This is a lively and easy-to-listen-to audio piece that covers business planning very well. It’s a discussion between Jim Blasingame, Small Business Advocate, and Kelle Olwyler, author of Paradoxical Thinking. Both of them are right on target about business planning in the real world, for real small businesses.

This is not about the academic formal business plan, but business planning to run businesses.  And, yes, I may very well be influenced by the fact that they’re agreeing with things I’ve written here and elsewhere. And Kelle’s list of myths sounds a lot like one I would have written (obviously because she and Jim are both smart and know what they’re talking about).

Olwyler’s business planning myths:

1. No time to plan:

Jim calls this a prescription to fail. Having no time to plan means failing to run your business well. Planning saves time.

2. Once you have a plan it doesn’t change.

Of course a plan changes, because assumptions change, and reality changes. A plan should be flexible and expect change.

3. The fact that things will change makes planning a waste of time.

This one is very closely related to the first two, of course, but it’s worth setting apart because you hear it voiced in these terms often. “Why bother to plan, since things change?” That of course misunderstands the relationship of planning to change: planning helps manage change. As the pace of change increases, planning becomes more, not less, important.

4. Plans are too big to implement all at once.

Very nicely put, and I have to admit, this is one that I’ve never heard before, and never written about; although it seems obvious as soon as you think of it. Olwyler points out that business plans aren’t implemented as the whole thing all at once; you implement a plan one piece at a time.

Tim BerryTim Berry

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