Why The Business Plan Is Still Useful For Startup Success

Why The Business Plan Is Still Useful For Startup Success

Some define a business plan as a formal document that takes a long time to create and isn’t flexible, doesn’t get reviewed and doesn’t get revised. Then they say a business plan isn’t useful.

That’s sort of like saying getting regular exercise isn’t good for you because some people overdo it and end up with joint damage.

It would be better to advocate a type of business planning that could be called lean business planning. That would mean starting small with a business plan presentation template that summarizes the current strategy, metrics, milestones, tasks and basic responsibilities. You don’t print it, much less edit, polish and publish it. You just use it.

A real business plan should grow organically, just like a lean startup. The process starts with a concrete and specific plan for what’s supposed to happen and continues forever with regular review and revision.

When it’s defined like that, the business plan process fits perfectly with the lean process framework. The lean startup process is a continuous cycle based on three repeating phases: build, measure and learn. Good business planning is a continuous cycle based on three similar repeating phases: plan, review and revise. Everybody in business should have this kind of “lean” business plan.

Even with a lean startup, you constantly need to think through the goals, steps, metrics, tasks and basic numbers. Just as the business is constantly subjected to measurement and learning, the plan is subjected to frequent review and revision, which brings us back to fundamental planning.

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