Business Plans That Work –One You Can Take to the Jungle
I’ve got nothing against business plans except when they become an excuse for not doing business. I have a problem with innovators and entrepreneurs spending weeks and even months developing an elegant document which ages like bad smelling cheese. The purposes of a business plan is to PLAN and EXECUTE, not impress, and not waste a lot of time.
A Guerrilla innovation business plan is one you can take into the jungle. It’s light weight, it’s simple, and it’s water proof.
The Jungle Plan is for your own use. Do Not show it to investors, but only close-in friendly eyes if necessary. It should be less than 5 pages — how could it really be useful day to day if you’ve written a book? Keeping it short and sweet will aid you in having a really useful plan you can change as needed to guide your evolving efforts.
Know that if the plan is not changing constantly you are either a genius and got it right the first time or you’re not doing it right.
First: Most business plans are full of lies, so the first rule for a Jungle Plan is that it only contains the truth as you know it. It should include things like what you are afraid of (which of course you’d never do in a “real” business plan unless it were couched in all sorts of bullshit language). Include obstacles and things that look like unsolvable problems. Why include fears and these obstacles? How do you confront them if you’re not honest enough with yourself to admit you have them? If you really want the plan to work for you, don’t lie to yourself. Don’t exaggerate. Know what the mountain is you have to climb.
Here’s the outline of a Jungle Business Plan:
1.) An honest description of what your business idea is — if you can’t capture the basic idea in a paragraph, something is wrong.
2.) What the point of difference is — be very clear about this,
3.) How you’re going to sell it,
4.) What’s going to get in your way and how you’re going to break through those barriers (this is where the fears come in),
5.) A one page summary of the financial numbers, and finally,
6.) An action plan that you’ll update daily.
The key is to keep it simple, and in language an 8th grader would understand.
About that action plan. Create an action item list based on your Jungle Plan. What should you be doing to execute? Prioritize the list into A, B, and C categories, with A being the dead essential items and the C’s the less important (for now) items. Work this list like your life depended on it — because it does — and modify it every day. Knock those items off as fast as you can and when you get stuck you’ll need to get creative. I haven’t yet spoken about problem solving in this online “book” — but it’s coming.
Now, can you write a plan based on the outline above in a few hours or less? I think you can if you know what you want to do. And there will be holes, problems, and areas with big fat question marks — and that’s okay, you’ll have some answers to those things as your creativity kicks in.
So what are you waiting for?
For Chapter Three click on this link: http://www.greggfraley.com/blog/2012/07/19/small-biz-creative-problem-solving/
PS: Some people will be horrified if I don’t mention some deeper level resources for business plan writing and development, so okay, here are the best two resources I’m aware of:
http://alexosterwalder.com/ — this is about visual business model development, very interesting way to go about things, very accessible, the man who came up with this is Alex Osterwalder. He calls it a business model canvas and it’s cool.
Guy Kawasaki is the most down to earth of the “experts” at business plan development, his book Reality Check is the one to read if you want to know how to do a classic plan in a creative way.