It leaves the formal plan document for the special cases that really need it, while focusing for the rest of us on the real power of planning, meaning management and tracking and accountability, and easing up on the form to make sure that form follows function. The plan-as-you-go business plan is PAYG planning.
How is the PAYG plan different from the standard business plan? Good question. Every PAYG plan has a review schedule built in, from the beginning. It sets the dates and participants in the future review meetings, taking minutes once a month and hours once per quarter. Form follows function. The PAYG plan is not necessarily the same kind of formal business plan document you did in business school or read about all over.
Every PAYG plan is unique. It might generate a formal document at some point, or over and over again actually at different points in company history, but until you need the formal plan document to show somebody it lives on your computer. You pull from the plan to make a pitch presentation or elevator speech or summary memo or full detailed business plan document, as required for business purpose.
It assumes and manages change. The PAYG plan is about navigation, not just a static map. It assumes that assumptions will change. Unlike the misunderstood formal business plan, the PAYG plan is a way to keep your view of the long term goals and directions while also managing the short-term surprises. Plan-as-you-go planning develops accountability in the process, as a matter of metrics, and tracking.
It is important that accountability be a matter of collaboration, and not the crystal ball and chain. Start with the review schedule. Set the dates from the very beginning. Develop useful metrics. PAYG planning is about actually managing, not just planning into thin air. The main metrics are money, and the most important is cash flow, but look for metrics that involve the team. Calls, presentations, visitors, inquiries, average time of calls, downloads, whatever.
Ideally, everybody on the team deserves metrics. Identify the assumptions. Effective PAYG planning keeps the assumptions on top, where you can revisit them with every review meeting. We assume things change and the planning is about navigation, not just a static map. This is how you keep your plan alive and active. Every plan has a heart and flesh and bones.
The heart is strategy, market need, differentiation, and focus. This is as true with PAYG planning as with traditional plans. Start anywhere. Get going. The plan is a matter of interlocking blocks, so some people start with a numbers task, like a sales forecast, and others start conceptually, with a vision or a strategy or focus. Just get started. Start today and start using it tomorrow. All business plans are wrong — but still vital.
Good business plans are never done. If your plan is finished, your company is finished. Instead, you revise as needed, as in steering, navigation, and walking. Do only as much as you need to run your company, to manage, to build strategy and follow-up and long-term goals and directions.
Keep it alive, always, and spin the output as needed. Keep it on top of things, active, and alive, not forgotten in a drawer. Planning is worth the implementation it causes. You measure a plan by results. Business plans are always wrong. Business plans predict the future. We humans are dismally inaccurate when predicting the future. Paradox: nonetheless, planning is vital. Planning means starting with the plan and then tracking, reviewing progress, watching plan vs. Planning is a process, like walking or steering, that involves constant corrections.
The truth is that forecasting is hard. Nobody likes forecasting. But one thing harder than forecasting is trying to run a business without a forecast. A business plan is normally full of holes, but you fill them, after the fact, with the management that follows. Consider this a first installment. That business plan document is just output. So too are the elevator speech, the summary presentation, the pitch, and the summary memo.
So how long is a business plan? Long enough to serve your business needs. How well edited, formatted, and presented? Think about the difference between the business plan document requested by a potential investor and the business plan document requested by a banker, and the business plan you create because you want to manage your company better. You lose the value. So forget your preconceived notions about a business plan. Think of it as a first step in a process.
Ask yourself what you need, in your unique situation, to be able to organize and prioritize and look at the steps and the metrics, and follow up on a regular basis. Is your strategy clear? Can you set it down so others can join it? Are dates and deadlines and steps along the way set down clearly? Have you done basic numbers, like sales, costs of sales, and expense budgets? Can you track those regularly and manage for course corrections?
That then, is the right business plan for you. Which is better: aiming at something from a great distance and committing to that without flexibility; or setting a general direction and moving towards it in smaller flexible increments? The second is better. Of course. The second is business planning, the way it is supposed to work.
Quite the contrary, it sets directions and priorities, and concrete steps, and gives you something you can track and manage. It gives you more flexibility, not less. Keep the long term in mind while you deal with the short term. Manage your business, with planning. And not, emphatically not, set a plan once a year and then follow it blindly until you do a new plan a year later. Just do it right. You must be logged in to post a comment.
You just use it to manage your company, Notice that none of these outputs stands as something you do instead of the plan. Are you recognizing yourself somewhere along this line? This is moving forward with my sense of planning and stories as closely related: Suspend your image of a business plan as a document, for a while, and think of it as a collection of stories combined with concrete specifics or goals that aim to make those stories come true.
The best way to talk about goals is a story: Think about your long-term objectives story. And the planning specifics take those stories and break them into specifics required to make them come true: As you imagine what those stories are, break them down into meaningful, trackable parts. I hope that helps to answer that question from a reader. The plan sets a marker. Use this marker to manage the constant conflict between short-term problems and long-term goals.
You work that plan. Use it to maintain your vision of progress towards the horizon, while dealing with the everyday problems, putting out fires. So the plan may be wrong, but the planning process is vital. Good planning is nine parts implementation for every one part strategy. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Providing adequate guidance for every situation and every stage of business, readers are trained to ignore the traditional, formal cookie-cutter plans that other business planning resources offer and to focus on tailoring a plan to their company; allowing them to literally plan as they go and to, ultimately, steer their business ahead while saving time.
Clear-cut instructions help business owners quickly build the type of plan that works for them—one that helps them take total control of their business, improve profits, raise capital, operate a profitable enterprise, and stay ahead of the competition. Very comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand, this business tool offers more than just the nuts and bolts of writing a business plan—the author also provides invaluable insight through real-life examples illustrating key points and avoidable mistakes as well as cutting-edge information for the 21st century entrepreneur.
This guide is designed to be a reliable tool for those entering into the world of starting and owning their own business. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published August 1st by Entrepreneur Press first published July 2nd More Details Original Title. Other Editions 2.
Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. Sort order. Sep 14, Nick Brown rated it liked it. This book was worth a look for any business pro or upcoming entrepreneur. Tim Berry makes a distinction between planning versus a plan.
Planning is a vital activity that helps create expectation and purpose for the organization and steers it toward a successful horizon. A plan though in and of itself is always wrong since we are all human and we can't possibly account for every variable that will influence our future. But nonetheless plans are vital.
That's the hard to swallow part of the book - This book was worth a look for any business pro or upcoming entrepreneur. That's the hard to swallow part of the book - plans are always wrong but vital. The metaphor that Berry uses regularly to explain this contradiction is that of dribbling a basketball. A basketball player is constantly dribbling a basketball who has to constantly consider the terrain and his defenders and his teammates are doing so that the team can score.
I prefer the metaphor of driving a car in which the user constantly makes adjustments moving the steering wheel to keep the car on the road and moving toward a goal the intended destination. My favorite concept that is promulgated by Tim Berry is conveyed in the title. Your plan should only be what you need it to be. Start planning with where ever you are in the process of business development. Start with marketing, sales, or product development, and as the business grows account for those other areas of your business in your plan.
Tim Berry's book also has a great introduction to basic business accounting and principles. For someone, like myself who doesn't have a background in this area it was worth going through. This book can easily be used as reference potential. A few tabs on the right pages and I'll be able to easily identify the needed information and jargon for running a business. On a personal note, I've never been much of a planner.