Do You Need A Business Plan If Your Idea Is New, Untested, or Unproven?

Who Should Read This Article?

Anyone nursing a new (especially untested and unproven) – idea for a business, and/or who is at a loss as to whether or not it will be beneficial to undertake a formal business plan preparation process. The ideas presented in this article are just that – ideas. You are expected — and strongly encouraged – to apply your discretion in assessing their usefulness or relevance to your situation.

“Market research does not work. One cannot do market research on something that does not exist.” – Peter Drucker

Entrepreneurs are often dreamers

They are typically people who start businesses in new areas, that previously did not exist. Their ideas can therefore sometimes be met with resistance especially from people called “experts” who are famous for challenging the practicality or logic (from the expert’s perspectives) of any new, unproven or unusual idea.

Business Plans Versus New/Uncharted Markets

Most of us have heard or read about the importance of going through the motions of preparing business plans before starting a new business. However, what few people take note of is the fact that some of those who have succeeded in business did not have business plans when they started their FIRST businesses – even though, they probably never intended for it to be so.

This is especially true for those entrepreneurs who had to enter an uncharted market i.e. who set out to do what had not been done before. Their new product or service could therefore not be compared with any known standard, since nothing like it existed at the time. If that sounds anything like the kind of business idea you have in mind as a first-time startup, you may have to contend with at least two challenges.

Two Challenges:

1. A business plan might not be as good an instrument to convince your potential investors(banks, venture capitalists etc), as the personal conviction, enthusiasm, charisma and passion you demonstrate for what you want to do! For instance, the “experts” among them, who the rest might look up to for assessment of the viability of your proposed venture, may not reckon with your idea if it is new or unusual. David Sarnoff certainly would have understood this point!

Sarnoff, who invented the radio, had to endure what must have been heart-breaking rejection from those he approached to invest in it’s production. Among other things they could not see THE radio(!) as commercially viable, arguing that no one would pay to have a message sent to no specific recipient!

If only they could see us use that same radio now! 🙂 Sarnoff’s associates could not – at the time – see what he was seeing! And that’s what a first-time startup with a new idea needs to keep in mind. People may not see what you see – at first. That will not mean you are wrong, and they are right – no matter how many they are! If it was so obvious in the first place, you probably would not have been the first to discover it!

2. You might just find that the market is not exactly ready for what you have – even if the idea is quite sound. Again it would be up to you, to “create the demand” for your new product or service idea in the market.

For instance, incredible as it might sound, the telephone that is such an essential requirement for our existence today, was described as having “too many shortcomings to be considered as a means of communication” in a Western Union Internal Memo.The memo concluded that the telephone was of no value to the organisation. But that was way back in 1876! We all know that no business that desires to succeed today will operate without a telephone number.

It’s all about vision. Entrepreneurs are people who apply their creative thinking skills to explore what can be, instead of dwelling on what is, as most others do. That tends to make them see far beyond what people around them can – sometimes causing them problems with others. I believe it was Robert Schuller who said “If you want to be a pace setting thinker, you can expect problems with people – especially those trapped by tradition.” A first-time startup with an unproven business idea is most likely to experience this.

“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”
– Anatole France

Two Case Studies

Below is a description of two first-time startups who were so closely driven by their circumstances, that they could find no use for a business plan in starting up what eventually turned out to be successful ground-breaking ventures.

a). Henry Ford’s “Horseless Carriage”

When Henry Ford conceived the idea of a “horseless carriage”, people told him pointedly it would not work. Those capable of providing the money for production of the automobile refused to even consider it a commercial possibility for one moment! A business plan would have done Ford little good back then! So he and his wife put all their savings together and went ahead alone. But think for a minute – AFTER Ford had succeeded with the automobile, how the same people would have reacted if he had offered them a business plan for a similar kind of notion? By then, he would no longer be a first time startup, nor would his idea be new or unproven!

b).The Train Chartering Company

Simon Pielow (Founder, the Train Chartering Company, USA) didn’t use a business plan when he started off. In a report published at Allbusiness.com he admitted that his decision to proceed without a formal plan was probably not a wise one. However, as the report writer rightly observed, Pielow had no choice but to do this because he was breaking new ground, and had nothing to work with in the way of existing competitors, models or market analysis.

