If you sold your last startup for $800 million, you probably already know how to build a business, and even conservative investors won’t worry about the quality of your next business plan. But, for the rest of us, don’t believe the Silicon Valley myth that all you have to do is sketch your million-dollar idea on the back of a napkin, and investors will line up to give you money. Based on my experience as an investor and mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, one of the quickest ways to kill your credibility and your startup is to offer a poorly written business plan, or none at all. There really is no excuse these days, with samples on the Internet, business-plan books in every bookstore, and dozens of apps to automate the process
Every business professional and entrepreneur believes they are good communicators, but how do they know? It’s really the perception of the recipients that counts, and poor communicators are almost always poor listeners, so they don’t hear the shortcomings. Warren Buffet once told a class of business students that better communication could boost their value by fifty percent.
Startups are usually so focused on selling more of their branded product or service to their own customer base (organic growth) that they don’t consider the more indirect methods (non-organic growth) of increasing revenue and market share. Non-organic growth would include OEM relationships, finding strategic partners, “coopetition,” as well as acquisitions. This initial focus is usually driven by limited financial and people resources, as well as the bandwidth of the executive team