How To Write A .Com Business Plan

How To Write A .Com Business Plan

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by Joanne Eglash
     
 

Online business is booming,and you're ready for a piece of the e-biz pie. Maybe you've developed a brilliant idea for a ".com" business that is sure to reap big bucks,or perhaps you run an established small business,and plan to take your concept online.

How can you convince an investment "angel" to fund your dreams of expansion? What you need is a business

…  See more details below

Overview

Online business is booming,and you're ready for a piece of the e-biz pie. Maybe you've developed a brilliant idea for a ".com" business that is sure to reap big bucks,or perhaps you run an established small business,and plan to take your concept online.

How can you convince an investment "angel" to fund your dreams of expansion? What you need is a business plan—your path to success,the best way to win investment dollars from venture capitalists or from individual investors.

This guide tells you how to do just that,detailing not just the steps but offering advice from successful entrepreneurs,leading venture capital executives,and noted e-biz experts.

In addition,the second-half of the book comprises a

"Dotcom" directory. Author Joanne Eglash has sleuthed out the top resources for e-biz entrepreneurs,and she reveals where to find what you need to get your dotcom off and running — and to make it a success. You'll find detailed information on "virtual" government agencies and free publications,resources for young entrepreneurs,management and recruitment Web sites,incubators,marketing and advertising,and even more.

Succeed in the Wired World Whether you're an entrepreneur with a great e-biz idea,a business owner who wants to enter the dot-com domain,or the owner of a popular but currently unprofitable Web site,you need a business plan to get your concept online,attract investors,and reap the benefits of the growing online business boom. How to Write a . Com Business Plan is the only "how-to" book that focuses on the unique needs and requirements of the online arena. Here you'll discover how to address the Internet-related subjects that distinguish onlinebusinesses from more conventional entrepreneurial pursuits,from search engines to site security. Using two fictional sites as case studies throughout the book,Silicon Valley journalist Joanne Eglash demystifies the creation and implementation of the business plan,complete with step-by-step checklists and interviews with successful Internet entrepreneurs,venture capitalists,and other e-commerce experts.

Learn how a well-developed dot-com business plan can help you:

* Secure financing,wow prospective investors,and lure top employees

* Lay out a roadmap for your future,both for you and your colleagues,for tomorrow—and the next five years

* Evaluate how you can most effectively manage your business and market your product or service—and create a blueprint for implementation

* Develop descriptions of your company,your financial projections,and ways you can beat the competition

. . . and much more,including an invaluable Dot-Com Directory to help you locate information about a range of relevant topics. From mission statements and financial management to choosing and registering that all-important make-or-break domain name to the reality of the long hours your newbiz-dot-com will require,this much-needed,easy-to-use guide will set you on a solid path to e-success today.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780071357531
Publisher:
McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date:
11/20/2000
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,269,119
Product dimensions:
0.44(w) x 7.50(h) x 9.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2: Executive Summary

If Yogi Berra were asked to write an executive summary, he would probably pause, sigh, and reflect, "But what if I write it and no executives read it? It's deja vu all over again!"

Ouch.

But seriously, folks. I recommend that you skip the Yogi Berra jokes, references to your children (unless you are selling a product or service for kids), and other potential wince-isms in your executive summary. Remember: many prospective investors use the summary as a way to decide whether your plan is worth additional time-and you don't want to make them groan or feel sick on the second page. If you must be cute, save it for your appendix. (See Chapter 11 for details.)

So, now that we've set aside the bad jokes (at least for the moment), let's look at the facts. Want some incentive for writing a dynamic executive summary? Here's the reality: an outstanding executive summary is an absolutely essential element in winning investment dollars from venture capital, venture catalyst, and/or individual investor "angels" for your lightbulb lollipalooza of an idea. These folks' desks are piled to the ceiling with BrightBusinessPlans-dot-coms. And they're going to read your executive summary first. If it doesn't whet their appetite for more, you can bid a fond farewell to all your hard work!

