Do you need a Business Plan?

As we prepare for the next stage, I am now required (I assume 🙂 ) to at least have an business plan. I am personally not a very business plan person. I am sure it has it’s advantage. It’s just that I am not into it.

We never made a business plan for . We also did not do extensive market research. The business model was clear: We produce quality goods at an production cost that is less than selling cost leaving us descent or acceptable spread. The differentiating point was clear we offer people designs/prints that make them look SOCIAL SMART with excellent T shirt quality at an very affordable price. We build an online experience that is young, quirky and something that an regular Indian youth could relate too. We build trust by providing customers good service and be completely honest and transparent as possible. We try and put together a good team that would persistently work towards achieving the above.

Like any student who has done his post graduation in US, I worked on many business plans, project presentations.. yada yada yada. I realized that I would try and rationalize an idea so much that I would not be able to execute it. As a result I would spend a lot of time on researching so many ideas, spending lot of time exploring each on of them and in the end dropping it for some better idea. 🙂

So when we hit upon the WYO Idea, I felt that it had the basic elements required to start a business like: Good Idea, Business model, Value proposition. So I decided to jump into it without spending lot of time on research and chose to rather learn and improvise by executing instead of creating a business plan. I just followed my intuition.

I know importance of DATA but I thought that rather than breaking my head on assuming some random numbers to populate my business model excel sheet, I did really build a light weight website and a product to my best ability and try and sell it. Do this for six months and then use all the possible real data that I would then have  and along with what I have learned to make an calculated call.

We know what kind of designs we wanted but we were neither experts in designing nor had expertise in manufacturing.  But we  just took to it.  We just convinced our family to give some basic capital to execute it like a pilot project. Is that a great idea assuming all the risks? I don’t know.

Fast forward 10 months, is seeing descent traction, has numerous press mentions, customers are loving it, there are also complains , financial numbers make sense and huge scope for improvement. is purely driven by the fact that somewhere deep down we want to believe that we can make an awesome product and provide people with an amazing online experience. We are learning every day and trying to execute things to our best potential.  In theory we might not know what is exactly the “right way” of doing things but we just focus on doing things to best of our ability and do it honestly without cheating our customers or vendors.

So coming back to my original question, can an business plan account for the passion and the drive a founder has to create, innovate and build a product that would touch the lives of his end consumers ? Can it account for  the willingness of an founder to learn, re-learn, un-learn and work with relentless focus to achieve his dreams?

We @ know that we have chosen to build a brand that is “SOCIAL” in real terms. A brand that would help consumer to communicate what she/he – really is, thinks or believes.  By “SOCIAL” we mean connecting every Indian to his culture, roots, society and his country –  the good, the bad, the ugly and definitely the FUNNY side 🙂 and by “SOCIAL” we  also mean inspiring the youth of this country to make an difference.