Stephane Fermigier posted this link on facebook and expressed his disagreement with it: Business plans a waste of time finds a study. Sure: Whenever external documentation becomes useless and formal exercise it is also a waste of your time. But: Writing a document helps you to realise the problem and demonstrate more discipline in your visions.
The same applies to studies of course. Concerning the task of documentation at large, Karl Fogel’s opiniated piece for the SVN handbook addresses the core issues:
A bad Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet is one that is composed not of the questions people actually ask, but of the questions the FAQ’s author wishes people would ask. Perhaps you’ve seen the type before:
Q: How can I use Glorbosoft XYZ to maximize team productivity?
A: Many of our customers want to know how they can maximize productivity through our patented office
groupware innovations. The answer is simple. First, click on the File menu, scroll down to Increase
The problem with such FAQs is that they are not, in a literal sense, FAQs at all. No one ever called the tech support line and asked, “How can we maximize productivity?” Rather, people asked highly specific questions, such as “How can we change the calendaring system to send reminders two days in advance instead of one?” and so on.
I find the important task is how to get clarity and transparency about what you really want and why. Documentation can be enjoyed if you communicate with a real world person. Here it doesn’t matter how you explain your business concept as long as you give your audience the option to challenge you, to ask questions. A business plan then serves the purpose to get you feedback not a write-up task. Good documentation is communication.
The question is how to change the conditions for you so that your documentation is written in a way you enjoy. Fun for you, not a burden. The more formality expectations you have to meet the more difficult it gets.
Social connections trump business plans by a long shot, says Goldfarb Thus it is that people who already know VCs and angels have an easier time raising money. The irony, says Goldfarb, is that people who don’t have connections need to go out and make them, which may require that they have a business plan to discuss. But the plan is sort of like a business card, he says – just something that business protocol dictates you carry around.