I don’t need a business plan, do I?

It takes about 5 seconds these days to find a site that says “4 great tips to build a business plan”. Simple. So why do so many people just ignore this basic piece of planning for their business?

To tackle the issue from another angle: Consider the question “who needs a biz plan?”. Again, the answer is straightforward – just about everyone; a start up in hightech, the kiosk on the corner of your road, an established multinational, and even your home finances. You can’t ignore them.

So what does a biz plan give you? Have a look at three case studies from Israel that I have come across in the past week alone.

First, I am currently helping out a small, growing telecom company, and the founders wish to raise money from investors. So, they need to present a document – a.k.a. business plan – which shows their technological, financial, and managerial abilities. Fine.

However, that is not the sole purpose of the report. The act of writing and editing the document is forcing the head team to ask what it is they really do. I participated in a fascinating discussion, which resulted in an emphasis switching from the tech aspect of the company to the human element. Clearly they are more than just a bunch of enterpreneurs with yet another platform technology. The creation of the biz  plan has challenged them to realise who they really are and how they can maximise their full potential.

Second, I have come across a family business in the Jerusalem area, which sells household products. The concept is one of the oldest in international commercial history – buy from a supplier, add a mark up, sell quickly and at a profit. So, I was stunned to be greeted by the news that the owner has accumulated debts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Blaming poor stock control is not enough of a solution. Time to look at the lack of financial planning and what that can show for the future.

And my final example lies in the heart of Israel’s Ministry of Finance. This week’s newspapers have highlighted a fact that many people had been predicting for months: The budget deficit in Decemeber 2012 will be close to twice the original forecast of January.

This is not just a case of somebody getting it wrong, and badly so. Taxes have already risen and more changes are planned. Infrastructure projects have been shelved. The building of new classrooms has been postponed. Improvements for day care facilities have been cancelled. So much for financial planning from the top, from the very people who trying to help us run our own lives.

Get out your excel spreadsheets and start some realistic planning for a viable financial future.

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3 Comments on “I don’t need a business plan, do I?”

  1. Kasper Rugholm Says:

    Great post.
    I think there is great value in having a business plan not only for external partners but also for your self. When writing it you get to think of for example:
    – what makes you business unique
    – how will I attract customers
    – how you want to compete in the market?
    There can also be a danger in blindly sticking to you business plan without paying attention to the world around you. But I really think that every business should start out by writing a business plan, as it will help you think of what you want with you business and looking at it from time to time to see if everything is on track.

    I have made a free start up business plan

  2. Bret Says:

    Who said that you can’t reinvent the wheel? I dont need a business plan, do I? Afternoon Tea In Jerusalem

  3. Gilad Newman Says:

    Very clear anc concise! Thanks!

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