Why Business Plans Don’t Work For Entrepreneurs

Posted by Harshad

Why Business Plans Don’t Work For Entrepreneurs

Why Business Plans Don’t Work For Entrepreneurs

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Every great entrepreneur is, at heart, a man of action. In his mind, he sees himself to be like Superman or Iron Man, making him pretty blind to your own faults. That’s absolutely necessary. The fact is being an entrepreneur means you need to be a bit crazy. But nobody wants to do business with a crazy person so understandably entrepreneurs tone down their inner superhero to fit in.

Business plans are in place to give investors a sense of security. Hence, they try to test the person they are funding. Creating a business plan is just a test – a flight simulation, if you will. You need to spend some time flying inside the simulator, but don’t get caught up.

Every entrepreneur knows that things will go wrong in real life, and no business plan can save you then. What will save you is your ability to bounce back, adapt and fight. What will save you is being a real-life Iron Man.

But why exactly do these business plans fail? And if you are to make one, what’s the best business plan possible? Let’s have a look.

The map is not the territory

Reading a map and following a business plan are quite similar. Looking at any map, you see the overall direction in which you need to go. The map however won’t show you the people on the street, the traffic lights you need to stop at, or the distractions you need to avoid along the way

It can only show you the different corners you need to take en route to your destination. Sure you need the map – for about 10 seconds. After that, it’s game on, and the actual enviroment will guide you.

Simulation Versus Real Life

What if there’s a crowd somewhere in between you and your destination? You’ll need to jump, dodge, run or slow down, depending on what’s actually in front of you. At some point, you’ll even need to forget the map. Will you stick with the plan and slowly work your way through the mob, or divert and look for a faster alternate route?

This is where you can see the difference between real entrepreneurs and wannabes. And there’s no right or wrong choice either. You’ll have to make that choice on the fly, considering the specific variables presented to you.

Fighting the tide

Going against the tide is how businesses make money. However, making their mark is where the real reward for entrepreneurs is.

Most of the time, that doesn’t go down well with the big VC firms as their priorities are protecting their assets and making a decent yearly profit. Still, if you are an entrepreneur your concern is offering the coolest product possible to as many people as possible. So how do you cope? You ride your own wave.

How to ride your own wave

Sure, you need to catch a good disruptive wave (a rising industry). But that’s as far as your business plan takes you. A quick glance at the map, a sight of a future rising wave and in you go like a brilliant surfer. Don’t second guess yourself either as you lose time.

I’m not saying you should invest heavily in this fashion. Start small, and see if it works. If you invest small, and start on multiple waves, you won’t drown when things go wrong. And eventually you’re bound to hit the Jackpot and make up for all the losses. So when you see a wave that keeps on rising, you focus on that entirely and disregard everything else.

That’s your one and only business plan. The overall goal of finding the right wave, creating the best possible product and bringing it to as many people as possible. All the rest are distractions and unecessary complications.

Just Do It

No real superhero entrepreneur wants to hear about complex forecasts of customer volume according to age groups, and how an increase of 2.5 percent for the marketing budget 3 years from now will convert more young people into buyers. That’s for people concerned about profit.

So if you can, start by not putting yourself through the ordeal of having to construct such estimations. In the words of Sir Richard Branson: “Screw It, Let’s Do It!”

If it’s that simple, why doesn’t everybody do it? Well, it could be the multitude of insecurities and negative beliefs, which I’ll simply sum up as “fear of starting”. That is another reason not everybody is able to create a successful business.

You need to Adapt To Win

Each superhero has their own flaws and weaknesses. Sometimes, the superhero even runs away. He also asks for help. He doesn’t just blindly rely on his superpowers. The lesson here is he doesn’t always stick with the original “business plan” of going in and using his powers to win the fight.

Adaptability is what makes a business work. Pivoting in crucial moments. Anticipating the future and adjusting your course accordingly make for a successful business.

So don’t believe the hype. Trust in Sir Branson. Forget your business plan. Business should be a fun sport. Yes, it can be a contact sport, but will a few bruises even matter when you know you’ll be smiling in the end?


