MIT - NUTS and bolts of business plans

Part 1: Introduction and Overview of Business Plans

All videos in this course are shared with a creative commons license.  Some of the original lectures have been replaced by new content. The original speakers for these lectures in some sections did not approve of the content being available through a creative commons licenses. These video lectures were replaced by other lectures that were approved under a creative commons licenses and are not the original course lectures but feature similar content.

Speaker:  Joe Hadzima  

Introduction to Business Plans

What is it, why do I need it and what is it used for? Practical do's and don'ts in preparing a Business Plan. Things to keep in mind in writing a Business Plan which will improve your chances of obtaining funding and running a successful business.

 Introduction to Virtual Ink

During this course we will be referring to the Virtual Ink Business Plan as an example. 


 In preparation for the class skim through the Virtual Ink Business Plan. Focus on the Executive Summary and the Table of Contents. This is a real plan submitted in the MIT $50K Competition (now $100K) which resulted in a real business which received substantial funding: 

Session 1, Part 1: Introduction and Overview of Business Plans

Session 1, Part 2: Refining and Presenting Your Venture Idea

Speaker: Stephen Pearse 

Presenting Your Idea

Entrepreneurs are always "selling" their ideas to potential employees, customers, partners and investors. How do you position and present your ideas in the best light? Part of this class will be an interactive session with students and others who are in the process of developing a business plan. 


  The 10–20–30 Rule for Presentations by Guy Kawasaki 

PechaKucha is a presentation style imported from Japan that emphasizes speed and graphics. Speakers display 20 slides and spend 20 seconds on each. Video: Sumeet Madhukar Mohge. "A Pecha Kucha about Pecha Kucha." March 12, 2012. Youtube.

Leigh Buchanan. "How to Add More Pep to Your Presentations." Inc. Magazine.

 Session 1, Part 2: Refining and Presenting Your Venture Idea 

Session 2, Part 1: Marketing and Sales

 Speaker: Bob Jones


Many entrepreneurs, especially technology based entrepreneurs, are accused of being too in love with their technology or concept. They rationalize that if they develop a better mousetrap then the product will sell itself. However, a good technology or product idea is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to establishing and growing a successful business venture. Who will buy the product? How will you reach buyers? How much will they pay?

If you have an idea for a product or service, how do you determine whether there is a market for it? How do you develop a marketing strategy? How do you turn your idea and market research into sales? What do you need to do to convince potential investors that there is a market and that your idea is viable? If you don't have a specific product or service idea but you see a potential need, how do you turn the need into a product or service?

This session will discuss these issues and provide guidance on how to approach the marketing section of your business plan.


Review the Market and Technology sections of the Virtual Ink Plan from Part 1.

Session 2, Part 1: Marketing and Sales

Session 2, Part 2: Business Models

Speaker:  Rich Kivel 

You have identified a market. Now the most important question "How Do You Make Money"? This session will discuss Business Models. What are some common business models and when are they most appropriately used? 


Session 2, Part 2: Business Models

Session 3, Part 1: Financing Sources Panel

Speakers:   Axel Bichara, Amir Nashat and Julianne Zimmerman


You have identified the product / service and the market. You have settled on a business model and have done your financial projections. How will you finance the plan?

This session will cover: Bootstrapping the early stages. Funding from the 3 F's–Friends, Family and Fools. Angels-who are they and what are they looking for? Private placements. Customer financing. Consulting-getting someone else to pay for the development, provide a beta site and endorse your idea. Venture capital. Bank financing.

You will learn about the institutional constraints and needs of various funding sources. As a result you will be in a better position to determine if, when and how to approach these sources for financing.
This part of the program will feature a panel of experts representing different financing sources.



Joe Hadzima. "A Beginner's Guide to Venture Capital" (PPT). How is a Venture Capital Fund structured? How are VCs compensated? What does this mean for you?

Joe Hadzima. Venture Capital Deal Terms (PPT). MIT Enterprise Forum.

Articles from the Boston Business Journal "Starting Up" column:

Excerpts from: Venture Support Systems Project: Report on Angel Investors (PDF), MIT Entrepreneurship Center, 2000. The full report is also available: Full Angel Investor Report (PDF).

 Session 3, Part 1: Financing Sources Panel 

Session 3, Part 2: Financial Projections

Speaker:  Charlie Tillett 

Armed with an understanding of the market for your products how do you figure out what financial resources you will need to bring a product to that market? This portion of the program will introduce some financial projection techniques based on actual business experience. 



  • Review the financial projections in the Virtual Ink plan.
  • Manufacturing and Operations Section of Virtual Ink Plan.
  • Financial Statement in Body of Virtual Ink Plan.
  • Detailed Financial Statements in Appendices of Virtual Ink Plan.
  • Download a copy of the Financial Template (XLS) shown in the lecture

 Session 3, Part 2: Financial Projections 

Session 4, Part 1: Founder's Journey

Note: This section does not have a video lecture.


What road are you embarking upon in starting a company, and what obstacles threaten your success? What else and who else will you need? These are the themes that are explored in course 6.933 "The Founder's Journey."


 Noam Wasserman. "The Founder's Dilemna." February, 2008. Harvard Business Review


Session 4, Part 2: Legal Issues

Speaker:  Joe Hadzima 

 Identifying and dealing with legal issues in the Business Plan. Securities laws and the Business Plan-How to avoid Going to Jail without passing Go and without Collecting $200. Intellectual Property Law-Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks and Tradesecrets. Major hidden tax traps in starting a business-how to avoid generating phantom income and taxes.

General questions and answers on legal issues for the entrepreneur-What you always wanted to know about the law but were afraid to ask / pay for.

Session 4, Part 2: Legal Issue

Session 5, Part 1 Negotiation Skills - No readings

Speaker: Jared Curhan

Life is a series of negotiations. Whether we realize it or not, we negotiate all day, every day. In this interview for the MIT Thought Leader Series, , Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management and Associate Professor of Organization Studies at the Sloan School of Management, sits down with Hal Gregersen, Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center, to discuss the core leadership skill of negotiation. 

Session 5, Part 2 Organizational and People Issues

This Section does not have a speaker

Most ventures which fail do so because of people issues, not technology, market or funding issues. What people are needed to take the Business Plan from paper to reality? How do you identify good team members and avoid problems? Building an External Team and an Internal Team. Developing and implementing a philosophy for the business. 


 7 Keys to Building a Winning Startup Team 

Building Your Dream Team

Session 6 Pitfalls and Plan Execution

Speaker: Hal Gregersen


Your Idea is great. You have good feedback from potential customers. You are convinced that your Strategy is correct. So how come you are having trouble raising money or attracting a team or partners?

Over and over again entrepreneurs make the same mistakes. Experienced investors, partners, and employees are alert for the pitfalls. Session 6 will discuss these pitfalls, how to recognize them, what to do about them, and how to present a business plan case which alleviates or anticipates these concerns.

Hal Gregersen, executive director of the MIT Leadership Center interviews Lior Div, CEO and co-founder of Cyberreason, about the failures and challenges in his life that enabled him to ask better questions. As part of the MIT Leadership Interview Series, Div explains that failure is critical to finding organizational blind spots and opportunities for growth.  

 How Failure Inspired One Entrepreneur to Ask Better Questions