BY CRYSTAL STRANGER, CO-FOUNDER, PEACOUNTS
Blockchain is the biggest innovation since the formation of the internet. The race is on for companies to reinvent all industries and products using blockchain and virtual currencies to improve efficiency and decentralize many transactions. From property transfers, to supply chain, to music streaming, the applications are nearly endless.
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have rewritten the way businesses raise funds by allowing companies to approach individual investors to purchase a token related to their company, rather than selling part of the company or borrowing money. Some of this tokenization is considerably similar to selling stock, but other ICOs sell a token that is used directly in the business’s virtual ecosystem and carries an inherent value. Either way, this has proved to be a major source of funds for startups. So with this brand new economy and the possibility for funding, one question looms: Do you still need a business plan and/or slide deck?
A company issuing an ICO will need a whitepaper describing the token and its usage. Many entrepreneurs think this is sufficient and they do not need a business plan or slide deck. Writing a business plan can be tedious and when launching an ICO, it is a very busy time. I can attest to that. My company, PeaCounts, an AI- and blockchain-based accounting system for small businesses is in the midst of an ICO as I write this. I can understand the allure of skipping the headache of writing a business plan, but doing so comes at a cost.
The focus gained from making solid plans is priceless. Isn’t it better to use a GPS or Google Maps than to follow one of those folded paper maps? And isn’t even the folded paper map better than driving up and down each street to figure out how to get where you need to go? A business plan is a map for your business to follow.
Writing a business plan doesn’t need to be a formal process. If the document is just for internal use (at least for now), you can just make a simple pitch deck using PowerPoint or Keynote. Note: I call this type of document a “business plan,” but the concepts apply to a pitch deck, too, although a pitch deck can also be simplified and should tell a story.