Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes, #10: It’s Not a Hurdle

I’ve decided I need a new top 10 list for business planning mistakes. This isn’t the first I’ve done and I hope not the last either, but it’s a good thing to give these lists a fresh look every so often. And this morning I do a workshop on this topic as part of the Bend Venture Conference in Bend, Oregon; so it seemed like a good time to do it.

I’m doing it like Letterman does, starting with number 10, least important, and counting up to number 1, most important.

No, a business plan isn’t a hurdle you have to get over. That’s just wrong. It’s not a one-time thing. You don’t want to finish your business plan ever. When your business plan is done, your business is done.

A business plan isn’t a thing, like a document, that has lasting value when it’s built. It’s a process. The first plan is the first step in the process. You should review it every month, and revise it as often as your assumptions change.

My first business plan book, written in the late 1990s, carries the title Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning. My bad. Sorry about that. It’s no coincidence that my second one, done two years ago,  is The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan.

I still like that first book, although not as much as the more recent one. But I hate its title.



  • cynthia kocialski says:

    Abolutely. Business plans change and develop over time. Most first-time entrepreneurs find writing their first business plan a daunting hurdle to overcome, but it doesn’t have to be. They just need to think about some basic questions about their business, and then add more information and add more questions as time goes on. People look at books on writing biz plans and procastinate, mostly becuase the books are often written for the MBA student and the exmaple is a biz plan for Walmart, which is way beyonf the scope of a small business on day one. The purpose of a biz plan is to think about where you want to go and how are you going to get there.

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