Writing a business plan is one of the most difficult and least understood functions of starting a business. This is primarily the fault of the popular writings of business gurus, academics, and pundits who believe that all startups are high-tech businesses that need to seek out venture capital.
Whenever an aspiring entrepreneur asks me about writing a business plan, I tell them to forget it—they don’t need a business plan. Moreover, when I go into a failing business, one of the first things I do is have them shred their business plan.
Before you get all huffy, understand that I don’t consider planning unnecessary—just the formal business plan that is meaningful for about as long as the daily newspaper.
With the business world so enraptured by the “darlings” of high-tech startups that are trying to become the next Facebook or Twitter, or the like, there is little consideration given to the remainder of the over six million new small businesses that will start up this year.
Unfortunately, most of these new businesses will fail because they either ignored, or short-changed the importance of planning.
Just to let you know that the concept of plan-less planning is not my original idea, here is what one of the world’s greatest strategists had to say about plans and planning:
I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. —Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Far too many people get caught up in the “mechanics” of writing a business plan and neglect to do the real planning necessary to make their business successful.
If you are thinking about starting a small business, you may find it beneficial to read the section of my resource website titled Small Business Plan. This information source emphasizes the process of planning, for the simplest smaller small business up to a full-blown formal plan for investors.
If you’re still snickering, you might consider these words:
Plans are made to be tinkered with—and eventually torn up. Blind devotion to any plan is downright dumb. —Tom Peters.
Now it’s your turn—