Whether you are a brand-new business, you’re in a growth stage and looking for venture capital or you want to launch a new product within an established business, you probably learned long ago that the first step is the creation of a business plan. But is that really the best use of your time? According to Gregg Scoresby, CEO of CampusLogic, in his recent Pragmatic Live webinar, if you’re thinking of the traditional,100-page missive, probably not. Here’s why you need to step away from the keyboard and stop writing that business plan.
No One’s Going to Read It Anyway
There’s no doubt that we live in a “Twitter society,” one in which anything beyond 140 characters doesn’t get read. Psychology Today says that “consumers are 39 percent more likely to share content if it’s delivered via video, 36 percent more likely to comment and 56 percent more likely to give that video a coveted ‘like.’” So knowing that, why would you waste time and money on a 30- to 50-page missive (the length suggested by the Small Business Administration. It comes down to this: Investors back people not plans.
Plans Change Constantly
Life is an up-and-down journey, as is running a business and launching new products. You might have a great plan, but what happens when things don’t follow as you expect them to? Even the best-written business plans are prone to fail when a monkey wrench is thrown in the way. Let’s say you do spend time on writing a business plan; you are still going to need to update it regularly. Nothing is static, and the plan for your business or product launch will change as well. According to Entrepreneur, your plan should be updated constantly. You have a series of problems that you’re trying to solve in your business, and if you’re updating your business plan consistently, you might miss the opportunities inherent in solving those problems.
Just Keep Swimming …
You’ve certainly heard that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”—and that can most definitely be true. But if you’re constantly planning and not making any forward motion, you’ll get nowhere. Business success is reliant on the fact that you keep moving. You need momentum in your business. There’s a reason Dory chants, “Just keep swimming …” in Finding Nemo: She knows that forward momentum gets you somewhere. She didn’t stop to figure out which way to go and how to get where she was going; she just kept moving. That’s the attitude you need to take with your business and product development: Keep building momentum.
When Opportunity Knocks, Will You Let It In?
It’s hard to be open to the opportunity when you aren’t even listening for the knock on the door. There are a lot of people out there trying to solve the same problems as you, and speed is one of the keys to success. If you’re busily writing and rewriting your business plan, you’re not moving forward (there’s that momentum thing again), and that great opportunity will pass you by as someone else capitalizes on it.
It’s All Made Up Anyway
Let’s face it: Your business plan is conjecture. You’re guessing at what’s going to happen because you’ve never done this before. You can’t guarantee any aspect of your business plan. What’s more, there’s no correlation between business plans and business viability. Your business plan is a hypothesis, a theory on what you believe will happen. While you can work with researchers and make some truly educated guesses, at the end of the day, they are still guesses. You have to test that theory in the running of your business or the development of your product, and if you don’t get started, you’ll never know what will happen.
Plan, but Plan Wisely
Certainly, if you’re looking to launch either a full-fledged business or a product plan within an organization, you need to do some legwork. You should know if the market is ready for your product, and you’ll need some inclination as to cost and viability. But don’t get bogged down in the minutiae and get stuck planning instead of doing. Create a quick and dirty business plan, skip that 50-page book and get moving.
Learn more about why your business plan is a waste of time and how to spark interest in a startup or product development by listening to Gregg Scoresby’s complete webinar at http://pragmaticmarketing.com/resources/Why-Your-Business-Plan-Is-A-Waste-Of-Time.