Who needs a business plan?

To hell with a business plan! My momentum is up and I’m not gonna stop myself and run the risk of a starter going out on me. I’m like the old car Robert Klein jokes about: have a listen. Besides, since I am going to attempt to self fund this bad boy, at least initially, I don’t really need a formal business plan written up just yet. I want to build something, get it out there, learn, and then write a business plan. It seems like business advisors always want you to slow it down and fill out paper work and plan everything out to the smallest detail…screw that, I’ve got it all in my head, it’s time to take action! I’ve been taking it slow for far too long now.

Long story short, I decided to slow it down a bit and write a business plan :). I’m a sellout, what can I say? Not for the investors though, for myself. When I started thinking about how I am going to market my applications with little money and who they are for and what I want to achieve with them and all that good stuff, I realized that I really don’t have as clear of picture as I thought. And the stuff that is clear in my head now, won’t be for long, as the tornado of to-do’s comes through and scatter my brain. It became clear to me that I needed to sit down and think things through up front, while everything is relatively calm out. This would help me get a clear picture and provide me with a reference sheet down the road to help make decisions and stay on track. It’s definitely a good thing…definitely (Martha Stewart as Rain Man).

So I sat down and started writing what my vision of the future is, how much I want to be making in 1, 3, 5 years (I want to be making 100K/yr in 2 years, if you must know), who my target market is going to be, and … well actually that’s as far as I got. I came up with a few different target markets and am still working on analyzing them to see which one represents the best opportunity for me. Once I’ve settled on one, my next step will be to write out how I plan to penetrate it and reach my goals. Here’s a good article about writing strategic business plans by Andrew Neitlich: Write a Business Plan that works.

I’ve spent the last couple days focusing on business structures (LLC = good), visions, goals, markets, finance, trade associations, etc. This is all very necessary and good, but now I am looking forward to spending the next couple days getting back to building my product. It will be a nice break from the business side of things and allow me to get back to my web-dev roots. I’ve decided to spend 50% of my time biz’n (can I just make up words like that?) and 50% geek’n (huh, I guess I can) in order to break up the monotony, keep a nice balance, and continue making progress in both arenas. Warning: these percentages may vary as needed.

One last tidbit, if you happen to be in the Portland area, the 13th Annual Oregon Small Business Fair is going down on September 16th. I’ve never been before, but it looks like a good opportunity to do some learning and networking. I was happy to find out about it beforehand for once, as typically I find out about these sort of things the day after the fact. But not this time boy! You hear that “luck of zack”? I outwitted you at last! It’s probably a misprint and it was last month, but whatever.

Update: I still plan on releasing my appetizer app in a month, so stick around. While I’ve learned that writing a business plan upfront is a good idea, I stand by my original philosophy that it’s important to just start doing something, anything! Too much obsessive thinking and not enough doing is what has held me back these last few years. So my business plan will be relatively short and sweet and, as I’ve mentioned, written in conjuction with the app ;).




Dude, IMO, 100k/yr is not a high enough goal. You can work for a company and make that much, quite easily. How about shooting for being worth 10million in 3 years.

BTW, I’m impressed with you blogging about your plan. By announcing it, you’re holding yourself accountable. Oh hey, why 3 people? You only need a programmer for the engine, and a designer for the UI.

Zack Jenks

Thanks Dave! Yeh, you might be right, I probably should aim higher. 10 Million though? Wow! That sounds like a Dr. Evil figure, lol.

When I say 100K/yr, I am referring to my personal gain. After taxes and salaries and other expenses are paid. That’s significantly more than I’m making now and it sounded like a good number to me, so there really wasn’t much logic beyond that.

Although for me it’s not all about the mulah. Money is important, but the most important thing is that I will be my own boss, do great things, escape the cube, and have the flexibility to enjoy life a little more.

I need 1 designer, 1 programmer, and 1 me. I would help out with programming and designing but my main responsibility would be project management and marketing. Marketing is key!

Zack Jenks

The dream team of 3 is a year or two out btw. Initially, it’s all me, with some outsourced design work here and there. Then, if I choose not to partner with a designer, I’ll hire on #2 when I can afford it. Eventually, I would also like to start handing off some of the programming and that’s where #3 comes in. This will allow me to focus more on the business end of things.


Agreed, focusing on the money may not be the best motivator.

So perhaps the goal should be: To be able to quit my day job and sustain myself doing work I’m motivated to do and feel passionate about.

Good goals are important. How else do you know if you’ve met them?

I’m totally with you on the team of 3 thing (long term). It’s a team of 1 at the start. Let me know when you find that great designer, as I need one too! I’ll bet the market is much better for designers than programmers, as they seem much rarer, at least those reading blogs.

Zack Jenks

So perhaps the goal should be: To be able to quit my day job and sustain myself doing work I’m motivated to do and feel passionate about.

Good point, but I also wanted to have a dollar figure goal for more precise planning and measurement. Once I have a financial goal (which is linked to the other goals), I’m better able to analyze how many users/ad’s/etc. I’ll need to reach that figure, as well as how big my target market should be, how much marketing I need to do to get that number of users, etc. It’s also easier to evaulate your progress when there’s a financial goal in place.

Let me know when you find that great designer, as I need one too!

Will do Dave! I hope to have my designer selected tomorrow sometime. I’ll post more about it after the hire.


Be careful about targetting dollar amounts. Once you reach them, it can be a big letdown. Cuz what’s money? A means. A means to what… ?


I think if you continue to keep a dynamic plan, w/ a realistic analysis of your initial and long term profit potentials….your business plan will adjust accordingly to evolve from a small time venture, to a potentially much larger business with several employees and several apps…..everything costs, so costs/benefits should always be as part of your goals.


WOW! I’ve read up to this point and will continue to read to get caught up.

Let me just say i’m glad i found this site.

Just recently, i decided to take on a venture of my own and just started doing things. From reading this far, you have definitely given me a bit more of an idea of what i need to do.

my idea is more of a local venture with some online entities to it.

anyways, i couldn’t hold my urge to post any longer. not to mention, i’m a web designer by trade…at least for the past 7 years.

i look forward to reading more and seeing how far along things are.

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