Category Archives: Project Management

The Startup Business Plan: Charting Your Path to Success without Wasting Time

Treasure Map

Your startup business plan will be like a treasure map to show you and the team the shortest path to the gold while avoiding dangerous traps.

By:  Andrew Johnson, Ph.D.

It might seem trendy to ‘just do it’ but it is pretty difficult to make sure that you are ‘doing’ the right things if little forethought has gone into what is critical for your company’s success.   There are those who propose skipping this step, calling it a waste of time.  The reasons given are that as soon as the plan is ready it is already out of date or “we know what we need to do already”.  Many of these views come about from a misconception of what a business plan really is and what it can do.

A business plan is…
A good business plan gives founders the opportunity to clearly state and communicate their vision of the company with the rest of the team,  investors, key opinion leaders and other VIP’s that are critical to the success of the company.  The founder, his senior team and trusted advisors will be able to use the exercise of preparing a solid business plan to simulate how the proposed company will ultimately achieve success.  Think of it as a dry-run.  Gaps in the business model, feasibility issues with the underlying technology, manufacturing scale-up issues and other key elements that are critical for success will easily be uncovered during this effort.  Since this is essentially a simulation of how you envision things to go, any gaps and pitfalls can be identified early before any time, effort or money is wasted.  In addition to this, the business plan will allow the senior team to get valuable feedback from outside industry experts that will have a direct bearing on the company.

A business plan is not…
Having a clear understanding of what does not constitute a good business plan will not only help you in the preparation of the right plan for your organization but allow you to avoid wasting time.

  • Needed only to attract investors:  Yes, it is true that most investors will insist on reviewing your business plan (often they only read the executive summary) before deciding whether they have any interest in a further relationship (never mind making an investment).  However, the real value here is that you will have a detailed strategy mapped out to guide your progress and even a detailed task list for the team.
  • A long, boring document for ‘business types’:  Nobody wants to read or review anything that is boring or valueless.  If you can cover all of the essentials of your business in 5 pages then that is how long your plan will be.  In fact, it is better to start with a shorter plan in the beginning and then amend it as you make progress and learn more about the things that are most important for your success.
  • A static document:  The preparation of a business plan it not something that you complete and then file away for posterity.  It should be a living document that changes as your company grows and as market conditions that impact it are uncovered.  The key here is that with a good plan in place, you and the team will make conscious decisions to make a change rather than just changing course every time something new comes along.  A business without an ‘Evolving Business Plan’ is doomed to run out of time and money by constantly chasing issues that really should be ignored.
  • Something that can be outsourced:  Some of the hard work here can be defrayed by hiring an experienced consultant.  The founder and the senior leadership team will need to work closely with this ‘hired gun’ to make sure that the final product is a business plan that will drive the success of the company rather than a generic business plan (a true waste of time and money) that has little to do with the particulars of your company.

Spending your time creating the world’s best business plan is a waste of time and money
You don’t need the world’s best business plan.  You need the business plan that will provide you with the details and guidance to chart your company’s path to growth and success.  It should be no longer than that and it need not be fancy looking or printed on heavy bond, acid-free paper.  Spend the quality time you need with your leadership team (and consultant if needed) to draft up the best plan you can in a week or less.  You will need to keep updating it and filling gaps but get at least a reasonable one in place early.  The leadership team will frequently make changes to it as progress is made and new findings are uncovered.  Someone with expertise in creating effective business plans can be a great asset to your team in terms of creating a version of it that will be most appealing to potential investors in your market.

Take Home Points:
You need a right-sized plan to help you avoid wasting time and money and…

  • Avoid creating a great product that does not have a ready market
  • Discover that a huge need in the marketplace does not have a viable business model for growing a profitable company
  • Identify what  the next most important tasks are
  • Reveal underlying risks and opportunities that may not be obvious at first

Resources:

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Distributors Demystified: Use These Insights to Help You Help Them Sell More

business people and world map
Using distributors can be a key part of scaling up your sales reach. Be sure to budget the time and effort to make this tactic work for you.

By: Andrew Johnson, Ph.D.

Working with Distributors can be a great way to expand your sales reach as you grow.  This can be a very effective way to ramp up sales especially when you look to sell internationally.  It is important to have a good understanding of how best to support, motivate and manage your distributors prior to your product launch to make sure that you get the biggest bang for your buck here.

