Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A business Plan is a living document @harvardbiz

Nice article by Amy Gallo in the Harvard Business Review :

People make business plans for all sorts of reasons — to attract funding, evaluate future growth, build partnerships, or guide development. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these plans are usually out of date by the time the printer ink dries. Business moves fast: the product's features morph, new competitors emerge, or the economic climate shifts. When these changes occur, many people just throw their business plans out the window. For a plan to be truly valuable it needs to evolve with your company and stay relevant in the face of uncertainty

Amplify’d from blogs.hbr.org
Principles to Remember
  • Feature your greatest asset prominently

  • Outline how you will test whether you have a valuable product or service

  • Show that you understand the risks and explain how you will address them


  • Try to describe every possible scenario or risk

  • Feel wedded to creating a traditional 40-page Word document

  • Let your plan go untouched once it's finished. Update it regularly

Despite the hype business plans get from corporate advisers, "most business owners don't have a formal business plan," says Patricia Greene, Professor of Entrepreneurship of Babson College and co-editor of The Development of University-based Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. Yet one of the first items you'll find on every entrepreneur's checklist is Write business plan. The key is to create a living document. "When you think about a business plan, think about the distinction between a snapshot and a moving picture," says William Sahlman, the Dimitri V. D'Arbeloff - Class of 1955 Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and author of How to Write a Great Business Plan. Sahlman explains that you need something that moves with your business. However, capturing all of the unknowns while not sounding wishy-washy is challenging. Below are several ways to make sure your plan is a fluid, useful document.Read more at blogs.hbr.org

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