Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Benjamin Franklin Principle

As Benjamin Franklin said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." A well-written business plan can mean the difference between a successful, thriving business, and one that fails miserably. Many entrepreneurs underestimate the value of this important aspect of starting a business. For most, it will be impossible to get capital for start-up costs without a clear, concise plan for their business. As with any field of study, there are experts in the art of business plan writing. These experts can be a good resource for a new business owner as he or she embarks on the path of business ownership. Here are two of these recognized experts and their views on business plans.

David Giampaolo

Giampaolo is a recognized expert in the area of business and entrepreneurialism. He is originally from Florida but now resides in the United Kingdom, and is the CEO of Pi Capital. (Jacobs, 2010) Pi Capital is a London-based investor club with a few hundred members. (Duff, 2008) Giampaolo has been investing in business since he was 15 years old and is characterized as a born entrepreneur. He made most of his money from establishing and then selling health club chains in both the US and the UK. (Jacobs)

When discussing how he decides when to invest in a business, Giampaolo and his Pi Capital investors look at what expectations the business owners have in their business plans. If the expectations are unrealistic, they don’t even entertain the idea of investing in them. (Moules, 2009) In another article, Giampaolo talks about the importance of a new business having a good management team in place. (Southon, 2008) Giampaolo and his investors are more likely to invest in businesses that have strong management. They want to be fairly hands-off approach, so it’s important that the management team be effective and know how to take leadership of the business and implement the business plan.

Garrett Sutton, Esq.

Sutton is the managing partner at Sutton Law Center in Nevada and is also an accomplished author in the area of business and entrepreneurialism. He is so accomplished, in fact, that he serves as one of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Advisors at Rich Dad Coaching. Robert Kiyosaki authored the best-selling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad and is in his own right an accomplished author, businessman, and investor. Sutton has over 30 years of experience in the area of corporate law and has written several books on starting businesses and writing business plans. He studied law at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated with his J.D. in 1978 from Hastings Law, the University of California’s law school in San Francisco.

According to a review of his book Writing Winning Business Plans on Kirkus Reviews, Sutton makes clear that the true differentiator of a good idea versus a prosperous business is a well-written business plan. He also says that a business plan should be the “intersection” of everything inside the business and everything outside of the business. Most new entrepreneurs put too much focus on the “inside” aspect of their business plan, and not enough focus on the “outside” in the form of competition, market trends, political forces, etc. Again, as with Giampaolo, Sutton stresses management as a key for an effective business plan. Many a good business plan has failed to attract money not because of the deal itself, but because of the people in key management positions who are making the decisions in the business. Sutton emphasizes that it’s important to have a solid team in any business venture, as one person cannot be strong in every area that the business requires. (Sutton, 2012)

Regardless of the venture on which you are embarking, it is clear that the planning that comes prior to starting that venture is of key importance. You would be amiss to think that you can jot down a few nice-sounding words and call it a business plan. Any investor can spot a well-though-out business plan versus one that was quickly and haphazardly put together. Take the time to make your plan right, and the payoff will be a solid foundation from which to build your business.

Duff, A. (May 2008). Profile: David Giampaolo, chief executive, Pi Capital. Director. Retrieved from: 

Jacobs, E. (December 9, 2010). 20 Questions: David Giampaolo. Financial Times. Retrieved from:

Moules,  J. (April 4, 2009). When an angel could turn out to be a devil in disguise. Financial Times, London Edition 1. Retrieved from :

Sutton, G. (2012). Writing Winning Business Plans. BZK Press, LLC.

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