I like to think that I am a pretty good writer of business plans. So far, I have written three: one was for fun, one was for a university business plan competition, and the third was for the Connecticut state competition. The university plan came in second in the competition, and the state plan was good enough for top four in the state. After all this writing, I figured writing a business plan to actually start a company would be the same gig. Wow, was I wrong!
I traveled down to New York City on Friday with my partner to meet with the founders of a new media marketing firm, Carrot Creative. They were kind enough to take time out of their day to look over our plan with us and give us some input on what we should add/change/remove. It turned out that pretty much everything that we had was either changed or removed. The problems that we faced was that our concept was not specific enough, and our market research was shoddy at best. They told us that to really convince a panel of judges (or a VC) that your idea is worth investing in, you have to have data to back it up.
With all that said, we dove into the market research and spent the majority of our time researching the market. At that point I realized that this was where my other plans went awry. They had tons of information about the problem and the concept of the product/company, but little information about the market. Why had I left that out of my other plans? I think it was mainly because I am an idea person. When I come up with an idea for a company or product I get so caught up in the idea of how I’m going to revolutionize the world that I forget the most important thing … my customers. After all, they are the reason that any concept becomes successful.
Overall, it was a great day in the city with some great guys helping us out. I really learned a ton about business plans and the internet industry in general, and also started to form some great relationships. But now I know: if you have a great concept, great, run with it, but don’t forget about your market. They are the people that will either make or break your idea. Research, research, research because that is how you sell your business.
Has your business or idea been affected by a lack of research? Let me know!