Pielow himself added that he believed a business plan becomes critical to starting up a business when you’re in a competitive market in which many people are offering products or services similar to what you intend to offer. He ended the interview on a humorous note by saying that had he chosen to do a formal plan, he would probably have been too scared to go ahead, and as such never have achieved the success he eventually did!(Good one to keep in mind, this).

Crucial Considerations For A First Time Startup With A New Business Idea

Bill Byrne in his book “111 Proven Strategies That Will Change The Way You Do Business Forever” explains that if you have a business idea that may be ahead of it’s time, you might have to consider these issues:

1. Can you time your entry into the marketplace perfectly to ensure success?

2. If not, would it be better for you to start up too early or too late?

You need to give these queries deep thought, and possibly engage a trusted associate with genuine understanding of, and empathy for your unproven business idea, to help you through the process. Byrne’s queries are based on the need for a person with a business idea that is ahead of it’s time to increase her chances of success by tempering the aggressive drive to enter into the market, with realism of the dangers inherent in arriving there too early – or earlier than others.

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” — Bertrand Russell

What You Can Do

1. Be Patient and Painstaking:

Take your time to develop and refine your concept or idea to the point you can be certain it will work as you intend to tell your target audience it will. This warning should be particularly instructive if you do not have the capital to :

a. recover quickly and fully enough if anything goes wrong after you enter the market(because you failed to correct any outstanding defects or problems).

b. wait for the market to build up adequate demand for your product or service, to keep you going till you break even or start recording profits.

If you fail to manage this properly, you could suffer fatal setbacks from lack of sustained initial patronage. What could then happen is that others, learning from your mistakes, would polish up your idea and re-present it to the same market, which, by your pioneering efforts have become more receptive, and THEY would have a “profits-fest”!

2. Use Intelligent Niched Marketing:

You will need a well conceived niched marketing campaign, taking advantage of today’s powerful yet highly cost-effective business marketing tools(automated email and website marketing/surveys etc) and strategies, in order to maximise the chances of success while minimising operating expenses.

3. Don’t let experts “confuse” or “scare” you!

Cynthia Kersey(Author of “UNSTOPPABLE: 45 Powerful Stories of Perseverance and Triumph from People Just Like You”), described experts as having an “ego investment” in the very thing that they are considered “expert”. Note that an expert could even be someone who once had to struggle – in the past – to secure marketplace acceptance(for what was then an unproven idea), and is now successful, plus a respected authority in his/her field. The irony is however that such a person may not always maintain an entrepreneurial mode of thinking or could develop what I call an “expert’s mindset”. A good example of this is probably seen in the quote below:

“640K ought to be enough for anybody” – Bill Gates, 1981

4. Draw Courage From Your Convictions!

Each of us probably has a tendency to become an “expert ” in one-way or the other. The best way to guard against falling into this mindset is to always ask “Why not?” when confronted with the possibility, or suggestion, of a new idea or new way of doing things. For the new idea start-up, you will need to keep in mind that others who were told by “experts” that their business ideas had no merit, drew courage from their convictions and forged ahead in the face of great discouragement/rejection, and suffering. In the end, they proved the “experts” wrong and got more people to believe in their dreams.

You can do the same – even if you do not have a business plan. I know this because I passed through the same road in starting up my own business as a Multipreneur in a society where it was frowned on.

Final Word: Note that I have NOT said business plans are unnecessary – only that they may not always be relevant to a startup’s needs, in which case their absence would not be a fatal handicap.

5 Businesses to Start From Home in Order for You to Get Rid of Your Job and Have Your Freedom

Are you tired of trying to impress your Boss? Or are you becoming frustrated of not being able to voice out your creative ideas? Have you constantly wondered how it is to be free from all the work related stress that you encounter everyday but are afraid that you might be broke if you lose your job?

Well, worry no more because there is certainly a way for you to enjoy your life without having to worry about things like deadlines and irate bosses. Start your home based business today!

Here are 5 ideas for businesses from home that you could probably try.

Online Shop

With the demand for online shops these days, you won’t have so much difficulty in trying to look for clients. More and more people feel that it is easier for them to do their shopping online simply because it is more convenient for them. This is especially true to those with busy work schedules.

You would only need a reliable internet connection and a little capital for you to start business. You don’t exactly have to sell brand new items; rather, you can buy and sell online. There are a lot of options that you can choose from when you venture into this business to start from home.