A few myths

  • Hire them and forget them.  Your distributors will require training, sales collateral and on-going support to be successful.  Whether you have a direct sales force or a distributor, they both require the same level of sales and marketing support.   In addition to this, you will likely need to plan on refresher training and customer visits with your distributors over time as there is turnover in their sales team and also to keep them motivated.
  • They will be excited to sell your new innovative product.  The business team that sold you on the contract will be excited about your product and its business potential.  The distributor’s sales team, not so much.  An unfamiliar new product takes time and effort to learn how to sell effectively.  When the distributor’s sales team member has a choice of selling an existing product versus a new one, everything else being equal, they are more likely to focus on what they already have confidence in selling.  Consider offering cash or other incentives for early sales for a period of time.  Once the distributor’s sales team has some success with your product, this challenge will become less of an issue.
  • Distributors will be less work than a direct sales force.  (see the first point in this list)  You will need to plan regular update meetings with your distributors to monitor progress and help them to succeed with your products.  In the early days, you will find that you need to provide more support to your distributor’s sales team as new sales people call with questions or issues.  With a direct sales team, you will not have to constantly deal with the same questions and issues.
  •  If you sign on with a big distributor, you will instantly have hundreds to thousands of sales folks selling your product.  The distributor’s business team will brag about the enormous size of their sales force, in practice the number of sales people that will actually learn and sell you product will be a fraction of that.  If you are lucky, you will have a few talented sales people that will have early success with your product.  They will tell their colleagues about this and interest in selling your product will increase throughout the sales force.  However, you need to make sure that you are not taken in by pronouncements of how ‘thousands will be selling your product every day’ this just is not true.
  • You can count on the experience, reputation and size of a distributor to mitigate some of your sales risk.  You can never outsource risk!  This is as true of sales as it is with any other risks that your business will face.  You will need to work with your distributor to help mitigate the risk of poor sales.  It doesn’t really matter if it is your own sales force or the distributor’s that is not closing sales.  In both cases there is a problem that you will need to address.

The number one thing that you can do to insure a good experience with your distributors is understanding that you will be expending a significant amount of time and effort (especially in the early days of the relationship) helping them to be successful with your product or service.  Whether you have a direct sales force or not, you will still need to plan on producing teaching materials and conducting training sessions so that your distributor’s sales force has a good understanding of your product and confidence to sell it successfully.  You will also need to provide them with a clear point of contact in your company that will handle all questions, concerns and technical issues in a timely manner (recommend that this be the Product Manager not one of your Sales team members).  You will also need to plan to travel with your distributors on a regular basis to insure that you are meeting their customers.  This will allow you to get critical customer feedback as well as motivating the distributor through demonstration of your commitment to support them.  Traveling with your distributors also allows you to further strengthen your connection with them and show them that you are not only actively managing them but are open to helping them be more successful.  In time, a supported distributor will put increasingly more effort into generating the leads and winning the greater numbers of sales that you expect.

Other advantages
Not all products are ideal for distributor based sales.  If your product is truly ‘game changing’ and requires a very technical sale, you will likely be better off with a direct sales force, at least in the early days after your product launch.  Once you have established enough sales with your direct team so that you have a good understanding of your ideal customer demographics, the most successful tactics for discovering and reaching them and the value proposition that has proven to be most effective, you are ready to consider bringing on a distributor to augment your sales efforts. 

There can be many other advantages of brining in a distributor other than expanded sales reach.  Keep the following in mind during your negotiations with prospective distributors.

  • Forward stocking locations:  This can be a particularly valuable asset to have when you start selling overseas.  Having your product warehoused in the same country where it is sold will insure timely delivery to your customers without the unpredictability and delays caused by getting through customs.  Being able to maintain stock at your distributor’s overseas warehouse will also allow you to take advantage of cheaper (and slower) shipping options like having your product delivered to them by ship rather than by air.
  • Shipping and handling services:  Distributors, especially larger ones, will be able to use their size and expertise to significantly reduce the costs of shipping and handling.  Your distributor already has the infrastructure and expertise in place for this, better to take advantage of this in the early days and save your money for other business expansion activities than customer fulfillment.
  • Marketing and Lead Generation Services:  Many distributors have their own Marketing Communications teams.  They can promote your products in their own marketing literature, at tradeshows or generate literature that has been translated for use with international customers.
  • Localized Promotions:  A good distributor knows the regional and cultural cues that will be most effective for your customers in their territories.  Work closely with your distributor to prepare custom promotions that are designed to appeal to their customers.   Discount and loyalty programs that are prepared for local and regional audiences are always more effective than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ global campaign.

