March 2018
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Startups, Business Plans, And All That Risk

Sabeer Bhatia, cofounder Hotmail, on business plans for startups – and risk management.

“It doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter business plan with glossy pages and lots of information. Essentially it’s a plan that says what the company is going to do, what problem it is going to solve, how big the market is, what the sources of revenue for the company are, what your exit strategy is for your investors, what amount of money is required, how you are going to market it, what kind of people you need, what the technology risks are, marketing risks, execution risks. Those are the fundamentals of what goes in a business plan, and many people have it in their heads but don’t write it down.”

Jessica Livingston, Founders at Work, Apress, New York, 2007, p.28.

The three risks chosen are key to tech startups. Will what you plan to do work technically? Once you build it, will you be able to get enough users – and customers? Finally, can you do it all at once? Plenty of startups can do the tech or the business, but can you do both?

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