BUSINESS PLANS THAT WIN $$$: Lessons from the MIT Enterprise Forum by Stanley R. & David Gumpert Rich

BUSINESS PLANS THAT WIN $$$: Lessons from the MIT Enterprise Forum

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Insight and intelligence for proprietors of going concerns in search of growth capital (though new entrepreneurs and even corporate product managers can listen in too). Rich, co-founder of the MIT Enterprise Forum, and Gumpert, small business editor at Harvard Business Review, provide no model forms, concentrating instead on broad principles that are instructively illustrated by case studies. Logically enough, they start with the elements of business plans of particular interest to venture capitalists--including evidence that applicants have a care for their returns and eventual takeout, perhaps via a public offering of securities. As a practical matter, Rich and Gumpert caution, business plans are frequently judged by their covers, and other format features. (Among other things, they recommend keeping the entire text to 40 typewritten--not type-set--pages to be placed in a spiral plastic binder; copies should be numbered to indicate limited circulation.) So far as contents go, there should be concise rundowns on the company's goods or services, sales program, industry position, competition, financial needs, and management. Almost invariably, the authors report, venture capitalists prefer teams of experienced executives with complementary skills to one-man bands; they also take longer looks at marketing-minded principals than at technologists for whom better mousetraps may be ends in themselves. Another must are detailed financial statements and projections documenting anticipated cash flows, break-even points, cost controls, etc. for periods of five or more years. In addition to the basics, Rich and Gumpert cover what they term the show-biz aspects of a business plan: oral presentations. And they warn against expecting instant response--even a receptive evaluation can take six months. In brief: a valuable reference for those running relatively large small businesses in need of cash to sustain their momentum.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1985
ISBN: 0060913916
Publisher: Harper & Row