This isn’t mine, but I wish it were because it’s done very well and I agree with all of it. These are the seven deadly sins of business plans, from Stephen Fleming on Academic VC:

  1. Insist on a nondisclosure agreement upfront.
  2. Focus on the technology—not the market, the competition and the customers.
  3. Practice top-down sales forecasting.
  4. Use four significant digits everywhere.
  5. Position investors as necessary-but-unpleasant “mushrooms.” (He adds: Keep them in the dark and feed them plenty of… um, manure).
  6. Fill your plan with typos, errors, “chartjunk,” 3D graphs and repetition.
  7. Expect to be acquired by Cisco or Google.

Don’t settle for my quick summary, read the source, which is Academic VC: “Raising Capital: Part 09.” It’s right on point,  on target and well worth reading. Fleming obviously knows this area very well.

And when you read it, you’ll notice that this is part 9 of an 11-part (so far) series on raising capital. It may be the best of the series, but not necessarily; there are some other very good pieces.

If you’re looking to raise capital, read every word in the series.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.