Planning, Startups, Stories

Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

What You Think You Know About Business Planning Can Hurt Your Business

(Note: I posted this yesterday as a guest post on Howard Lewinter’s Talk Business With Howard blog, part of getting ready for a radio chat with Howard on Blogtalkradio tomorrow morning. It starts at 8 am Pacific time. Please click here to listen or get more info on that.)

Is this you? When asked if you have a business plan, would you scoff slightly, roll your eyes maybe a bit, and dismiss the idea as something only startups do. Would you say “we’re not a startup,” or maybe, “we’re not seeking investment,” as if this makes it obvious that you don’t have a business plan.

If so, you’re not alone. And I say, emphatically in fact, that it’s a damn shame you’re not using planning, and planning process, to manage better. The myth of the business plan gets in the way of the benefits of real business planning.

What’s the myth? You already guessed it. They think of a business plan as a document, done once, surmounted like a hurdle, that some business need to produce to get a loan or get investment. They say it’s for startups. It’s hard to do. It’s about the text, and the editing, and the formatting. And nobody really uses it. And they think that rapid pace of change negates the value of planning.

And that myth gets in the way of the real benefits of business planning done right. By which I mean:

Myths are fine as stories that stand for something, windows into reality. Myths are bad when they interfere with optimizing your business.

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  • Ruth VanHorn

    Thank you…I see now, thanks for yelling me about it not being a document. It’s like a work in progress, always changing to fit the present.

  • J.R. Thiel

    I think it’s all crap because the banks will NOT loan anyone anything unless you don’t need it. The business plan is great for securing local (as in, county government) funds, but banks don’t give a crap about a good business plan. I have a GREAT plan, existing business, NO GO. Economic development thought it was THE BEST plan they had seen come across their desk… the BANKS tore it up, said it was crap… even my existing customers! That’s right, banks that were currently my own customers wouldn’t go for it. Great plan, great business, great customers ( ZERO accounts receivable)… NOT good enough. Thing is, IF THEY can’t make a load of cash off of you, you are NOT going to get the loan. Plain & simple… business plan won’t be worth squat. Sorry, but it’s the hard facts. The software I bought from this man isn’t worth the free magazines I got from buying it. At least I have some reading material, I guess. Wasted money… not with the times.

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