If you think it’s obvious, think again, it’s probably wrong

In the past three months, we worked hard on our business plan and participated in various competitions for young entrepreneurs. While doing this, I learned a lot about the entrepreneurial world. One of those lessons is how easy it is to forget that the person reading your business plan might not be technically inclined, and as a consequence may not understand one word of what you’re saying. While I though I finally understood the lesson, it looks like the fourth iteration of our business plan is still too technical. I’m not saying the reader is dumb or anything, but it looks impossible to assess how technical the document is by ourselves, and even asking people around us to review it wasn’t enough. I should have asked even more people, people with no technical background, people like my grandfather who bought his first computer last year, people who hate technologies, people who don’t know me or that are not afraid to really say what they think.

There are many examples of obvious things that end up being wrong. For example, how many times did you finish an exam thinking you totally failed it, only to find out a week later that you got a really good mark ? How many times did you write some code thinking that it was perfect and then had to write it all again two weeks later ? How many times did you get out of a presentation thinking you nailed it, only to find out later that the audience was underwhelmed? Finally, how many times did you think you found something new just to realize that someone else had this idea long before you ? The lesson here is that there’s nothing obvious: always seek to make it better and, when you think you can’t go further, push it some more!

The last competition we participated in was Concours Québecois en Entrepreneuriat. While I already know the business plan was too technical, it doesn’t mean we didn’t win. We will only find out on April 14th for the regional competition and June 16th for the national. The thing that really matters is to remember that a Business Plan is a work in progress, it’s never final nor completed. You’ll have more than one version depending on who will read it. It has to be solid and simple. What’s left to do is to sell yourself, sell your team and, more importantly, sell your dream.

I’m a dreamer, I have the best associates in the world and we’re not afraid of loosing or winning because, no mater what, we will keep pushing forward. That’s obvious, isn’t it ?

3 comments

  1. Simon-Pierre Gingras · April 11, 2011

    I totally agree with you on how challenging it is to properly express your ideas in everyman’s language. Too often, average technology consumers are left confused and overwhelmed by complicated explanations. Let’s not forget that, in the end, those who succeed most in technology are those who manage to put themselves in the shoes of their clients.

  2. Sam Edwards · April 11, 2011

    I feel you pain, but am starting to understand as well that if you’re making a consumer product, it comes down to the fact though that that average person on the street will be the one paying for your product. And if you can’t sell it, you won’t make any money. So it I still haven’t figured out the best way to bridge the gap, but it is important to be objective and see from that point of view as well as our system diagram view we have so clearly laid out.

    Anyways, I agree it’s challenging but important 🙂

  3. Pingback: ArcBees, grande gagnante! / ArcBees wins! « Arcbees's developer Blog

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