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The Life Science Innovators Dilemma: Converting Skeptics to Evangelists

By: Andrew Johnson, Ph.D.

Model holding a light bulb

Investing in the tools and resources that will be required for an effective missionary selling campaign will help your customers see the light!

Having a truly innovative, disruptive technology or service is both a blessing and a burden.  A blessing in that you can ‘own the market’ for a period of time if you successfully launch and grow your business.   (This is the good side of being first to market).  The burden is that achieving a successful launch and growing sales effort will often face entrenched skeptical attitudes and outright hostility from the very people you hope to reach with your new offering (The downside of being first to market).

Why does customer resistance exist with innovative and disruptive offerings?
If you have a truly new offering, much of the resistance can come from a lack of understanding of the positive impact that your products and services will have for them. Some may even feel threatened by the new offering if it would seem to decrease their own power or influence particularly when it allows lower skilled workers to produce equivalent or better results once restricted to this individual by their having a ‘hard won’ skill or talent.  This means that your company will need to expend some time and resources to develop an education component to its Sales & Marketing efforts.  This will help transform skeptical leads into satisfied customers.  This is often referred to as missionary selling (and marketing).

“A missionary type of sales job involves convincing someone who has never used a product to buy it. Selling financial planning or life insurance and other financial products typifies the missionary sales job. The metaphor of a missionary involves educating someone about an idea or concept and convincing them to have faith in that concept.” (Answers.com)

What’s an innovator to do?
The rewards of being first to market with a disruptive technology can be significant in financial terms to say the least.  Being aware of some of the resistance that you might face even early in the game will allow you to craft a launch and Sales & Marketing strategy that will be able to handle the additional education burdens that this opportunity presents.  Eventually the burdens of missionary selling will decrease as your customer base grows and evangelizes your innovation.

Tips for Successful Commercialization of Disruptive Life Science Offerings:

  • Use beta evaluation to refine customer segmentation and value proposition. This is where you will learn who you will initially target and get a heads up on what will be the most compelling value proposition for them. (See ‘Beta Testing Checklist Your Competition Doesn’t Want You to Have’)
  • Prepare a Scientific Road Show to connect with scientists through their research.  You have some great science.  Why not leverage that to connect with other scientists through their research.  The questions and conversations that will come from this effort are invaluable for tweaking your ‘go to market’ strategy (See ‘Taking Your Show on the Road: Using Your Science to Boost Sales’)
  • Create demos that highlight impact rather than features.  Nothing is more powerful than a compelling demo to confront skepticism. (See ‘The Technical Demonstration: 3 Tips to Insure Success’)
  • Use a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) plan to help smooth your launch.  Key Opinion Leaders can be a strong force for reinforcing the value of your innovation to the field.  (See ‘The Key to Key Opinion Leaders’)
  • Invest time and resources to creating scientific content that will be compelling to your future customers.  Consider starting an application focused blog, write white papers and present at industry conferences in the scientific forums. (See ‘Where Does the Science Belong in the Life Science Startup?’)

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Startups: Strategy or Innovation? Three Views

By:  Michael Kaiser

eyeglasses on an eyechart

Having a clear vision and mission for your startup is not enough. Entrepreneurs with an actionable strategy have the best chance of leading their company to success!

Rather than “reinventing the wheel” I chose the
following three options to the question.

VIEW # 1

In a recent article by Ken Favaro, a Senior Partner at Booz and Company, (How Leaders Mistake Execution for Strategy (and Why That Damages Both)) explains that:

“When discussing strategy, executives often invoke some version of a vision, a mission, a purpose, a plan, or a set of goals. I call these “the corporate five” (see exhibit, below). Each is important in driving execution, no doubt, but none should be mistaken for a strategy. The corporate five may help bring your strategy to life, but they do not give you a strategy to begin with.

Before they get to the corporate five, companies need to address five much more fundamental, and difficult, questions. Let’s call them the “the strategic five:

1. What business or businesses should you be in?
2. How do you add value to your businesses?
3. Who are the target customers for your businesses?
4. What are your value propositions to those target customers?
5. What capabilities are essential to adding value to your businesses and differentiating their value propositions?”

