The term “business plan” may be used to mean a set of ideas for starting or growing a business or the written document that describes those ideas. The two different meaning can create some confusion. “Do you have a business plan?” may not mean what you think. It is commonly assumed that entrepreneurs start with a fully developed concept and then draft the document. In fact, the writing and planning process are best accomplished interactively. Writing adds effective discipline to the planning process. It is much easier to analyze and critique an idea that you can study. In “best practice” planning, the team meets and discusses a section or two of the plan and then one member drafts each section for the next meeting. At the next meeting the team can evaluate any relationships between those two aspects of the plan. For example, do the financial projections properly reflect the marketing and sales plan? As new sections are written the team can alter sections to work together with the rest of the plan. You cannot do that in your head. Further, a process of outlining, writing and critiquing and rewriting virtually always results in important new business insights. Only a systematic drafting process can vet and augment the original ideas as the team puts them to paper. Interactive plan writing is a valuable tool for sophisticated planners; perhaps the most effective and efficient way to plan.
By David Kaplan - December 19th, 2008 No comments