Black Coffee and Kicking the Furniture (Or, Why Writing a Decent Business Plan is So Hard).

Every year investors receive hundreds, thousands even, of business plans.  And most of them are hopeless.  Worse, they’re dull.  They ramble, they waffle, they pad.  They’re flat.  They do not engage.

Why?  It is, as they say, not rocket science (even if it’s about rocket science).  A quick rummage online will turn up good templates, and investors don’t hide what they seek.  So how come we miss the mark so often?

I believe it’s this:  Crafting a new business proposition is fundamentally a creative act.  As with a novel or a painting, there is no surefire route.  There are techniques but no algorithm.  Approaches but no ‘method’.

You size the market, scan the competitors, do your analysis and tot up the numbers.  But it’s in the fusion of all the elements that a business comes alive.  And that’s hard.  In all good business ideas, there is an element of magic, a creative step, that cannot be distilled to paint-by-numbers, to mere ‘work’.  It needs inspiration.  And inspiration comes hard if it comes at all.

Like good art, it’s easier to recognise than to produce.  It includes skill and discipline but goes beyond them.  And in the going beyond is where the black coffee and kicking the furniture come in.  Until at some point the fog finally lifts.  Everything snicks into place to the satisfying ‘pop’ of synapses forging a new connection, and your head clears. 

Sit back in your chair, and swap the coffee for a glass of something cold.