A friend of mine was helping me just now prepare for a webinar. “So part of the presentation is a few business plans you like. OK, how would you summarize this? I mean, is there one central point that they all have in common?”
“No,” I told him. “It depends on the business. If you’re a solar or wind farm, you need to be able to sell the power, preferably with a power-purchase agreement that’s already in place. If you’re a biomass project, you need take-off contracts as well, but more important is an ironclad source of feedstock. If you’re an EV manufacturer, you need a boutique market niche that won’t generate competition from the big boys. There are tons of different business types, each with its own requirements.”
“Come on, Craig; think about it,” he implored. “There must be some common denominator to the dozen-or-so plans that turn you on, versus the several hundred that leave you cold.”
“Ah, we’ll here’s something I can say. Some people say they just want to hit singles: nothing transformative or disruptive. But the problem is that this simply doesn’t work today like it did a few decades ago. You think you’re going to raise money to build a business that does something marginally faster, better, or cheaper? That may be OK if you’re a local dry-cleaner or pizzeria. But in cleantech, forget it. The whole world’s doing that every day – whether you’re there or not. Me-too technology companies were always a snooze. Now they’re a disaster.”
“And how would you say that in a sentence?” he asked.
”I would put it like this: If you don’t have a really good idea, you have a bad idea.”