Corporate5

Favaro reaches the following conclusion to the above:

“They can’t answer those questions because often they haven’t asked them in a very long time, if at all. Instead, the corporate five have become a mask for strategy. When that happens, the real substance of strategy—making deliberate and decisive choices about where to play and the way to play—is lost. There is no foundation for decision making and resource allocation. Everything becomes important. Indiscriminate cost-cutting and growth become the order of the day and, sooner or later, with no strategy as a guide, a business drifts”

VIEW # 2

By contrast,here is a recent article by Tania Prive in the Forbes Magazine issue of March 29, 2013 with the title “Top 11 reasons startups succeed”. Here are her titles for those 11 reasons

“1) Vision- 2) Speed -3) Budget Masters – 4) Social Skills – 5) Discipline – 6) Determination -7) Ability to adapt to Change – 8) Fundraising Skills – 9) Unwavering belief – 10) Master of time management -11) Execution”

At the end of the article we read that “…successful startups are always looking for opportunities to do something better by thinking outside the box and constantly questioning the status quo”

Both authors make a good case: Favaro, with a more analytical emphasis on established companies and Prive from fundraising and personal abilities needed in order to lead to a successful outcome. This is not a contest between two authors, but rather a choice that is left to the reader to determine if a startup is purely based on innovation, and thus, why and when should it dovetail with strategic concepts that fit more established companies.

VIEW #3

The answer and/or solution to such a conundrum may be found in an article authored by Uzi Shmilovici in Techcrunch (‘Strategy For Startups: The Innovator’s Dilemma’). Here are some excerpts:

“Strategy. Unfortunately, it suffers from a bad reputation among startups. It is associated with consultants who are paid millions of dollars only to come back with a two-by-two matrix of animals. Not that there is anything wrong with it. Some of my best friends are consultants.

However, strategy is crucial for startup success. Startups usually operate in an environment of constrained resources while competing with strong incumbents. Hence, the right strategy can be a matter of life and death…

The first concept we’ll look at is the “Innovator’s dilemma”, a term coined by Clayton Christensen from the HarvardBusinessSchool. The innovator’s dilemma discusses a situation in which there are established incumbents in a specific market who are investing in sustainable innovations — these are incremental improvements to an existing product. Usually, they are doing that to support the incremental needs of their customers

They are then faced with a new entrant to the market that introduces a disruptive innovation. The new entrant attacks only a small part of the incumbents’ business, usually the one in which the margins are very low. At this point, the incumbent decides not to compete in this business anymore because they don’t want to invest in defending their least profitable business and/or are afraid of cannibalizing their main business. As a result, the new entrant is then able to capture a significant market share in that specific segment… it is important to understand the types of disruptive innovation that exist. There are four: a new product, a new technology to produce a product, a new way to distribute a product and a new way to provide services. The entrant can introduce a disruptive innovation along one or more of these dimensions.”

And last but not least:
What do you, the reader/analyst of the above views, believe to be the one that more closely reflects your opinion?

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The 10 Essential Elements of Every Successful Life Science Startup

By:  Andrew Johnson, Ph.D.

keys with a success key fob

Paying attention to these 10 essential elements for a successful startup will greatly increase the prospect that you will get your hands on these keys!

Transforming breakthroughs from the lab into successful companies is a daunting but ultimately rewarding task.  For some, there is no better validation of the quality and value of their scientific discoveries than the kind you get when it generates demand from paying customers.  However, according to Shikhar Ghosh, senior lecturer at the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard University, 75% of startups fail largely because they have neglected one or more of the 10 essential elements of successful startups.1

 

The 10 Essential Elements of a Successful Startup Are:

