Why Being Told You Need a Business Plan May Be Bad Advice

To get the new year started off right, let’s take a deep dive over the next several weeks to see how entrepreneurship has changed in recent years and why you may no longer need to write the classic version of a business plan. Based on these changes, we’ll see how you can make the most of these changes by recognizing and adopting appropriate reasoning styles to make your business more successful.

Be sure to sign up for auto email delivery, so you do not miss any of the subject matter we will be covering over the next few weeks. In the following eight posts, we will build the case that most business advice in the public domain is based on old paradigms. In light of this situation, we will show you how you can adjust your thinking to succeed into today’s changing market place. Let’s get started:

Before the advent of the internet and the flattening of the globe, the cost to start and grow even a very small business required a significant amount of upfront investment. Today, however, the business landscape is quite different.

  • No longer do businesses need to open a physical storefront. They do not need to pay rent and staff to sell their goods. Instead, businesses can use technology to sell the same goods to the entire globe using automated e-commerce websites for free or at a very low cost.
  • No longer do businesses need to invest in expensive advertising and marketing collateral. Businesses can engage with customers more effectively by using social media channels.
  • No longer do businesses need to hire full-time, local employees. Instead, businesses can contract many part-time, highly specialized, and even offshore resources for much less money. For example, they can hire bookkeepers and web designers at a fraction of the cost using tools like upwork.com, freelancer.com, toptal.com, and guru.com.
  • No longer do businesses need to focus primarily on mainstream products and services. They don’t need to produce their products in large batches to counteract the considerable upfront costs. With bottlenecks between supply and demand disappearing, businesses can take advantage of what Chris Anderson calls “the long tail economy.”

Yet, in spite of the changing economic landscape for local businesses, the standard business advice to write a thoroughly researched business plan for every type of business remains rooted in outdated models and paradigms designed around the justification of expending large upfront amounts of capital to start a business. While still appropriate for some businesses, such as innovation or manufacturing startups, it is far less appropriate for other businesses since their startup capital requirements and customer acquisition strategies are quite different.

Is the primary reason you are writing a business plan simply based on the fact that someone once told you that all new businesses need one?

If your business can be bootstrapped and started for little money, would you consider alternative approaches other than starting with writing a full-blown business plan?

In the next few posts, we’ll explore this topic in much more detail. In the next post, we will explore why innovations and manufacturing businesses have different planning requirements than the more common support and local service businesses.

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4 thoughts on “Why Being Told You Need a Business Plan May Be Bad Advice

  1. Nice read. I always think of business plans as a necessity, cos it undoubtedly helps you organise your thoughts and plans for your biz anyway. But I’m not a fan of creating too detailed business plan, takes a long time to create and takes too much time.

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