Business Planning Made Simple
August 4, 2008 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Business Planning Made Simple
FourThirds is a web-based process to create simplified business plans. All too often (and I've done this myself), dozens or hundreds of hours of effort are invested in creating a business plan, only to hit a major stumbling block or (as in my case) for Google to release almost exactly the same functionality, but for free (grrrrrrr!!). This will allow you to quickly think about the major planning elements and produce a PDF to show to your trusted circle of friends and family for their feedback.

Future plans include multiple plans per user, customisable PDF templates, enhanced guidance, more analysis of input, integration with productivity APIs (e.g. 37Signals' Basecamp) and more complex business planning capabillities for those who do want to take their initial plan(s) forward to full, formal business planning.
posted by mooders (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I love the idea but it looks like you have some problems to work out. I get this error when I try to log in and do stuff:

Fatal error: Call to a member function fetch() on a non-object in /homepages/28/d248604836/htdocs/product.php5 on line 24
posted by saraswati at 2:39 PM on August 4, 2008

Thanks saraswati for the feedback on the idea and the problem. All fixed now, so please do have a go with it!
posted by mooders at 1:48 AM on August 5, 2008

I kicked the tires and at this point it's a farily simple questionaire template that produces a rather dry slide deck.

To make this useful to entreprenuers I'd like to see some scenario modelling tools. Give me some what if financial tools that let me play with my ideas. The revenue section is all straight text entry, no calculations, no models. One crititcal success factor in my experience is to get the entreprenuer to think about the financial model of the business.

Build a scenario tool in google apps that lets people enter their baseline numbers and generate a couple models for them.

Another useful element would be links to references and research tools to look up competitors, to size markets to access census demographics. Being able to pull in these outside resources on the fly would be very valuable.

If it were to become a useful application I think some inline guidance and help would add a lot of value. Entreprenuers are usually technicians (i.e. good at something like buying shoes, making pizza, fixing televisions, selling insurance) and not so good at the big picture or the marketplace analysis. In situ guiadance, examples or scenarios would help to steer them towards a more robust business plan.

Right now this tool still leaves a lot up to the entreprenuer and doesn't help them think through the process in much depth. An interesting start but still a lightweight prototype.
posted by benignfun at 11:43 AM on August 8, 2008

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