Contact Us Now for a Free Assessment

Category: Business Plans

The Fallacy of First Mover Advantage

February 18, 2014 by Shyam Jha


The Fallacy of First Mover Advantage

“No one remembers the second man on the moon,” goes the marketing adage. “Or second to market.” Fans of Buzz Aldrin may disagree, but the fact remains that Neil Armstrong is the name that first comes to mind when thinking about the conquest of the moon. Being first to market is a much-hyped strategic advantage. Indeed, there are several cases of first mover advantage holders who created a new market space with a new product or service, and continued to dominate that segment. Think Ford in automobiles, Gillette in shaving, [Read More]

Back to top


The Business Plan as Guiding Light, Messenger, and Living Document

February 4, 2014 by Joan Morgen


The business plan as guiding light and messenger

You’ve developed a product, and have determined that there is a real market for it. That’s an important first step. Now, how are you going to move your product from the drawing board to the consumer? Like embarking on any other major change in life, you need a plan. Whether you’re a start-up or an established organization going through transition or transformation, the importance of a solid business plan cannot be overstated. The process of creating a business starts by formulating a five year business plan. Determining who you should [Read More]

Back to top


Financing Your Growth

December 20, 2013 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


financing your growth

Believe it or not, this post was inspired by a print advertisement for by BMO Harris Bank in a recent issue of Inc. Magazine. The ad was about “The Five Keys to Financing Growth.” It is an ad designed to promote the Bank’s small business banking products. The ad begins: “Every company should have a strategy in place to finance growth from day one, with at least a rough outline of how you intend to do that included in your business plan.” BMO quotes Patricia G. Greene, the Paul T. Babson Chair [Read More]

Back to top


What Not to Say to Investors

December 4, 2013 by Akira Hirai


What Not To Say To Investors

The world is full of advice for what to say and how to pitch to investors, but what about what not to say? Rookie entrepreneurs are often far too eager to try to impress investors, and end up saying things that set off alarm bells. Over the course of my consulting career, I’ve written a lot of successful business plans and spoken with countless entrepreneurs. After listening to so many pitches, I have identified some phrases you should never use with investors, either in conversation or in writing: “All we [Read More]

Back to top


The Management Bio: It’s All About You

April 16, 2013 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai


Management Bio All About You

Virtually every document we write requires a strong personal biography of each member of the client’s management team. The reason is that investors, bankers, and other interested stakeholders usually believe that the strength of the team is the most important factor in predicting the success of an enterprise. Yes, even more important than product or market. “A great team can fix a mediocre idea, but a mediocre team can’t execute a great idea,” as the saying goes. Not surprisingly, it is very difficult to write someone else’s bio simply because [Read More]

Back to top


The Elevator Pitch in Six Simple Sentences

April 8, 2013 by Shyam Jha


The Elevator Pitch in Six Simple Sentences

The idea behind an elevator pitch is simple: You happen to be in the same elevator as a dream prospect. You have sixty seconds to gain the prospect’s attention. What should you say? The pitch you make needs to be well prepared and rehearsed. You need a succinct six-sentence summary of your customer value proposition, and what you are asking for. What are the six magic sentences? Hook: You need a one-sentence hook that will catch the prospect’s attention. Your business idea may not be greatest thing since sliced bread, [Read More]

Back to top


The Heart of Any E-2 Application

October 11, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin


visa application business plan

An experienced immigration attorney in Mesa, Arizona – where there is a great a deal of immigration activity, as you may imagine – contacted us to assist one of his clients with a business plan for an E-2 investor visa. He indicated that one of the requirements for an investor visa is a business plan. While we have a great deal of experience in writing business plans that are used for immigration purposes, the attorney was kind enough to share some of his thoughts on the importance of the business [Read More]

Back to top


Ten Questions Every Business Plan Must Answer

August 1, 2012 by Akira Hirai


Ten critical questions to answer in your business plan

Are you getting ready to pitch investors? Then you need to make sure that your materials – your pitch deck, executive summary, and business plan – answer ten critical questions. Conversely, if you find yourself including a lot of material that isn’t directly related to one of these ten questions, you may be better off leaving it out of your documents. Here are the ten critical questions to answer: What’s the problem? First, you need to explain what problem you solve. If you aren’t solving a problem that people are [Read More]

Back to top


Use Your Business Plan to Get on the Same Page

July 6, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin


Use Your Business Plan to Get on the Same Page

Most entrepreneurs think that business plans are only good for communicating with potential investors and lenders. Not true! Business plans are a very effective way for management teams to communicate with each other, their Boards of Directors, and other stakeholders. For example, consider one of our recent assignments in which the client is headquartered in a different city and in one instance, a different country, than the members of the Board and one of the senior managers. In a very brief period of time, the business plan project enabled us to discover [Read More]

Back to top


Ten Common Financial Model SNAFUs

July 2, 2012 by Akira Hirai


Avoid these ten common financial errors

I plan to publish a series of posts on mistakes I frequently see in financial forecasts (or pro-formas, or financial projections, or whatever you want to call them). I’ve segregated the common mistakes into ten broad and sometimes overlapping categories. Today, I’ll describe these categories, and future posts will go deeper into each category, discussing ways to identify and correct typical errors within the category. Here are my ten categories of financial model errors: Big Picture & Scope Errors. Your model should be designed so that the level of detail [Read More]

Back to top