A Business Plan is not a Magic Wand

WRITTEN BY PATRICIA ZEEGERS

When clients ask me to help them with the challenges they face in their business, they will more often than not hear me say: “Can you show me your business plan?” 

It’s a question that is usually answered more with body language than with words. Hands go up in the air, eyes are rolled, eyebrows are raised and deep sighs are produced. After my silence I get any of the following verbal messages:

  • I don’t have a business plan.
  • I wrote a business plan months, years ago but we don’t use it anymore.
  • I spent months writing that plan and it’s useless.

Many entrepreneurs see business plans as a necessary evil. They have often suffered greatly to produce it, only to store it on a shelve or in a drawer, never to look at it again.
Only rarely do I hear, yes of course we have a plan and we use it as our guideline to build our business.  

I love business plans

Before continuing, let me tell you that I do like business plans. But definitely not all business plans. If I’m to get to the root cause of the challenge you have, I’d like to start by understanding the strategy of your company, but rest assured I do not enjoy spending hours to read an 80 page document, nor does your next potential investor or your employees.

The business plans I love are the plans that facilitate an organization to move forward. A clear and concise document answering the following questions:

  • What are you building?
  • Why does this organization exist?
  • What results will you measure?
  • How will you build this organization?
  • What is the work to be done?

I love the business plans that work like a road map, clearly outlining where you are taking your organization, why and how.

Your work is not done when you have a business plan

A business plan is not going to run your organization for you. Instead, it’s you who makes things happen. It is you who, by going through your business plan, creates a level of focus that helps you become successful. It is you who decides to work only on what matters most and it’s you who takes action to make sure the important things get done.

The anxiety we feel about a business plan is not with the plan itself. The frustration lies in the fact that the information in most business plans is overwhelming and difficult to break down in smaller actionable steps. The real issues arise when it’s time to implement and follow through.

If you feel this is you and would like to learn more about how I can help you develop your road map to building a healthy and thriving business, as well as support you on your journey – let’s connect!

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