Jun 13 2011
A somewhat shocking if not disheartening reality is the demise of business plans. The reality is many businesses start without one. People go into business with a plan of working hard and then worry about making money later. This certainly works for some, but has also been the downfall of many. This trend is so pervasive that it’s now recommended by some to not even bother with writing a business plan when approaching potential investors. The old fuddy duddies with money apparently only have the attention spans for slide shows. These of course are given the fancy name of ‘Slide Decks’ and are required to follow the same, uninspiring pattern. It’s ironic that the distribution of millions of dollars comes down to one’s ability to prepare and present a ten screen Power Point presentation.
But even these slide shows are better than some. The popular South Park ‘Profit’ meme better resembles the business plans of many start-ups. The meme pokes fun at the sometimes ludicrous actions of companies and the distant correlation they have with the bottom line. I remember one aspiring entrepreneur who I questioned about how he planned on making money. His reply? Eyeballs! Just get enough eyeballs on the screen and it would equal profit. This is sometimes true. Sometimes.
A previous cohort of mine once relayed to me the words of start-up maven Paul Graham. He filled in the missing step between the antics of start-up activities and their bottom line. His sage advice? Charge! The point being that in order to make money you should find ways to provide a valuable service and charge customers for it. And so a hundred new start-ups were launched with the one word business plan of charging their customers. It was a modest improvement, if you’d like to call it that.
Now there’s a way to prepare a complete business plan with the least amount of effort. Enloop is a new tool that will automatically generate a business plan for you. All you do is enter your company’s basic information and it will generate text, financial ratios, and assign you a score that predicts your likelihood of success.
How Enloop pulls all this off is a bit of a mystery. As decoded by CNN Money:
Enter your concept, your financial resources and other details about the company you want to create, and Enloop automatically generates a business plan for you, and uses a predictive scoring algorithm to calculate financial forecasts and scores measuring your potential success compared with industry peers.
That sounds a bit too analytical for my tastes. I’m going to go with the ‘magic’ theory in keeping with the more contemporary methodologies of creating business plans.
The score is what’s known as the Enloop Performance Score (EPS). This is a 0-1000 rating that is an indication of your predicted success. It comes complete with an EPS verification system so potential investors can confirm the results. If the prevailing sentiments are correct this score could be the only thing investors actually look at. It’s great to have a business plan to fall back on in any case.
Enloop is an intriguing service that algorithmically generates business plans. In a sense it’s like your first trial run with a potential investor. If after entering all your business data you’re given a high score then at least by one measure you have a viable business model. It’s a recently launched service with the free plan offering all the bells and whistles during their beta phase. With Enloop you can create downloadable business plans and get a qualified predictive rating of your business.