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How Your Business Plan Might Be Holding You Back

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This story appears in the October 2012 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In 1995, Jeff Hyman spent six to eight months developing a business plan for his internet recruiting website, Career Central. By the time he was done, the document was more than 150 pages. His Silicon Valley colleagues praised its thoroughness. The plan was successful and landed him the $500,000 he had hoped to raise for the startup. But in retrospect, he wonders if his time could have been better spent.

Last year, Chicago-based Hyman had another entrepreneurial idea -- Retrofit, a data-driven weight-loss company. This time, instead of writing a business plan, he spent four months testing his concept; he also interviewed potential customers, distributors and obesity experts to get a complete understanding of the market. After more than 100 meetings, Hyman put together a business plan that was only two pages long. With it, he managed to raise $2.7 million in startup funding.

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