This is word for word from Susan Schreter’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer column on seattlepi.com. It’s from a question she received:

I’m at the point where I have to decide if I should hire employees or farm out certain work to independent consultants. Also, please don’t ask if I have a business plan because I’d rather spend my time making money than creating documents I don’t have time for.

She gives a good answer.

Yogi Berra once said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

Unfortunately, during the past 15 years or so, business plans have morphed into a marketing tool to raise money. Entrepreneurs just don’t bother to prepare them until a potential grant provider, lender or investor requires the document as part of the selection process. It’s too bad, because useful startup operating plans or business plans are built around a clear understanding of the founder’s desired business destination. And this destination is not vaguely defined as “to make a lot of money” or “to be my own boss.”

Entrepreneurs who say they are overwhelmed by their business rarely have a documented plan in place. Hiring, customer targeting and other important decisions are driven by the needs of the day. It’s what I call the Band-Aid approach to management. It’s patch-driven rather than purpose-driven.

— Tim

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.