Computer Specialist

Being computer literate can take you very far these days too. Like starting an online shop, this type of business venture is brought about by people relying on computers for their convenience. Because of this, any problem or assistance that they may need is very in demand.

Computers are people’s partner in their daily lives and most are busy with their hectic schedules. So being a computer specialist is one of the most in demand home based businesses to run nowadays.

Events Planner

If you are creative and patient enough to plan details, then being an events planner is just the perfect job for you. You can enjoy being in this job while you earn. This is also perfect because most people nowadays love to enjoy parties and events without having to bother about details.

You can read articles or e-learning websites about new ideas that you could probably incorporate into your own business to add originality and variety.

Arts and Crafts

In starting this kind of business, you also will need to invest a little capital and a lot of your creativity. It actually depends on you and your budget planning on how big you want your arts and crafts business. There are a lot of retail shops that you can supply your products or if you can, you can put up your own shop at home where you can display your artworks.

With the increase in the demand to see beauty and creativity these days, you will be able to attract people with your talent while earning the bucks. Isn’t that a fun way to earn?

Family Restaurant

This is also becoming a common business to start from home. Who wouldn’t want to eat good food right? So if you think that you have the best recipes for delicious dishes as well the space to put up a family restaurant, you might probably want to start your own. I know it needs relatively more capital than some other home based businesses; this is also the business where you could earn faster.

Why do you think home based businesses are so attractive to aspiring entrepreneurs these days? Well basically because being in a home based business can free you from all the stress that you can experience from working in a corporate setting. It also allows you more time for yourself because time is more manageable without jeopardizing your capability to earn.

There can be a lot of advantages to starting your own business from home. Stress-free is just one. Your brilliant mind can come up lots of ideas for business to start from home. So start your own business from home today and be your own boss.

Brilliant Business Ideas – Business Ideas for Stay at Home Parents

To start a family or not start a family, that is the question. Some people feel that to bring a child into this world is wrong given the state of affairs. There is pollution, military unrest, global warming, and economic strife. Raising children can put a huge strain on your budget almost indefinitely and provide you with sleepless nights. On the other hand, we have an innate drive to propagate the species, to pass on our genetic lineage as well as our religious and familial traditions. And let’s face it, babies are so dang cute!

This is the story of a couple, we’ll call them Jan and George. Jan and George met in their late 20’s and had lots of fun dancing at the Renaissance Faire, going on driving road trips to wherever their hearts desired. George was a loan officer and Jan a bookkeeper at an advertising agency. They had all the time they wanted for themselves and the money to do what they wanted. Trips to Hawaii, Fiji, even European vacations were on their travel menu. It was a good life and a fun life with hardly a care in the world.

Jan and George went on like this for many years, living and enjoying life freely. Then one day a fork popped up in their road. One way to stay the way they were, the other way to start a family. What to do? They figured that they were not getting any younger and they had already done a lot of things that most people do after they raise a family and are retired. So the decision was made and they increased the population with a handsome boy followed two years later a beautiful girl. It turned out, however, that the handsome boy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 2 years and needed to be looked after always, even at school. How can a parent be there for a child if they must go to and be at a traditional office job? They can’t. And so the search for brilliant business ideas for stay at home parents began.

If you are a parent that wants to work from home how do you find a business model that will suit you? There are certain criteria you can work with as you search. First on the list is whether you want to work for another person or do you want to be your own boss. There are many jobs that can be done from your home where you work for someone else such as; data entry, bookkeeping, medical transcription, and assembly work, just to name a few. Another idea is to take something you love to do and teach others to do it from your own home. Teaching yoga, personal training, art classes, or cooking classes are great ideas for a home business. An additional way you can make money from home is to do professional work like accounting, counseling, advertising, or law work.

There are also opportunities to be your own boss, work from home, and have the support of a company. This allows you to work own your own when and where you want but have access to business systems, such as marketing tools (both online and traditional), training for the business, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that encourage each other by sharing ideas, strategies, and techniques of what is working right now. Not only that but there is the potential to earn an executive salary without the restriction of having to commute to an office, be responsible for the work others do, or working overtime to complete a project.

Well, Jan and George thought that this truly was a brilliant idea and found an excellent company that they could earn with and also travel the world in luxury for a fraction of the cost. They were home to take care of both their son and their daughter. Jan was able to spend many hours volunteering at their school and they continued their habit of road trips and vacations. They live a life that is unique but really, anyone can have.