story and the plan and can blog about it, I will send mine over on email.
But wait there is more…(this is beginning to sound like one of those unbelievable e-book pitches that promise a life time of fortune for 9.99).
For the really really desperate, I will throw in an hour of my time. It’s not free. It will cost you. You would need to read my painful sob story titled Reboot and write a short review and if you still have any questions left by the time Reboot is done with you I will be more than happy to answer them. Heck if you want me to look at your plan, I will even read it (Comments, reactions and suggestion are a different story).
Did I mention you would get an electronic copy of Reboot for free? Yes, but only if you ask for it. Nicely!
(Jawwad Farid is an MITEF business acceleration plan (MIT BAP) runner up, an Asia Pacific ICT Award finalist (twice) and a PASHA ICT Award Winner for the best financial application and Runner up for the e-learning category. He has also served as a judge at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards in Macau, Singapore, Kula Lumpur and Jakarta as well as a PASHA ICT Award Judge in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and as an MIT CEF Mentor in 2008, 2009, 2010. The founder of Alchemy Technologies and Learning Corporate Finance, the author of Reboot, an actuary by profession, an MBA from Columbia Business School and a FAST ICS graduate, Jawwad is a regular contributor at Startup Insights and the Desi back to Desh blog.)
If you are interested in buying any of the plans Jawwad mentions above please head out to the Small Business Section of the Online Finance Course Store.