In the below referenced article Michael Lazerow suggests for Start-ups…”the most common mistake is to actually write a business plan. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to write a 2-page executive summary and then get to market as soon as possible. Successful entrepreneurs learn from talking to potential clients and partners and employees. They don’t learn by sitting at a desk in their parents’ basement writing a business plan.
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So I guess Michael would be perfectly happy to get on a plane New York to Sydney knowing his pilot has no flight plan and knowing the control tower has no idea where you are going. Get serious.
I agree that “…most first-time entrepreneurs spend months and months thinking about an idea, and many more months writing a business plan.”
That doesn’t mean the idea of a business plan was wrong, it means the process deployed was wrong. As it usually is.
Attention Entrepreneurs: A business plan is the right thing to do. But the process needs to be easy, fast, sustainable and entirely practical.
Lazerow is also right when he says it should only be 2 pages but wrong when he limits it to an Executive Summary. An Executive Summary is used when you need to tell someone else your story. A business plan is for your purposes to keep you radically focused on, and accountable for, the activities that will truly advance your business.
You need; a Vision Statement to tell you where Sydney is and what it looks like, a Mission Statement to set the tone of the flight, Objectives to hold the pilot accountable for results, Strategies for bad weather and contingencies and Action Plans to ensure the flight is continuously improving.
OK I’m taking the New York to Sydney flight analogy a little too far. Nonetheless, these are the elements you need and it can be accomplished in 2 pages if not in a single page business plan. All you have to do is plan on the basis of get it down then get it right. You didn’t know what 2+2 was when you were born so don’t expect to have perfect planning skills your first time out.
Start planning so the learning process can begin. Create it quickly, set milestones, measure your success and adjust on the feedback. Spend 15 minutes every Monday committing time in your calendar to work on Action Plans and an annual plan need never take more then 90 minutes to update.
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