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Chapter 1: It's About Results - Page 1.4

No Time to Plan? A Common Misconception

"Not enough time for a plan," business people say. "I can't plan. I'm too busy getting things done."

Too many businesses make business plans only when they have to. Unless a bank or investors want to look at a business plan, there isn't likely to be a plan written. The busier you are, the more you need to plan. If you are always putting out fires, you should build fire breaks or a sprinkler system. You can lose the whole forest for paying too much attention to the individual trees.

A good planning process should save time, day by day, month to month. It helps keeps businesses focused on what's most important. Maintaining priorities is efficient.

Review your plan vs. actual results regularly to save time by avoiding mistakes, maintaining progress towards goals, identifying problem areas, and watching the business for areas which need attention.

Keys to Building Better Plans

  • Use a business plan to set concrete goals, responsibilities, and deadlines to guide your business.
  • A good business plan assigns tasks to people or departments and sets milestones and deadlines for tracking implementation.
  • A practical business plan includes ten parts implementation for every one part strategy.
  • As part of the implementation of a business plan, it should provide a forum for regular review and course corrections.
  • Good business plans are practical.

Business Plan "Don'ts"

  • Don't use a business plan simply to show how much you know about your business.
  • Nobody reads a long-winded business plan: not bankers, not bosses, not venture capitalists. Years ago, people were favorably impressed by long plans. Today, nobody is interested in a business plan more than 50 pages long.


Copyright © Timothy J. Berry, 2006. All rights reserved.