(This is the fifth in a series of posts reviewing the fundamentals of planning, with an eye for how they’re changing over time. Part one was Form Follows Function. Part two was All Business Plans are Wrong. Part three was Cash Not Profits. Part four was Planning as Accountability)
Some of the strongest and most pervasive myths about planning are dead wrong: planning doesn’t reduce flexibility. It builds flexibility.
People say “why would I do a business plan. That just locks me in. It’s a straitjacket.”
And I say: wrong. The dumbest thing in the world is to do something just because it’s in the plan. There is no merit whatsoever in following a plan just for the plan’s sake. You never plan to run yourself into a brick wall over and over.
Instead, understand that the plan relates long term to short term, sales to costs and expenses and cash flow, marketing to sales, and lots of other interdependencies in the business. When things change — and they always do — the plan helps you keep track of what affects what else, so you can adjust accordingly.
It’s not like change undermines planning; actually, planning is the best way to manage change.