20 Amazing Skyscrapers You Can Actually Visit Soon

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

A way to overcome the ongoing issue of running out of habitable land to develop for the growing numbers of human population is to build up. Building up would mean constructing a concrete city of buildings; the higher they are, the more job opportunities and living space there will be. This is probably why China is builiding many skyscrapers, where a majority of the buildings are amongst the tallest in the world.

Shanghai Tower

In this article, we’ll show you 20 upcoming skyscrapers that you might be able to visit in the years to come. Construction of a number of these skyscrapers have started or are about to start, where some are estimated to be about 1 kilometer high. Here are artist impressions of the skyscrapers for your jaw-dropping pleasure.

Mubarak al-Kabir Tower, Subiya, Kuwait. The Mubarak al-Kabir Tower will be the 1001 m centerpiece of the upcoming City of Silk in Subiya, Kuwait. The entire city will include stadiums, residences, hotels and retail shops that are set to open sometime in 2016. (Image Source: SkyscraperCity)

Mubarak Tower

Sky City, Changsha, Hunan, China. Sky City is estimated to be completed by June 2014. The builders who planned the 838 m skyscraper says that it needs a total of 210 days for it to be fully erected. If it’s on schedule, it’ll be the tallest building in the world, beating the current tallest, Burj Khalifa, by 10 m. (Image Source: Huffington Post)

Sky City

Peruri 88, Jakarta, Indonesia. Jakarta is a crowded city that lacks greenery and living space. With this multi-tiered vertical city, the Peruri 88 will have apartments, hotels, offices, retail outlets, amphitheaters and roof parts that can accomodate sports and recreational activities. (Image Source: MVRDV)

Peruri 88

Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea. The 123-storeys high Lotte World Tower is currently under construction in Seoul and is estimated to be completed in 2015. The 555 m high skyscraper will include offices, retail outlets, a hotel and also an observation deck. (Image Source: SkyscraperCity)

Lotte World Tower

Signature Tower, Jakarta, Indonesia. The Signature Tower set to erect in Jakarta is proposed to begin construction in 2014 and estimated to finish in the year 2020. It’ll be 638 m tall with 111 storeys that will house an obvservatory, luxury hotel and mall as well as offices. (Image Source: SRSSA)

Signature Tower

Zhongguo Zun, Beijing, China. The Zhongguo Zun, or China Zun, is currently under construction and set to complete in 2016. It’s in the running to be the tallest in Beijing at 528 m with 108 storeys, and second tallest in China losing by more than 50 m to the Goldin Finance 117 in Tianjin. (Image Source: SkyscraperPage)

Zhongguo Zun

Abu Dhabi Plaza, Astana, Kazakhstan. The Abu Dhabi Plaza is envisioned to be a mini-town of its own consisting of many towers of different heights; the tallest being 382 m with 88 floors. The entire complex will house 446 apartments, 190 hotel rooms, and 100 serviced apartments over a space of more than 200,000 square meters. (Image Source: Foster + Partners)

Abu Dhabi Plaza

Kingdom Tower, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom Tower is set to erect in Jeddah as the centerpiece of the Kingdom City beside the Red Sea. It’s imagined to be 1000 m tall with 200 floors, 160 of which will be occupiable. Lots of tests are ongoing to ensure that this marvel can be built. (Image Source: Daily Mail)

Kingdom Tower

Ping An Finance Centre, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. The Ping An Finance Centre is currently under consctruction in Shenzhen, China. When it’s set to complete in 2016, it’ll be 115-storeys and 660 m high making it one of China’s tallest building. (Image Source: SkyscraperCenter)

Ping An Finance Centre

Lakhta Center, St. Petersburg, Russia. The Lakhta Center will be the first supertall skyscraper in the city of St. Petersburg upon its planned completion in 2018. It’ll have an educational complex, sports and leisure facilities, an outdoor amphitheater, offices and a hotel. (Image Source: SkyscraperCity)

Lakhta Center

Goldin Finance 117, Tianjin, China. The Goldin Finance Tower is estimated to be completed by 2015 and will stand at a height of 597 m with 117-storeys, the number included in its name. Other than being able to occupy offices, it’ll also have a mall and hotel. (Image Source: Business Insider)

Goldin Finance 117

One World Trade Center, New York, United States. The One World Trade Center is about to open to public sometime in 2014. It’ll be America’s tallest building at 541 m and will include office spaces, an observation deck and luxury restaurants. (Image Source: One WTC)

