Write your business plan in pencil! Bob Reiss’s suggestion is a solace as well as a practical reminder of the nature of planning in a disruptive, ever changing world. Just taking a few minutes think about the business categories of strategic, tactical and operational is useful when considering what business planning is meant to do, help you enter the competitive business world with competitive knowledge, numbers and vision so that you are set-up for success.
In my case, I used a sheet of flipchart paper to list three major categories. Then do a quick brainstorm to list all your present business work via post-it notes, or use a spreadsheet. It is then easy to review your activities by grouping them in categories or simply the use the big three: strategic, tactical and operational.
A Vision Board is inspirational approach that has many devotees as well. Combining the two techniques may be a catalyst for infusing new energy into your work.
Vision boards are a modern manifestation tool combining concepts taken from creative hobbies like scrap booking with motivational mind-mapping techniques and brand development methods used by marketers.
A vision board is quite literally a collage of pictures, phrases, poems and quotes that visually represent what you would like to experience more of in your life. For example; if you want more clients – a vision board can help you turn into a “client magnet” or if you are looking for a relationship – a vision board will help attract your perfect mate.
And its not just Hollywood celebrities that use them. Olympic athletes, television personalities, politicians and top motivational speakers have all started to share how vision boards help sustain their success.
My next business plan was kicked off via joint planning with a strategic partner using a vision board. Both approaches are useful to review for the eventual operating agreements needed in writing. Also, doing a Vision Board is FUN!
Whatever method, it’s written in pencil, or on movable sticky notes, not in cement. It can be easily changed, updated and made new.
The smartest entrepreneurs plan on growing and are prepared for change. — Bob Reiss
…My advice is this; write your business plan in pencil; …doing so will illustrate two important principles.
- Change is inevitable.
I have little doubt that you (the small-business owner) will shortly have to change, amend, modify, scrap or abandon your original business plan altogether. …look at change as the only constant. Make change your friend, embrace it and work it to your benefit.
- We must avoid business plan worship.
It’s my hope that the mental image of a pencil will remind you that change is good and will help you reach your goals.
Make change your friend, embrace it and work it to your benefit.
Most small-business owners that I know never wrote a business plan….
Bob Reiss is the author of Bootstrapping 101: Tips to Build Your Business with Limited Cash and Free Outside Help. He has been involved in 16 start-ups, is a three time INC 500 winner, a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Business School and the subject of two Harvard case studies. He’s a frequent speaker at university entrepreneurial classes.
Note: This post was originally posted in 2010 and updated in 2013 with photos and vision board elements.
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