Business Plan Expert Advice

The Challenge: Turn your idea into reality
Creating and developing a successful business plan is a very daunting task, and it can be impossible to even imagine that there could ever be a light at the end of the tunnel. However, some of the greatest innovations have come from people who made it through the same grueling process. As my graduation quickly approaches, I have to finalize a business plan I have been working on through the course of my program. I am developing a sports TV broadcast company that airs Jacksonville, FL high school and college sports. Initially, I thought creating a business unlike any other in the area would lend support to my success, but I have been hit with the harsh reality that pioneering into unexplored realms only makes starting a business that much harder! While I continue to push forward towards finishing my plan, I researched advice from leading business pioneers Ted Turner and Mark Cuban. Although they both achieved success on a much bigger scale, one cannot overlook that they, too, went through the overwhelming task of laying the groundwork for their businesses.

Ted Turner

He began his venture into business at 24 years old after his father committed suicide, which forced him to take over his father's billboard advertising company. Turner turned the company into a global enterprise. With the company's growing success, he sought other opportunities and eventually began his venture into TV broadcasting by purchasing a defunct TV station in Atlanta. In 1980, Turner established the first 24-hour new channel, Cable News Network (CNN), which launched his media empire.

Turner's advice

Create a distinctive plan: While this is much easier said than done, Turner advises that competition makes it that much harder to stand out. Turner concisely states:

Let's face it: 90 percent of all new businesses fail, so the odds are way against you to really break through, you have to come up with some kind of plan that's a little bit distinctive and hopefully a little bit different than what your competitors are doing — if there are competitors; usually there are
(O'Hara, 2011).

When Turner began developing CNN, he initially stopped himself from moving forward because a 24-hour news channel was a seemingly crazy idea. However, his distinct idea revolutionized how we consume news.

Move fast: Turner explains that once your competitors are alerted to your distinct business, they will quickly move to take that idea and make it their own. When he announced the establishment of CNN, he moved fast to ensure the big three (ABC, NBC, and CBS) did not have the chance to take his idea because they already had the necessary resources at their fingertips. He explains that once you have done all the work to establish your business, you do not want to just hand it over to your competitor. 

Mark Cuban

He entered the business world at 12, when he started selling garbage bags to earn money for a pair of basketball shoes. Cuban gained mainstream recognition as the loud-mouth owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. However, it was his early business successes that gave him the financial support to purchase the team. Cuban sold his first company, MicroSolutions-a systems integrator and software reseller-to CompuServe for $6 million. Then Cuban co-founded Audionet, later called, a web radio company that grew to over 300 employees in less than 5 years. In 1999, Yahoo bought for $5.9 billion.

Cuban's Advice

Find your weaknesses before competitors do: Building off Turner's advice, Cuban explains:

"It's not enough to bring your business idea to have to be steps ahead of the competitors who are trying to take your market share" (Fell, 2011).

He emphasizes the need to stay alert and prepare for every situation because once you become complacent, you create the opportunity for your competitors to take advantage. Turner explained how important it is to be the first one out of the gate, but Cuban points out it is not merely a race but a marathon and the moment you slow down, your competitors will run right past you.

Asay, M. (2009, March 28). Mark cuban: open-source your venture funding [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Fell, J. (2011, March 15). Mark cuban: three tips for startups. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from

Media mogul ted turner addresses graduates on johns island. (2010, May 22). Retrieved from

O'Hara, K. J. (2011). True grit how ted turner succeeds in business. Smart Business Atlanta, 8(8), 14-19. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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