Does your business plan stand out from the crowd

Business plan
Originally uploaded by mindgutter.

We all know that it is important to write a business plan. It helps with bank loans, venture capital and all the financial aspects of your business. But it also helps you think through and plan out the "how" and "why" aspects of your business … a business plan is NOT just the facts and figures — it is also the heart and energy of it.

Guy Kawasaki has some great posts on how to build a business plan and the elements to include in it. BUT it is important to remember that business plans are not archive documents, but living and breathing documents. And the more you work them and work through them, the more you will get out of them. Sound ridiculous?

There are obvious links between business and brand strategic planning. In fact, I believe that the two are inter-twined — and if you put all your focus and effort into the financial side and neglect the marketing, branding and consumer side, then you will end up in serious trouble. But there are serious challenges in bridging the gaps …

On a fundamental level it comes down to language. The accountants will have a certain expectation — they will be listening for key words, turns of phrase, and of course, numbers. The marketers, sitting there in the second row will be sleeping through the numbers, baffled by the taxation implications and benefits of offshoring and perk up only when it comes to brands, reach and above the line ad spend. The thing is, we all want the same thing.

Collaboration is the key … and those clever Decisive Flow folks across the lake have come up with a rather neat new online application. Now your business plan can have multiple authors, different levels of responsibility and a level of cohesiveness that most of us only dream about.

Not only that, with PlanHQ, you can make sure that your business plan is not "just" a strategy, but something that is ACTIONABLE. Will that make you stand out from the crowd?

Now, if only I had a business idea …


3 thoughts on “Does your business plan stand out from the crowd

  1. “…you can make sure that your business plan is not “just” a strategy, but something that is ACTIONABLE. Will that make you stand out from the crowd? …” You stand out from the crowd when your plan is designed for your organisation, and does not just follow fashions in strategy .Another way to achieve this tailored to fit your particular organisation is the best kept secret in the strategic planning game. It is a system that has been around for 40 years, and used by over 2000 organisations of all sizes in all industries worldwide.
    A key contrarian feature of the system is that the first step in any strategic plan should be a definition of the purpose of your organisation and categorically not a Vision or Mission statement as recommended by many strategic planning consultants, and nearly all the textbook templates. Almost all strategic planning processes get bogged down in non strategic detail. This system guides the chief executive and their strategic planning team through the jungle of data in search of what are called “strategic elephants” in this approach. The system then shows the team how to develop a set of strategies and action plans, including business plans for gaining the funds needed to do the job. The key strengths of the system are: simplicity – you do not need an MBA to understand it; it is easy to introduce – you can use internal staff resources; it is inclusive – at set stages you open the process up to key staff; it works – I’ve used the approach for over twenty years, including for the development of IT strategy, and in setting up a high speed network infrastructure authority. Many organisations fail to produce a strategic plan that delivers real growth and prosperity because, they pass the buck by engaging strategic planning consultants to deliver the plan resulting in lack of ownership, they don’t engage key staff in the planning process, they get bogged down in too much detail (can’t see the forest for the trees syndrome). Also the plan sits on the shelf; it is not a working document, because there is no realistic linkage among performance measures, the strategies, and individual manager accountabilities. You find all about it at
    Executive Consultancy Service

  2. Thanks Gavin, you’ve hit the concept bang on. Making and maintaining a plan that drives daily action for he whole team is the only way to keep a plan real, up to date and achieveable.
    Look forward to your feedback on PlanHQ when we start the beta program, Business planning is about to become part of our everyday, and it’s going to be a lot more fun.

  3. “There are obvious links between business and brand strategic planning.”
    I totally agree Gavin.
    We teach clients that “brand is the one thing you know about your company that informs everything you do as a company.”
    PlanHQ looks like a great new tool. Love the concept and look forward to following their progress!
    Too many biz plans “go the way of all flesh” rather than remaining a vital, action directing document.
    You always have such resources and folks to introduce me too!

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