  1. Compelling Value Proposition: Having a great idea or discovery does not always mean that you have a product or service that will generate the customer demand required to sustain a business.  Having an experienced Board of Advisors can help you figure this puzzle out and will also provide you with the introductions to the industry experts and Key Opinion Leaders you need to feel confident that you have a viable business hypothesis.
  2. Capital:  How much money will you need to keep your operation running until you start to generate revues?  How will you fund the company?  Grants, Foundation money, investments and bootstrapping are just some of the ways that entrepreneurs get the funding they need to get their product or service to market.
  3. Key Resources:  You need key people on your founding team with the technical know-how and business sophistication to shepherd you company from the early days to a real going concern.  In addition to the people, you need to make sure they have access to the resources they require to succeed like adequate lab space, access to equipment, reagents, regulatory guidance etc.
  4. Key Activities:  Seems like an obvious one.  It is critical to develop a detailed roadmap that describes all of the strategies, tactics and activities that need to be successfully completed to reach your ultimate goal for the company.  This plan will include critical milestones along the way so that the team can monitor progress and make course corrections as needed.  Also, this plan will allow you to develop a realistic budget which will help you to mitigate the risk of running out of capital before you have achieved a successful launch.  The best roadmaps break this down to enough detail to guide not only month to month activity but day to day efforts as well.
  5. Cost Structure:  After you have launched your product or service, your focus now shifts towards expanding profitability.  Your Operations team will be looking to reducing the costs of providing your product while your Sales & Marketing team will be executing on tactics that will bring in significantly more leads, and more sales.
  6. Key Partners:  You don’t need to go it alone.  Establishing strategic partnerships can help you expand your market reach when you set up co-marketing agreements and save capital when you share the cost of space, equipment and other resources that you can both profitably share.  Your team will also benefit from the experience and perspective of your partner as your relationship grows stronger.
  7. Customer Segmentation:  This is something that needs to be started way before you are even ready to sell.  It is important to know both who will want to buy your product as well as who will not.  This will not only help you with your marketing efforts but will also insure that you build the right offering.
  8. Demand Creation:  Once you have a good idea who your customers will be, figuring out how to reach them and what message they will find most compelling becomes a lot easier.  Running an effective beta-evaluation with perspective customers will provide you with key insights that will go a long way to insuring that you have a strong product launch and have a Sales & Marketing plan that will quickly scale up to meet the business growth goals you have set for the company.
  9. Sales Channels:  Having a well thought out Channel Management plan will greatly increase the chances that you will have a strong launch.  It is important to know how you will sell to your customers and then develop the resources and team that will allow you to execute this well.  Different channels have different demands and processes.  Be sure to consider whether you will be using a direct sales force, distributors, a combination of the two and how that would work etc.  Don’t’ forget to consider e-commerce!
  10. Revenue Streams:  Another seemingly obvious ‘element’.  Don’t’ forget that you can get revenue for intellectual property that you can monetize through licensing fees if you don’t commercialize it.  Be sure to consider other ‘products’ like extended warranties, service agreements and advanced training offerings for example.   There are many ways to generate revenue besides what you get from sales of your core product or service.
Chart from UpStart presentation

Making sure your Founding Team has the expertise to manage the “10 Essential Elements” is the best way to improve the odds of success for your startup.2

The Secret to Getting this Right
The secret to keeping on top of all these ‘elements of success’ is having a founding team with the depth and breadth of experience and know-how to cover all of these areas.  Each ‘element’ can require very specific skills and tactics.  Furthermore, it is critical that these are customized to fit the particular needs of your company.  The other thing to keep in mind here is that these ‘elements’ are not static in their timing and demands for resources.  Having at least a few team members that have done this before will insure that you get all of this right.  Founders should look to establish a Board of Advisors very early on to help manage all of this and or help you to find these key people for your founding team.

Notes: 

  1. Venture Capital Secret: 3 of 4 Start-Ups Fail
  2. The Life Science Startup: Bringing Innovative Science to Market with the Right Team 

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The Impact of Information Technology on Conflict Resolution

art illustration of boxers on a ring

Successful negotiation is not about beating the other guy, it’s about winning together!

By:  Michael Kaiser

It is an accepted truism that conflict is part and parcel of human nature, and just as is the case with military and diplomatic conflicts, the business community is not free of conflicts both internal and external, some resolved and some not.

Of course the impact that business executives or employees experience when they fail to resolve a conflict with a partner or clients does not compare with the most feared and violent form of conflict: war.

Conflict resolution in the business sphere is complex for the same reason that a diplomatic one is, namely: negotiating an agreement that is acceptable to the disputing parties requires a give and take disposition from both sides.

