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Ditch the Business Plan

Last updated May 3, 2012

.... you'll ignore it anyway!

Every business, especially a fast growing business, needs a business plan that works. But is yours a short, to the point plan to get you to your goal or a plan the size of a doorstop, that you only use as a doorstop?

How many man days, consultants, reams of paper (flipcharts and A4), ink, stress and money did you use to generate your very extensive business plan? And when was the last time you reviewed it? If it's more than a few days since you checked the plan you've already ditched it, and I bet that the reasons are:

1. It's too long

2. It’s full of waffle or business speak

3. It's badly written

4. You just don't understand it

5. You don't know what to do first

But the biggest reason it’s languishing in a drawer is that it doesn't say what or how you are going to achieve the plan.

The problem with a plan is that it is just a plan at a single point in time. But it is the starting point. The nature of business means that the plan will have to change because of internal and/or external influences. So, was that planning time wasted? No, absolutely not. What was probably wasted with the numerous drafts that were completed before you got to the perfect document?

Your goals and objectives that you developed  following your market, financial, sales review are valid; you just don't need a 40 page business plan. However, if you are using this plan to raise finance, then you will need more than I am going to suggest here.

So, what do you need?

  1. A one page business plan(that's just one side of A4) that states:
    1. Your reasons for being (the vision)
    2. Your objectives, SMART objectives of course
    3. Your key performance indicators (KPIs)
    4. Target customers, markets and products
  2. A 12/24 month rolling cash flow forecast, including
    1. Sales targets
    2. Sales pipeline
    3. Overheads and expenditure, and don't forget your VAT bill either
  3. An action plan covering who, what, when, where, how, and why.
    1. One for the business, and
    2. One for each department, which is owned by the department head.

Everyone in the business can concentrate on reading just one page, so they will understand how their actions contribute to acheiving the business goal. If everyone does their actions to the best of their ability, on budget and on time, then you will achieve your business goals.

Related Articles: 3 Pieces of Paper

Once this business plan, cash-flow and the action plans are in place it is then much easier to manage the variables, react to change and assess alternatives. An added bonus is that you save lots of paper and ink!

Put your effort into planning and implementing the actions and not into writing War and Peace!

How concise is your business plan?

shirley-mansfield-CoachSME
Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

When you’re ready here are four ways I can help you build your business:

1. Follow me on Twitter / LinkedIn and let me know the business challenges keeping you awake at night that you want to solve. Click here to email. Connect with me, The Business Planning Coach on Facebook and Instagram

I host the Small Business Clinic on Clubhouse every Tuesday & Thursday at 8am. Drop in and ask me & my panel of experts a question.

2. Grab a copy of my book The Grown-Up Business (paperback and Kindle). Get the tools and inspiration you need to go to the next level of wealth.

3. Work with me on your growth business to overcome the blockages, hurdles & problems that are holding you back. Join the community, email me with Let’s Get Started in the subject line or book a 30 Discovery Meeting using Calendly

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