You see in lots of places (including later in this book, in Chapter 5) recommended outlines for business plans. With the plan-as-you-go plan, in contrast to the more weighty and ominous outlines, you’re probably going to start simple. For example, see the outline here:

You could jump right now to Chapter 3 to see what I mean by the core strategy, or to Chapter 4 for details about the action plan and financial plan. If you don’t jump, then just take my word for it: these can be very simple pieces. I do recommend that you write them down or record them somehow, but keep it simple. Bullet points are probably enough, maybe some pictures for slides, and even just an elevator speech.

As your business planning evolves, you’ll add pieces to fit the needs. Eventually, when you have a business plan event, you may find it useful to fill in a lot of information intended mainly for outsiders, such as the market analysis, industry analysis, detailed financial analysis, and descriptions of the company, the management team, and so on. But don’t think you don’t have a plan just because you start simply, with what you really need.

Tim BerryTim Berry

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