What to expect:
(from the Business Planning System)
For those of you that do better if you have a frame of reference and/or an idea of what is coming before you jump into a project, this page is for you.  Many important pieces of information are summarized below, as well as what we feel the proper perspective is when approaching the business modeling and business planning process using the BPS tool suite.
Thinking about the process:
 
1.  This process takes time.  The more you hurry the more likely you are to end up with a lesser quality plan than you hoped for.
2. Multiple revisions is normal, and helpful.  There are lots on interdependent moving parts to a business; documenting them in a way that someone who doesn't read minds can readily understand happens one piece at a time.  Those pieces are seldom discovered / realized in the order the questions are asked even though we have done our best to order the questions in a way that provoke the key thoughts and realizations for that stage.
3. (Related to #2) This is not a strictly linear process.  Sometimes when working on one section of your plan you will realize things about your business that dramatically effect a prior section; in order to keep continuity of thought it may be best to pause the stage or section you are on and go back and update the prior section so the whole thing jives together.  
4. There may not be a right or wrong answer.  The 'right' answer is the one that most accurately reflects the vision you have and business you are committed to working really hard at.  The vision may change as you get new information... (see #2)
Using The Business Model Builder:
 
Who:     You and any collaborators or reviewers you invite to join you
What:    2 progressive stages, question and answer format, reports produced at the ends of stages
Why:     To produce a document that helps you explain how you envision the businesses systems working.
When:   Whenever you're ready, 24/7.  
Where:  Anywhere you have internet.  You don't need super-fast connection, save & resume as needed
How:     Desktop is best, phone works.  One question at a time, be honest & think through your answers
Using The Business Plan Builder:
 
Who:     You and any collaborators or reviewers you invite to join you
What:    2 non-progressive stages, question and answer format, custom calculators to hep with financials
Why:     To create a business plan that is easy for evaluators to analyze and make decisions with.
When:   After the business model is done, available 24/7. Will most likely take 2 days - 2 weeks to finish 
Where:  Anywhere you have internet.  You don't need super-fast connection, save & resume as needed
How:     Desktop is best, phone works.  One question at a time, be honest & do your calculations
Saving and resuming progress:
Saving before you finish a stage:  You can save your progress at any time by clicking 'Save'in the lower right corner of any section.  You will be prompted to enter an email to have a resume-link sent to you or you can copy the link down.  
Resuming progress before you finish a stage:   After you are logged in to BPS Tools click on the resume link in the email and you will be able to continue from the last point of progress you saved at. 
  • Different stages have different links 
  • If you save multiple times in a stage you do not need multiple emails to be sent.
  • If you are not logged in when you resume site security will make you log in again and the data will not repopulate.  You will have to re-click the link to populate
Resuming progress after you finish a stage:   Click on the edit link in the confirmation email and you can change your prior answers.  The new info will flow into the other stages after the stage you changed, but you may need to refresh the browser. 
  • Documents for that stage will be re-created when you click submit to lock in the new info.
Working with collaborators:  After you submit your work the first time if you give someone 'edit' access their changes will be the same as if you made the change. 
  • Strongly encourage collaborators to record their edit-session on the first screen of the stage.
  • When they click submit documents for that stage will be recreated
  • Documents will have an ID # or a time/date stamp to help keep track of changes