We all plan! Boy, do we plan! We plan for our vacations, our retirement, and our children’s education. But here is the conundrum for me. Based on my personal experience, I guesstimate that 80% or more of business leaders with less than $5,000,000 in revenue don’t engage in business planning. If the business is a key source of income to fulfill the other three personal plans—vacation, retirement and education—why don’t we plan the very cash flow that delivers those plans, those dreams?  Why do we fail to business plan? It’s really rather odd, isn’t it? In other words, we plan where the cash will be spent for our dream fulfillment but we do not plan where the cash will come from.

I believe there are five reasons business leaders don’t engage in business planning.


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We Don’t Know What a Business Plan is
What is a business plan and why is it important? I’ll suggest that there are even more opinions of what a business plan should, or shouldn’t be. Should it be long or short? Does it include cash flows or not? Does it have a marketing plan? What is a Vision Statement and how does it differ from a Mission Statement and do I really need them? What is a strategy and how do I enunciate it? What is an Executive Summary and who cares? Why do I need a business plan? 

For all the answers you need on what is a business plan click HERE


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Business Planning Takes Too Long
I’ve obviously met many business owners who have tried to complete a business plan. The story they tell me is consistently the same that: Yes, they started a business plan. Yes, it was taking forever. Yes, it was exhausting. And no, it never got finished (AND don’t even get me started on them using the word “try”).

No surprise! They didn’t know what a business plan was, they were following some forty-page template with no instructions, and then five months into the process business was underway and they never got back to it. Besides, by that time, it would have been irrelevant even if they had completed it.

We Don’t Know Who the Plan is for
A typical response I get in casual conversations with business owners is, “James, I don’t need a business plan because I don’t need a loan from the bank!” It reflects the misunderstanding that business owners have of who a business plan is meant for. They believe it is only necessary when looking to get a loan from the bank. You can substitute any other source of financing for the word banker and loan such as: angel investor and capital, partner and capital, government and grant.

Please stop the madness! The business plan is for you, the business leader, to drive the right activities that will increase the probability of your company’s success. When financing is needed, you can adapt your plan to the appropriate audience, which will be much easier to do and be of better quality because your business has already adopted business planning as a management system.

For all the answers you need on business planning click HERE

There is No Process to Sustain Business Planning
A single business plan serves no purpose. It will only reflect a perspective of your business’ opportunities at a single point in time. As soon as one day later it may be out of date if a major event occurs. The power of business planning is in adopting it as a management system into your business.

That sounds like a huge undertaking, doesn’t it? What if I told you that it takes only fifteen minutes a week to sustain business planning indefinitely so that it is always relevant? Then read on as towards the end of this article as I’ll share a brilliant resource to get you started, FOCUS Yourself; A 7-Module Business Planning Program. It works on the simple premise of, ‘Get it Down, then get it Right!. Then as Peter J. Patsula suggests, your business plan will truly provide an “essential focus–a beacon of light in an ocean full of treachery.”

My Business Plan is in My Head!
My favorite response to why business owners don’t have engage in business planning is, “It’s in my head!” What nonsense.

Where would society be today if Leonardo Da Vinci had kept the image of the Mona Lisa in his head, or if Michelangelo had kept all the images now captured on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in his head, or if the forefathers of the United States of America had kept the ideas for creating a country in their heads instead of writing the Declaration of Independence, or if Vic Bloom and Bob Montana had kept the characters and stories of Archie and the gang—in their heads?

The point I make with these four examples, four of hundreds of millions of books, paintings, sculptures and the like is—nothing is real until it is captured into a form that can be shared with others.

Until we understand and can access the source of telepathy, a business plan in the head is simply no plan at all.

Having said that, it isn’t entirely your fault that you don’t have a business plan. Business planning has been BROKEN! It must have been broken because so few of us do it.

For all the answers you need on business planning click HERE


James Burgess, Focus31, CHAOS- FREE Business Planning1. You can find out more about what a Business Plan is and its importance with the international best-selling book CHAOS; How Business Leaders Can Master the Power of Focus. Get your FREE copy HERE

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