Is the Business Plan Dead? Think again.
We keep hearing that the the business plan is dead. We have moved to business model canvasses, pitch deck and other tools. Try telling this to a banker! For the majority of businesses who are looking for financing, a business plan is still a relevant document. Even if you are doing a pitchdeck, business model canvas or other tools of the trade, the act of planning is crucial to the success of the business. For any business you must know your market, you must know your costs, and operational details. Without these, your business has almost zero chance of survival. We also have to remember that many of these other business tools are crafted for industries where the industry and technology change daily. This really is not the case for 80%+ of businesses out there.
The reality of our situation is that if you are running a restaurant, salon or are a solopreneur, your business will NOT change that much day to day. You are still in the industry of serving people. Customers have to come first. The technology you use can change, but it is not the service you are delivering. This is why banks, and many financiers still want a business plan. They want you to go though the actions of planning out your business, think of the different situations you will encounter, and how you as an owner will deal with the events. In essence, you are asking them for their money, so how will you guarantee that you are keeping it safe. How will you plan to pay it back and how will you ensure the long-term survival of your venture?
Nobody, even most advisors, really like business planning. What we like is people. We want to see those who we work with succeed. It makes us feel good inside. We see the added value of our work and line of service. It gives us credibility and helps to grow our client base.
So is a business plan something you do only once to get your funding? For some entrepreneurs, yes. They do their plan, get their money and run their mom and pop operation. Increasingly however, in today’s fast changing business environment, many people find it helpful to do a plan review once a year to help keep them on track.
Why Employ a Consultant? Isn’t it cheaper to do it myself?
The answer is yes, but a consultant can be objective. We also work across a lot of different industries, and can offer insight that we see across multiple sectors. I cannot tell you the multitude of times that I was able to offer clients insight based on a technology, tool or other trend I saw from my experience in working across multiple industries. The truth is, when you plan businesses for a living, you learn a lot about many different industries. You’d be surprised the value a good consultant can bring.