If you haven’t taken a MBA class on Entrepreneurship, chances are you won’t know where to start, and with the hundreds of pages out there telling you that you can get a sample business plan for your business for only 39.95 that may or may not be good we figured we’d save you the time and money and check this, give it away for free, and something that’ 1/2 way decent on top of that, this outline has time and time again won and been featured in bplan competition finals.
With that, your guide to writing a business plan. Step by step, links to Wikipedia for terms that may be foreign to non business types. Enjoy!
Legal Company Name, Names of Partners
1. Executive Summary.
1.2. The Idea.
1.3. Sales and Marketing.
1.4. Opportunity Assessment.
1.5. The Team that will exploit the identified opportunity.
One thing that we see time and time again with many European start ups is that they think locally, and while the initial market for any new company will undoubtedly be local, implementing a good internationalization plan in your business plan from the onset is key to truly actualizing the potential of your enterprise.
Compared to the U.S., single European markets are still relatively small, the Spanish think first and foremost of Spain, the Germans of Germany, the British of the UK, the French of France, etc… etc…, and while barriers to entry in your country specific market and language are undeniably lower than in one that is foreign these markets are still undeniably smaller than that of the United States.
Looking at Europe, the largest local market is that of Germany, with 82 million inhabitants, Latvia on the other hand has a market of 2.25 million, compare that to the 300 million of the U.S. and you start to see what we’re talking about.
While a German company may be able to survive strictly within its own market, the Latvian one will have a harder time doing so, simply due to the country’s population as a potential client base.
However, that does not mean that the German company should think locally, in fact the opposite, both the Latvian and German start up should think of internationalization from the beginning, and once established in its own market should then look to move abroad. After all a good service is a good service and should be transferable across borders.
Here are a couple of things to think of when working on your business idea. 1. Is our product or service local, or does it have international appeal? 2. How difficult is it, would it be to deploy our product or service in a foreign market. 3. What are the easiest markets for us to move into, what are the barriers to entry in those markets and what are the needs of those consumers compared to ours. 4. How does the culture of our target international market(s) differ from ours, and how may we have to adjust our product to provide a good value proposition to those consumers. 5. Based on your assessments of the above will we have to adjust our launch strategy or is it easily transferable to adjacent markets.
Obviously expanding into new markets gives your firm an advantage in as far as potential market size is concerned. But with it you can also use your firms experience in these markets to create for yourself a strong first mover advantage, develop linguistic market competencies that can then be transferred to other markets using the same language, and secure additional funding for growth.
Mind you these are just a few simple things to think about, to truly understand and plan the internationalization of your firm you should be prepared, and many books have been written on the subject.
Here’s a list of books that we feel are imperative to learning the ins and outs of taking a small enterprise international.
If you’re basing your entire business model on advertising, bin it, it will get you nowhere. Especially if your business falls within the boundaries of a mobile / web business. Why?
How shall we count the ways.
Supply & Demand – With the prevalence of Google’sAdSense on even your grandma’s blog, advertisers are just not willing to pay big bucks for most keywords. Sure you can get a list of high paying ones and try to develop a site for that, but your target market will also be so miniscule that your traffic will make a blip on the radar, and then how much fun can it be to write about “Mesothelioma Lawyers in San Diego” or “Endowment Selling”. Remember, in the web world – Quality Content is King. It’s the differentiating factor between a site that grows and a site that stays stagnant. Same that goes AdSense goes for AdMob, except that on Mobile devices people are even less likely to click through, due to the basic nature of phones. People use apps for one specific task, then close them. i.e. I’m not signing up to flickr when translating something from Catalan to English.
Savvy Individuals – Perhaps savvy is the wrong word here, but do you yourself click on ads when visiting websites, or do you simply pass over them as if they were empty space? Reckon it’s the latter, and just like you, so’s the rest of the wider internet community. And while in a perfect world we’d like to think the opposite, it’s just not the case, even when it comes to mobile applications, see above ref.
Dedicated Ad-Space – Sites that typically rank in the 1000+ range on Alexa can charge between €30-40 CPM. Mind you these guys tend to have dedicated sales teams going after advertisers, and have information on their users that goes far and beyond what you can access with Analytics -Age, Sex, Annual Income, all the stuff that warrants a high CPM. If you want to star playing with the big boys get your traffic to their level 1st, and if you can, by all means best of luck.
It’s Inefficient – Chris Anderson editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine wrote in the WSJ said this better than I ever could. “The standard business model for Web companies that don’t actually have a business model is advertising. A popular service will have lots of users, and a few ads on the side will pay the bills. Two problems have emerged with that model: the price of online ads and click-through rates. Facebook is an amazingly popular service, but it also an amazingly ineffective advertising platform. Even if you could figure out what the right ad to serve next to a high-school girl’s party pictures might be, she and her friends probably won’t click on it. No wonder Facebook applications get less than $1 per 1,000 views (compared to around $20 on big media Web sites).” You can read the article here.
Notwithstanding there are some things that you can do to augment your income from online advertising revenues, such as placement, colour coding, etc… etc… and as a supplementary revenue channel it can cover some operational costs but don’t bet your bottom dollar on it, and don’t try and raise money with it as your main revenue source. You need to have a value proposition that is actually viable, mobile or net, or for that matter with any business.