One World Trade

Wuhan Greenland Center, Wuhan, Hubei, China. The Wuhan Greenland Center is designed to be aerodynamic and harness the strong winds that affect these tall buildings. It’ll gather the wind and air around it to be used as heating or cooling, making it a very green-friendly 606 m skyscraper. (Image Source: Business Insider)

Wuhan Greenland Center

GIFT Diamond Tower, Gandhinagar, India. The Gujarat International Finance Tec, or GIFT Diamond Tower, will erect the central business district of Gujarat, India. It’ll be the centerpiece of the GIFT City that will house offices, schools, homes, hotels, convention centers and retail outlets. (Image Source: SkyscraperCity)

GIFT Diamond Tower

World One, Mumbai, India. The World One tower is currently being built in Mumbai and is set for completion in 2014. It’s a luxurious residential tower that will have 300 high class apartments with a height of 117 m, making it one of the world’s tallest residential tower. (Image Source: The World Towers)

World One

Buenos Aires Forum, Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Buenos Aires Forum is a proposed tower with a spiral-like design that will be the centerpiece of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s imagined to be 1000 m high with an estimated cost of $3.33 billion set to finish by 2016. If completed, it’ll be amongst the tallest skyscrapers in the world. (Image Source: SkyscraperCity)

Buenos Aires Forum

Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China. The ongoing construction of the Shanghai Tower has received a lot of fame recently as 2 Russian daredevils climbed to the very top of the 632 m high tower. It’s set to be open to the public in 2015 and be the tallest building in China as well as second tallest in the world. (Image Source: Forbes)

Shanghai Tower

Abandoned Or Cancelled Skyscrapers

Here are a few towers that are currently abandoned or cancelled due to financial reasons. No one knows if construction will ever continue but most would hope to see many of these beautiful towers come to life.

Pentominium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Pentominium was an ambitious project that halted after 22 floors were built due to budget issues. There are no solid reports saying the 516 m high residential skyscraper will achieve completion to be the second tallest tower in Dubai. (Image Source: Pentominium)


Chicago Spire, Chicago, United States. The Chicago Spire was set to be the second tallest skyscraper in the world at 610 m with 150 floors. However, it was abandoned after only having its foundation work completed, due to financial challenges and the global economic recession in 2008. (Image Source: ArchDaily)

Chicago Spire

Seoul Light DMC Tower, Seoul, South Korea. The Seoul Light Digital Media City Tower was scheduled to be completed by April 2015 but has since been cancelled due to budgetary reasons. If its construction continued, it would have been 640 m tall, the tallest building in Korea. (Image Source: Architecture Scope)

Seoul Light


6 Phrases in Freelance Job Ads That Scream "DON’T APPLY"

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Issa Mirandilla, who writes about freelancing, writing, marketing, careers, personal finance and other business-related topics. Give her a nudge on Twitter or visit her website here.

On a given workday, how many hours do you spend trolling job sites? One? Two? Four? At first glance, those hours don’t seem like a big deal. One hour a day is nothing compared to the usual time it takes you to write, design, program or market, right? Let’s do the math.

Suppose you set aside an hour every weekday combing through the 300+ new jobs on your Odesk or Elance feed. That translates to 20 hours per month (for 20 working days) spent on job hunting alone. That’s a lot of time spent on a task not directly related to your work. And, as you know, time is something you can’t afford to waste as a freelancer.

Luckily, there are ways to cut down your job hunting hours. One of them is to identify jobs you’d probably be better off not applying for in the first place. If you see any of the following phrases on an ad, it’s best to move on to the next one.

"Lowest Bidder Gets the Job"

Translation: The job poster wants to hire the cheapest freelancer, plain and simple.

As a freelancer, you’re a businessperson. You understand the need to keep costs to a minimum, especially in the early stages of your venture. At the same time, you know that it’s suicide not to invest in an essential resource (e.g. a skilled and experienced partner) to propel your business to where you want it to be.

If a potential client seems to care more about saving a few bucks today at the expense of greater value over the long run, you’d be in for a bumpy ride – not just financially – should you agree to work with such a client.

