As you develop your business plan or investor presentation, an effective way to gather team ideas is to hold a one-day workshop. This enables team members to brainstorm together and build the various sections of your business. Holding this session off-site may help the group avoid job-related distractions that might otherwise arise.

Effective brainstorming for your business plan development

Fast Company published an interview with Tom Kelley, General Manager of Ideo Product Development. In it, Kelley describes his company’s structured brainstorming process. We’ve adapted below some of their rules for generating bright new ideas and framed it in relation to developing a business plan or an investor presentation:

  1. Sharpen your focus: The goal of the session is to bring all of the information you have about your company together with your management team in order to produce a compelling business plan. Try to keep the discussion on topic.
  2. Make and follow some brainstorming rules: Appoint a facilitator to clarify and enforce the key brainstorming rules. These rules are:“defer judgment,”“one conversation at a time” and“be visual.”
  3. Be visual: Display information so that everyone can see it. PowerPoint or Word work well to organize the information you have and the key messages you are developing. Before the brainstorming session begins, prepare a chart that shows the headings and sub-sections for each of the business plan sections, and include the key information that you already have. Project this on the wall or print a hard copy. During the session, working as a group, highlight the key strategic messages for each section. This chart will form the core of the business plan or investor presentation.
  4. Be prepared: Prepare for the session ahead of time and make sure your team knows exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
  5. Assign roles: In addition to assigning a facilitator to keep the session on track, designate a team member to record all of the information generated. During the session, this person will document the information for each of the business plan sections.

References

Tischer, L. (2007, December 17). Seven Secrets to Good Brainstorming. Posted at http://www.fastcompany.com/articles/2001/03/kelley.html