10 December

Business Plan Bonanza

Opinion Artsenkrant Tom Braekeleirs

This weekend we had again a new generation of startups as our guests to work on and think about their business plan. Personally, I am not a big fan of business plans because it is often a bit too much of a novel, not about content. I’d prefer a completed business model and a few Excel sheets to glance at. I am a little lazy by nature.

This weekend we had again a new generation of startups as our guests to work on and think about their business plan. Personally, I am not a big fan of business plans because it is often a bit too much of a novel, not about content. I’d prefer a completed business model and a few Excel sheets to glance at. I am a little lazy by nature.

And yet it is a necessary evil. A well worked out business plan is necessary to convince your bank to allow a loan, to convince an investor, it is even mandatory if you want to set up a company. If it serves a purpose for me, it is to do a reality check early in the process or to find a model behind it that actually makes sense.

Within healthcare, we find a lot of people with their heart in the right place. Hurray for that! And these people also often have fantastic ideas. And then such a business exercise can be a cold shower. "Yes, but..., we are in care. We do not do business." Correct... Not... You must still keep your business model running. Even if you put it in a non-profit organization, you still have expenses that should be compensated for by any income. And no, subsidies are not a sustainable business model. I am not saying that they are not useful and should be abolished. I do say, however, that subsidies can be used to accelerate a flywheel; not as a quick fix in a poorly constructed business model. And if it's already crooked there, you can write as much text in your business plan as you want, the figures will be difficult to reconcile with reality.

Boxer Mike Tyson once said: "Everyone has a plan until I punch them in the face." And unfortunately that happens too often in start-up world. On the back of a napkin it seems perfect, in your head you hear the cash register ringing. And paper is very willing. Until the market punches you in the face.

That is why we are starting so early, before money is being burned for expensive developments, to think about that (boring) business plan. And yes, it involves writing lots of text, for sure? Sorry, not sorry.

This opinion article from Tom Braekeleirs was published in Dutch in Artsenkrant.

Source photo: Artsenkrant, © Syda Productions

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