Top 10 Business Planning Mistakes #3: Lost in the Clouds

(Note: this is the eighth of a 10-part series listing my revised top 10 business planning mistakes. The list goes from 10, the least important, to 1, the most important.)

It’s not that I don’t respect talk about high-level strategy, business models, and business ideas; it’s that the high level strategy-in-the-clouds kind of planning is quite often a waste of time. Nothing but hot air.  I’ve written this before, elsewhere, but here it is again:

Good business planning is nine parts implementation for every one part strategy.

And how about this, an old riddle with a business point:

Question: in the classic bacon and egg breakfast, what is the role of the chicken and what is the role of the pig?

Answer: the chicken is involved. The pig is committed.

Good business planning generates commitment. It’s much more about concrete specific details than high-level strategy. It includes dates, deadlines, budgets, forecasts, and specific tasks and responsibilities. It’s about metrics, throughout the business, metrics for everybody, and the practice of following up on metrics to manage performance and the difference between performance and expectations

Does your business plan lists dates and activities and who’s in charge? Why not? Do you track actual results, and the difference between what you planned and what actually happened? Why not?

(Image: istockphoto.com)

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