Rule 2. Present Tense


Speak in the present tense, not future tense.  If you have started your business planning process, then you are running your company.  If you are working on your prototype, then you are in development.

Too often, entrepreneurs talk about what “will be included” or what services “will be offered” or include phrases like “when we start selling”.  These leaps into the future too often have the opposite effect from what the entrepreneur expects.

They speak in the future tense to be truthful of the state of their business and/or product.  They believe being truthful will help in talking to potential team members, advisors, clients and investors.  The actual truth is that all the talk of the future makes their ideas seem immature, undeveloped, and not ready for further consideration.

To avoid this issue, speak in the present tense.

Do not, however, lose the truth.  Do not go all the way to the past tense.  If your product is under development, you can say it is “in development”, but do not say it “is developed”.

If you are working on  your business plan, then say you “are launching” your company, but hold back saying you “have launched” until you have incorporated, set up your website, and are out talking to potential customers.

With this rule, future tense is still useful, but limited to when you are talking about your financial forecasts and your product roadmap.


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