"This is an Easy Job"

Translation: Don’t expect a high rate, because even a blindfolded monkey could do this job.

You know that writing a blog post, designing a website, creating a program, or planning a marketing campaign is far from an easy job. You put in a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to get these projects off the ground, so surely you deserve a commensurate rate for your trouble?

"No Milestones or Upfront Payment"

Translation: I’d love to work with you right now, but I have some reservations.

When a client doesn’t want to talk to you about milestones or upfront payments, it’s usually not a good sign. It could mean that the client previously worked with a freelancer who turned out to be a flake, so he now distrusts freelancers in general.

Maybe he doesn’t have the money to pay you at the moment, but he might pay you in the future (or not). Or, maybe he’s hired more than one freelancer, and is still deciding which one of you is worth it.

In any case, do you really want to work with someone who doesn’t trust you on some level? Good freelancer-client relationships are built on trust, among other things.

"I Will Not Pay Higher Than X Amount"

Translation: I have no room for negotiations, sorry.

It’s one thing for a client to limit his budget to X amount. It’s another to imply that you can’t negotiate a higher rate under any circumstances. If you feel up to it, you can apply for a job like this, as long as you’re prepared to use your most powerful negotiating tactics.

Remember, negotiation isn’t about "one-upping" the other party. It’s about reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.

"Send Me a Free Sample"

Translation: Yay, I have a freebie! Thanks!

Samples show clients that you’re not just putting on airs when you talk about being the "best" in your field. That said, if someone asks you to make a custom sample from scratch, even after seeing your best portfolio pieces, you can bet that person is just looking for free work.


Translation: I’m not that much of a professional.

This is a tricky one to use as a gauge for a client. Some well-written ads have terms that will make any decent freelancer bawl their eyes out (e.g. "I want 8 1000-word articles a day at $1/article"); others demonstrate a less-than-decent command of the language, but if you take quick glance at their "Testimonials" section, the freelancers seem to be satisfied with the clients in question.

Still, if a job poster doesn’t bother to write readable and detailed ads, you have to wonder what else they don’t bother with.


Looking for work is one of the hardest parts of freelancing, so make the most of your job hunting efforts. Try to apply for jobs where your skills, experience, and values are a fit, you can further hone your existing skills, and you can get a portfolio-worthy piece.

Sure, it’s okay to take on less-than-ideal jobs when you need them, but then, why saddle yourself with the added stress?


Find and Install WordPress Plugins through Github

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 10:01 PM PDT

WordPress plugins are “officially” distributed through the WordPress-owned plugin repository. You can search for any kind of plugin to add extra functionalities to your website or blog. But, there are also a number of great plugins that we can find outside that are not hosted in the official repo.

Some plugins can only be found in its developer website, while some can only be found in Github.

Github is like a gold mine for developers. There are a bunch cool projects including WordPress plugins that are hosted in it. But sadly Github does not return quite an accurate result when we search for WordPress plugins. Using keywords like “WordPress Plugins” does not help much either. But here is what you can do with a plugin.

Github Plugin Search

Github Plugin Search is a plugin created by Paul Clark. This plugin, as the name implies, allows you to search and install WordPress plugins from Github. To do the job, this plugin utilizes Github API Search, Plugin File Header and WordPress Installer API.

Once installed, you can search and add new Plugins from Plugins > Add New menu as usual. But as this plugin is still undergoing development, it replaces the Plugins search result entirely with a list of plugins found in Github.

In this example below, I searched for “bootstrap”. And it returns several results.

Word Of Caution

This plugin could be a good alternative source to find WordPress plugins. But there is one important thing to note when you are using it:

Github is not designed specifically to distribute WordPress plugins. Unlike WordPress.org repo, which moderates all the submitted plugins, Github allows anyone to upload and host their project in it without strict screening. This could be taken advantage of by people who upload plugins with malicious codes, which for intance could allow backdoor access to your blog without your permission.

So, while this Github is a great alternate source to find WordPress plugins, you have to be cautious with your choices. Make sure that you know what the plugin and the codes in it do before getting the plugin.

Final Thought

I’m looking forward to the enhancements of this plugin. In the future, the developer, plans to add the capability to let you opt between WordPress.org repo and Github.



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