The plan-as-you-go business plan has several important advantages over the old-fashioned, formal business plan document, often seen as a hurdle. For example:

  • It gets results. It helps you manage your business. It optimizes your efforts. You start simply with what you need and only what you need, and you grow your plan as you grow your company. When there’s need for more — like more formalized descriptions for outsiders, or proof of concept or market for outsiders, or description of the management team for outsiders, then you create it.
  • It’s faster and easier. Call it right-sized business planning. Start anywhere, get going. Maybe in the beginning it’s just a sales forecast, or an expense budget; maybe it’s the sense of core strategy. You do what you need first and grow it organically.
  • It manages change better than the normal business plan. This approach pulls assumptions to the top,  where they are visible. It recognizes that change is constant. It focuses on the management process that absorbs change without losing the proactive management that takes change to heart.
  • It’s more realistic. Today’s world requires flexible planning that builds on actual needs and uses, rather than a recipe or list of components.
  • It’s within your ability and grasp. You don’t need a consultant. It’s a matter of laying down the basics, like tracks, and then following them. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be formally written, it doesn’t have to have a specific list of components or recipe. It’s about what works.
  • It’s just plain the right way to do it. I’m sorry, I know that seems arrogant, but I’ve been in the business of business planning for 30 years now. I’ve seen successes and failures, and I’ve seen what works.
Tim BerryTim Berry

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