Are Business Plans a Waste of Time?

As a business advisor it may seem strange that I should ask that question at all.  Don’t all advisors/mentors/coaches stress the need to have a business plan and say things like, “fail to plan is a plan to fail”? 

In my opinion it comes down to the type of business plan that is produced and the length of time it takes to produce it.  Many business plans ARE a waste of time because they are too wordy, too “corporate”, don’t motivate staff and are not connected to the day-to-day operations of the business.  I read an article recently on writing a business plan (unfortunately I can’t remember where) and it said that a business plan could take between 400 and 500 hours to produce.  ARE YOU KIDDING!  Who in small business ownership world has a spare 500 hours to produce a business plan, and probably one that no one will look at again for another year! That would be a huge waste of time.

What is of real value is the planning PROCESS involved in putting a business plan together. Here’s how….

future business paths

Take Control of Your Future

As you get back into work post lockdown and focus on catching up lost ground, I would encourage you not to just go back to the day-to-day mentality and assume that things will continue as they currently are. With a potentially severe recession ahead, just continuing to do the types of things you have been doing around business strategy could mean you become dragged down by the negative market forces.

In the chart above there are generally three future scenarios that could play out for you, determined largely by the type of actions that you take now and over the next few months. I have put down a future time line to measure possible results of 18 months. It’s a bit arbitrary on my part and you may feel the measuring post should sit at 12 months, or something else. In the end it’s not critical where we put the line; what is important is to look at the pathway towards it and which one do you want to be on.

The Discipline of Market Leaders

No company can simultaneously excel at delivering market leading performance in all three value disciplines. This is because each disciplines requires completely different operating processes, different ways of thinking and behaving. When a company choses one ‘lead’ discipline to excel in they are placed to become market leaders.

Conversely, when a company attempts to excel in all three disciplines they become, at best, mediocre at all and will oscillate in the market. Which market discipline is the right one for your company?

Innovate to Succeed

AI is the new industrial revolution and unlike the linear change in the market during the industrial revolution, the AI revolution is causing change at an exponential rate.  Those businesses who embrace this change will be far better off than those who are a bit late to adopt this innovation mindset. Possibly those that do not make innovation as part of their core strategy will not survive.

Thinking of Starting a Business?

If you are thinking of moving from working for someone else and starting your own business, I suggest you use this outline to plan your new venture. You might just avoid the pitfalls that many new business owners fall into. When you are ready to take the plunge, you might want to sign up for my Trades Coach Academy, online course for newer business owners. It’s packed with ideas, systems, tools and templates to help make your new business a success.

Does your business serve you?

Last week I ran a planning and goal setting workshop for clients and other contacts on my database. This time of year is traditionally the time where we as business owners take stock of recent results and direction, and think about what the coming year could look like. At least many do and I hope you are one of them.
So, does your business serve you and your life, or are you more of a slave to the business and you get what energy (and money) is left over?