Business plan competitions vs Reality

We had a great business idea. It ticked all the boxes. There was a huge addressable market, it could scale, there was differentiation, there was unique and protectable IP, and it had social impact. We were encouraged to enter a $100K business plan competition. It took our team of four over 20 hours to prepare the business plan and practice for the event.

We did not win but our idea was well-received and we were told we should enter more competitions. We did this and invested another 40-50 hours. We did manage to win $5000. But we had invested over 100 hours!!!!

Suddenly it was graduation and we started asking ourselves the questions we had kept putting off: Were we really going to start a business? Who was ready to move to the low-income country where our business was located? 

It dawned on all of us that we had spent so many hours entering competitions that we had not really thought about the business itself and how to run it. We looked back over all the business plans that we had written and noticed that we had changed the strategy/objectives each time to meet the criteria for entering and winning that particular competition. We knew a lot about writing plans. We knew a lot less about actually starting our business and running it. We also discovered that only one of us was actually prepared to move to the low-income country where our business is located.