Halloween Special: Five Business Plan Tricks

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    Here are five tricks from business planning expert Tim Berry. Excellent advice to follow to avoid getting spooked by your business:

    1. Keep the planning simple and practical.

    Your plan should be measurable, and include strategy, dates, deadlines, metrics, and basic projections, plus a review schedule. This is critical: when will we review and revise? The goal is to keep the plan alive.

    2. Grow it organically.

    The worst thing you could do is avoid taking any action until you’ve developed a complete plan. Don’t put anything off for planning; plan as you develop your business.

    3. Think it, plan it, test it.

    Stay on top of your quickly-changing plan and manage your assumptions as the reality emerges. You’ll continually be going back to the plan, looking at how everything is related, and making adjustments as needed.

    4. Use agile planning.

    Real-world business planning, particularly in periods of rapid change, should be pretty darn agile. And rapid. Plan it, build it, revise it, plan it again. That’s the planning process, and without it you don’t control your destiny.

    5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Planning has to be like steering – a matter of constant small corrections within a broad navigational plan. The details change, but all within the context of the long-term direction. You’re always reviewing and revising.

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    For more resources, see our Library topic Business Planning.

    [Note: Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software, which produces Business Plan Pro software, and is the author of The Plan-as-You-Go Business Plan. You can also read his blogs.]