"You don’t need a business plan," the self-styled expert says, feeling good when he or she does because it’s fun to be contrarian. It’s a good story because it’s man bites dog instead of dog bites man. But it’s posturing. The business plan that you supposedly need is like a straw man, which the expert puts up just so they can knock it down.
What they mean is that you don’t necessarily need a big, pompous, formal business plan document.
It is analogous to their saying that the only way to get regular exercise is to run a full marathon, and then saying, for a lot of good reasons, don’t go out tomorrow and run 26 miles.
But business planning isn’t just the full-blown marathon equivalent of the formal complete plan. The real practical benefit is setting goals and tracking progress and following up with course corrections and reviews and, hooray, management.
If you’re running a business, or starting a business, you owe yourself business planning, which starts with a business plan. You deserve business planning to help you focus, prioritize, manage, and proactively drive your business towards the future in the right direction.
Planning doesn’t have to be a big formal plan. Set down your long-term goals and steps along the way, plus some basic numbers, and keep it on a computer where you can review it every so often to track how your assumptions have changed, to review progress and correct your course.
So where does this come from? Do I seem to be shadow boxing? No, I just need to vent every so often. Stupid business plan bashing.