Do You Need a Business Plan?

I’ve been having this discussion on Linked In about whether a start up company needs a business plan or not. If you ask any Ivy League MBA you will probably hear that you absolutely do need one. And you need to spend thousands of dollars to have someone smarter than you put one together.

entrepreneur's business plan

entrepreneur's business plan

But if you ask my friend Oliver who owns a print shop or the dog groomers around the corner or my acupuncturist, they would tell you they never had one. I’ve run 3 businesses and have never written a formal business plan. One of them is an international manufacturing company and I’ve never had a business plan for it. Once I had already been in business for years I was planning to expand and needed to raise money. That’s the only time I have put anything down on paper, but it still wasn’t a business plan, more like a presentation with corporate bios and projections of how many would be sold, etc.

I took that presentation out of the closet and read through it. 90% of what was in it wasn’t even true anymore. None of my employees are with me anymore because of the downturn in the economy. So, what I thought my business was going to be, which was sales reps and full time employees, wasn’t even close to what I ended up with. Now I have distributors who are independent and simply buy the product from me and get marketing and PR support. [Read more…]

Project Copy Cat

Today ICE and Homeland Security carried out Project Copy Cat, seizing 70 websites selling counterfeit merchandise. The websites looked so much like the real sites that it was almost impossible to tell them apart. They even had SSL certificates which captured customers personal information and credit card numbers.

counterfeits

counterfeits

As the owner of patents, trademarks and copyrights, I have had an ongoing battle with counterfeiters in the past couple of years. One day I just happened to Google wrist water bottles and found a site in China that had a picture of me wearing my own product. When I called them they tried to sell me my product.

That’s when I launched infringerblacklist and spent the next 6 months getting the counterfeit products removed from the Internet. It was a daunting task. I finally managed to remove most of them from the Internet. But counterfeiters are like cockroaches. If you don’t keep it under control, they multiply. [Read more…]