We are having our home’s old bathroom remodeled. We were at the plumbing supply business with our general contractor, looking over and choosing our fixtures and accouterments.

When we got to the toilet paper holder I commented on the infamous, incomprehensible, inability of guys to replace the empty TP core with a new full roll. After all, the spindle is pretty simple. A two-piece nested-sleeve, telescoping cylinder with an internal reciprocating spring. Just like a basic shock absorber on a car or truck or mountain bike!

Now, one of the characteristics of higher cognitive function is the ability to deduce a general principle from a specific instance and then apply that general principle to new situations. Since almost every guy I’ve ever met knows about shock absorbers, I just don’t understand how they seem incapable of applying that understanding to the daily encounter with the mysterious, inscrutable TP holder.

I suggested that we should make this similarity apparent to all men. My contractor threw up his hands in mock horror. “You can’t do that! You’d put the shock absorber industry out of business and we’d all be driving bouncing, banging cars on a real bumpy ride.”

Now, humor aside, I suggest that your business plan is the shock absorber for your business. Build it, develop it, and every single month review your plan to see if what you thought would happen actually occurred. Use your plan to continue your planning as you go along every month, adjusting your business’ goals and outlooks to your real world experience. Use your plan to develop “what-if” scenarios, from newly paved to detours, and that living plan becomes a shock absorber, cushioning your business as it dips into the potholes, encounters the unexpected obstacles, and dodges the roadkill of daily operations.

In today’s economy your business plan must become an integral part of your company’s suspension and running gear. Don’t become one of the wrecks of businesses littering the shoulders of the highway of commerce. Plan now or you’ll be shocked by the bumpy ride.

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