My tea compotation, remember my last blog, brought some new perspectives by the end we finished our umpteen cups of tea. A sharp turn and we found ourselves discussing about the ubiquitous, contentious in some case, business plan. One school of thought, contrary to others, among us stressed on the non-importance of the business plan. The example cited was about the tea stall and its owner.
And the question raised was, “Do you think these tea stall owners have anything like a business plan document? Yet they are doing fine.
I agree to the fact, and my friends opinion, that the question is correct, only to further add that this has more to do with his understanding of the business plan. This is not about a 30, 50 or a 100 pages document or anything with a cover page titled “Business Plan” but more about the mindset, understanding and definition of the plan. Without making it more complicated for my friend, i simply took him to the tea vendor and requested him to ask the questions relevant to business planning and his business. He was amazed to hear the dexterity with which the stall owner answered his queries and prognosticated everything. A business plan was always with the stall owner, though not in a written format. I said, he doesn’t require one as his business isn’t that complicated and that he’s learnt everything the hardest way, by being the part of the action.
The next question was quite expected. What is required to build a killer business plan? I said, killer!!!, Do you want to kill your business or what? It’s time you come out of all those myths and realise what actually is a business plan, no killer or flamboyant or stylist, and its purpose?
- The first myth is that it’s a template or software based document wherein one size fits all is applicable. No, never. First of all list down your top three objectives for developing a business plan and then decide what should go as a content rather than going with the “run-of-the-mill” templates.
The second myth revolves around the number of pages or thickness of the plan. Often, people come to me and say i need a 30, 50 or may be 100 pages business plan. Why dude? Do you want a business plan or an encyclopedia full of scraps. K.I.S.S (Keep it Short and Simple) and try to keep it as focused and as limited in number of pages as possible. Much better if you can present everything on a napkin.
The purpose of the business plan is to raise investment. Not really, you need an investment plan for raising one and not a business plan. Just imagine the agony of an investor, who reads so many of them in day, if he’s presented with all 100 pages long business plan. He’s exit your business plan before even reaching up to the exit plan section within the same. And believe me, i’ve worked with plethora of clients and maintaining cent percent record of getting an investment raised, you would get only one chance to make an impression and build the momentum. A business plan is your organization’s road-map. Road map for planning, strategizing, implementing and monitoring.
It’s my business and i know everything. No chum, you don’t. What you think as a holistic business knowledge is simply your infatuation. Even Titanic sank, that too on its maiden voyage, and likewise you too need to accept that it isn’t possible for anyone to know everything of anything. What would your prefer, to just drive in a new territory, given you’re a good driver, or having a GPRS inside your vehicle? Yes, it does make a difference or will make a difference somewhere en-route.
Getting a business plan written would require me to disclose my idea and someone could steal it. Absolutely not, my dear friend, it’s not that easy to just steal an idea and make it a success. If it’s your idea then no one can much better understanding about its inbuilt skeleton than you. You can hijack a flight or even get one built, but you can’t take it anywhere without a pilot. The same applies to your business as well, you’re the pilot with a license to fly and not anyone else.
The focus of the business plan should always be external i.e. stakeholders, financials etc or vice verse. No sir, please lend me your ear, i’d beg to differ. A business plan could be internally, externally, or both focused depending upon your business objective. The external part focuses on the financial success and the internal part focus on non-financial success of an organization. And again don’t get this confused with a strategic plan. That’s all together a different ballgame.
I have got a rock star product and i don’t need a business plan to make it success. If i build it, they will come. Remember, nothing kills a better product faster than a bad marketing. You always need a business plan surrounding that product or idea. Again, you need to get your focus right. Understand that a business plan’s objective, if nothing more, should be to set the destination first and then decide the interim milestones that will lead you to the desired place. Business plan must also analyze the validity of your planned destination and interim milestones. Now, you got the point.
There are so many points waving their hands to get mentioned here, but time is limited. May be, i’d keep adding to this in my subsequent blogs. Meanwhile, if you have any query regarding your business planning activity, feel free to contact us. And remember, your business isn’t as easy as running a tea stall and one way or another you too would require a business plan. Thank You.