In the early 1980s Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project released their book “Getting To Yes. Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”. In it, the authors explain that the reason we negotiate is to get better results than the ones we would get without negotiation; they coined the acronym BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) as a standard that should be the measure of negotiations. Some of the key points of the BATNA are summarized as follows:

  • Separate the people from the problem
  • Focus on interests, not positions
  • Establish precise goals at the outset of negotiations
  • Work to create options that will satisfy both parties
  • Negotiate successfully with opponents who are more powerful

The last point merits special attention because it is in line with our IT-intensive society and its impact on the conflict resolution process. For example, consider the perceived advantage of what is known as Information Asymmetry, the Condition:

“… in which at least some relevant information is known to some but not all parties involved. Information asymmetry causes markets to become inefficient, since all the market participants do not have access to the information they need for their decision making processes.”  InvestorWords.com

That perceived advantage is a rather ephemeral one because:

“With increased advancements in technology, asymmetric information has been on the decline as a result of more and more people being able to easily access all types of information. Information Asymmetry can lead to two main problems:

1. Adverse selection- immoral behavior that takes advantage of asymmetric information
before a transaction. For example, a person who is not in optimal health may be more inclined to purchase life insurance than someone who feels fine.

2. Moral Hazard- immoral behavior that takes advantage of asymmetric information after a transaction. For example, if someone has fire insurance they may be more likely to commit arson to reap the benefits of the insurance.”  Investopedia

It can be argued that the easy access of information via the internet, the use of cell phones, e-mail, teleconferencing, etc. has adversely affected the conflict resolution process inasmuch as the more personal face-to-face negotiations of the 1980s have been replaced by a plethora of IT applications.

The BATNA approach is not completely obsolete and can still be of use in some cases where an opposing negotiator makes a final offer to resolve an existing conflict with an unexpected demand based on relevant information (i.e., information asymmetry) only available to him/her. But, surprise, now the other party that may have been perceived as weaker is no longer forced to capitulate on the spot; instead he/she would pick their iPhone, android or iPad, connect with their legal or financial advisors, and regain transaction equality by means of information technology.

A final advisory:  current data mining and acquisition technologies significantly abbreviate and/or accelerate the “Go/No Go” factor in a negotiation process, be that in politics, real estate or the life sciences, but can never replace the instinct and creativity of the human mind.

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Is Planning a Waste of Time? Debunking the Myths, Planning for Success

Plans in wooden house beams

Whether you are building a house or growing your business, having a good plan will keep you on track!

By: Andrew Johnson, Ph.D.

Planning done badly is a horrible waste of time.  However, not having a plan at all is even worse. Many of the following myths have contributed to the bad reputation that planning and effective project management has sometimes unfairly received.

            • “There is no value in planning. I know what needs to be done.”
              -A good plan will help you to identify and mitigate any risks that could cost you serious schedule delays, wasted money and unhappy stakeholders (eg investors, customers, team members).  By setting some time aside to create a plan, you will be forced to critically think about each step of the effort that needs to be completed to successfully achieve your goal.  In the process, you may discover additional needs or risks that may have an impact on your success.  This process allows you to essentially simulate how you would wish things to go before you have committed yourself, the team and your money.
      • “We have already started so it’s too late to start planning now.”
        -In an ideal world, you would first develop the perfect plan and then implement it.  This almost never happens.  Don’t just stop everything to develop your plan.  Take some time and work on this while you continue with your day-to-day activities.  The fact that you have already started will provide you with better insights about what needs to be done, and the true effort and costs that will be incurred
  • “There is no point in planning since there are too many unknowns.”
    -The purpose of a good plan is not to predict the future but to highlight the connections and inter-dependencies between all of the things you need to get done.   If your R&D team encounters some technical issues that you had not foreseen, how will this affect your product launch (ie how long will the delay be?)  Knowing the impact of both lucky breaks and frustrating delays will allow you to make reasonable changes to the plan to mitigate the effects of the unknown.  Letting your customers or investors know about a delay before it happens is much better than missing your deadlines.

Never be late or over budget again!
With a good plan, you will be able to see any missed deadlines or additional costs well before they happen.  As changes to the original plan occur (you should keep updating on a regular basis) you will be able to see any conflicts well before they happen.  This gives you the chance to find other solutions to keep things on track or if this is not possible, to let your stakeholders know about what is coming.  In this way, you can come to a new agreement on the budget and time required to get things done right.  You are not late or over budget, you are in control!

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