Monday, July 11, 2011

 

Business planning is a discipline, not a document

It's one thing to have a plan. It's another thing to assume you know what you're doing before you do it.

You aren't likely to convince a VC to fork over millions without a written plan. Your investors, your board, your leadership team and your employees need to know where to focus, what markets you're betting on, and what specifically to do next (in a cohesive, coordinated fashion) to grow the business.

But if you've written a business plan, you know it's at best a reflection of a particular moment in time. It's full of untested assumptions and largely precedes the significant execution, learning, adjustments, optimization, failures and new directions every business (new or existing) will go through.

Business planning is extremely important, but it's not a document. It's a process. A discipline. A regular means by which you proactively manage the direction of the business at a strategic and tactical level.

Execution without a plan is just guessing. But spending too much time building a plan and not enough time executing will let competitors and/or the market opportunity pass you by before you even get started.

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