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Starting a Tech Business: A Practical Guide for Anyone Creating or Designing Applications or Software by Alex Cowan

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Bringing It All Together

What Do I Need?

The exact materials you need to prepare to execute your strategy depend on your objectives and audience. Various facets of the lean management movement have challenged the importance of a traditional business plan. These more agile management philosophies point out that too much time and hope is invested in long-range business plans when the reality of the operating environment is uncertain. That said, you'll need something that resembles a traditional business plan if you're dealing with investors or bankers. The key is not wasting time trying to predict to the nth degree. For example, let's say someone asked you to predict tomorrow's average temperature. You could go online, look at average temperatures for the season in your area, and make a good guess. What if you were asked to predict it to the third significant digit, e.g., will it be 70.001 degrees or 70.0002 degrees? You would probably have to guess.

Unless your business is lightweight, it's probably a good idea to write a traditional business plan. It will help you think through the business and it's nice to have on hand if you find you need to pitch investors or strategic partners. The key thing is not to overinvest in its preparation, not to expect it to come true just because you wrote it down, and to acknowledge that many parts of it are likely to change, even in the short term.

Table 2.4 describes the major sections in a typical business plan and the questions you should be ...

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