The Silent Killer of Startups: Stressing the Importance of Planning Over a Written Plan

To understand the essence of startups and business progression, we must distinguish between the verb “planning” and the noun “business plan.” Let’s delve into why startup vetting, which is essentially a phase of planning, is far more pivotal than the end product of this process, the “written business plan.”

Planning: The Essence of Startup Success
  • Dynamic Process: Planning is a continuous process that allows for adaptation to changing circumstances. It’s the pulse of the startup, keeping it aligned with market dynamics.
  • Encourages Critical Thinking: As opposed to a fixed document, planning promotes evaluation, assessment, and revision. It’s about constantly asking, “Is this the best way forward?”
  • Customer Centric: Effective planning keeps the customer at its core. This means constantly vetting the idea against market needs and feedback.
  • Mitigates Risks: Continuous planning allows for early detection of potential pitfalls, thereby reducing risks associated with market entry and scale.
The Written Business Plan: A Snapshot in Time

While a written business plan is undeniably valuable:

  • It’s Static: Once written, it’s a snapshot of your business thinking at that point in time. The market, however, isn’t static.
  • Audience Specific: Often, the business plan is tailored for a specific audience, be it investors, partners, or stakeholders, and might not always reflect the operational aspects of the business.
  • Can Promote Tunnel Vision: If too rigidly adhered to, it can limit adaptability, making startups less responsive to unforeseen challenges.
Why Startup Planning (Vetting) Overshadows the Written Plan
  • Real-time Feedback Loop: Planning allows for a constant feedback mechanism. Vetting the startup idea through planning lets you tweak the model based on real-world feedback, not just assumptions.
  • Promotes Growth Mindset: Continuous planning nurtures adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset, crucial for startup success.
  • Resource Optimization: With iterative planning, resources (time, money, effort) are directed towards strategies that are validated, reducing waste.
  • Stakeholder Confidence: Investors and stakeholders are more inclined towards entrepreneurs who emphasize ongoing planning and adaptability rather than rigidly sticking to a written plan.
The Key Thoughts

The verb “planning” symbolizes action, adaptability, and progression. The noun “business plan” is a testament, a record. While both have their places in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, it’s the continuous act of planning, vetting, and adapting that truly fuels a startup’s journey to success.

Remember, a plan is only as good as the actionable insights derived from rigorous planning. Champion the ethos of continuous planning and vetting, ensuring startups are agile, adaptable, and ever-evolving in the face of changing market dynamics.

If you are planning to start a business or are thinking about scaling an existing one, be sure to read the ebook “Customer Centric Business Planning: A Guide to Optimizing Your Business for Maximum Success”. It is an essential book for business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs looking to leverage real-time insight to start and improve their business operations. Learn how proper customer centric business planning can assess risk and opportunity, and create an actionable roadmap for success.

Copyright ©John Trenary 2023. All rights reserved.

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