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 …