There are two frequently used methods for writing an executive summary:

  • The Write It First School of Thought, which is based on the theory that you can then use this summary as an outline for the rest of your business plan.
  • The Write It Last Philosophy, which is based on the theory that you can combine sections from the preceding parts of your plan to use inthe executive summary

I recommend a third method. Do a quick-and-dirty draft at the onset. Then, during your "final flourishes" (as outlined in Chapter 11), you can smooth the rough edges, add and modify as needed, and voila! You have an executive summary fit for the grandest of poohbah executives.

What does an executive summary contain? The summary provides the reader with an overview of:

  • The company mission statement and company description
  • The management
  • The competition
  • The market and your customer
  • Your product and/or service
  • Marketing and sales
  • Operations
  • Financial projections and plans

It is essential to prepare this section with care. Remember: many of your readers will glance through the summary first. If it seems like a winner, they'll continue. If not, they will simply move onto the next business plan.

One common mistake is to overwrite the executive summary, cramming in every iota of information. This everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach might seem like the way to impress your readers.

Wrong. Bankers, venture capital firms, individual investors-all these folks have one trait in common: they value their time. You should too. So, keep your executive summary succinct and clear. Your goal is to capture your readers' attention, not drown it.

Because you are creating a business plan for an Internet business, you must also demonstrate how you will get site traffic on an ongoing basis (and why they'll keep comin' back). What I'm referring to here is the "stickiness" factor. Before you rush off to purchase a virtual version of glue, here's what I mean by stickiness. It's the features that make visitors linger at your Web site and give them reason to return time after time-in a nutshell, the qualities of your site that increase both new and return visitors.

Addressing this element helps present your site as a winning proposition for investors. And remember: if investors buy the snapshot of your vision, they'll continue. For example, in the executive summary for Grrlbiz.com, I would note our plans to offer free e-mail accounts (one way to guarantee that visitors will return: they need to check, compose, and manage their free Grrlbiz.com e-mail accounts); changing content, such as columns by experts; community involvement and opportunities for interaction, such as chats and discussion boards; and contests. But remember: this is just a first draft. Don't let the importance of your executive summary overwhelm you so much that you belabor it. Look at it as an opportunity to capture all your ideas in just a few pages.

If you can't complete all the sections (such as the financial details), don't worry. The "final flourishes" chapter is when we'll fill in all the blanks! So, although you will need to revise this section after the other chapters are finished, you'll benefit and save time later by creating this draft as a reference point.

I Cannot Tell A Lie

Here's something to remember as you write your summary and throughout your business plan preparation: tell the truth...

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What People are saying about this

Douglas H. Kass
Any entrepreneur dreaming of on-line success will benefit from Eglash�s step-by-step guidelines, informative do�s and don�ts, and useful checklists. (Douglas H. Kass, CEO, Viewpoint Group, Inc.)
Netsurfer Digest
K, so you look around and you think that the dotcom boom is over. Not for a minute. Despite media hype of dying Net companies, quite a lot of venture capital is still going to Net-related startups. Only these days, the money is a bit smarter and more interested in business plans which actually make sense. Which is where a book like this comes in. While you may be able to find advice, checklists, and examples in other business plan books, what sets this one apart is a large collection of online and other resources designed to give e-biz entrepreneurs a leg up on the daunting startup tree.--Netsurfer Digest
Christine Harmel
Highly concentrated ... if you are an entrepreneur seeking to build an online business, let this serve as your guidebook. Joanne's advice is right-on. Concise, yet thorough and witty - this book is a timely resource for those who are looking to build an online business. Packed with useful tips on writing your business plan, getting financed, marketing and launching an online business, Joanne Eglash has tapped some of the best in the business. She includes useful examples and gives solid advice. Much of it is advice I give my own clients who are writing business plans and launching Internet ventures - I'll definitely direct them to this book/hand them a copy of this book. (Christine Harmel, CEO, The Interactive Resource)
Rozella Kennedy
A useful, honest guide to helping you develop your .com business plan for the daunting world of Internet entrepreneurship. (Rozella Kennedy, Producer of Job Wise - Moms Online at Oxygen.com)

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