I Would Have Written Less If I’d Had More Time – why a shorter business plan is better

Great Dane HARLEQUIN and a chihuahua
Sometimes shorter is better.

I’d have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.

— French author Blaise Pascal

Once in a while someone gets the wrong idea. They hear that I teach owners of very small businesses how to make a one- to two-page plan, and they conclude that it’s a “business plan lite.”

But in the Plan To Thrive planning process, short doesn’t mean “lite.”

It takes hard work to make a business plan that’s simple but never simplistic. It takes significant time and thought to create a short, succinct plan. It requires deep understanding of what you want your business to be and how you’d like to get there. It takes dumping on the table all the maybes and the possibilities, the wishes and the obligations, then sorting and sifting to get rid of the things that don’t really fit. (And because it IS hard work, lots of business owners can’t get through it without a coach or guide who can help.)

If the deep editing doesn’t happen, your plan will be cluttered with too many things that aren’t critical to building the business you want. You’ll get bogged down in extraneous stuff. The plan won’t be able to help you make better day-to-day decisions. You’ll quit using the plan.

Think of maple sugaring: 40 or 50 gallons of sap are boiled down to make just one gallon of syrup. In the same way, it takes work to distill your plan down to just a page or two. Or think of Michaelangelo: he stood before a massive block of marble, then chiseled away everything that didn’t contribute to the appearance “David.” Be prepared to chisel the extraneous stuff out of your mass of possible actions.

It can be fun to punch out a plan in a hurry, but to get the kind of plan you’ll use every day, one that will help guide you to build the kind of business you really want, takes time and thought.

Do you have a business plan you love? If you’re the owner of a Very Small Business, just a page or two will be enough to set your path for the year, as long as you take enough time to write it short.

Are you a solo entrepreneur without a business plan you love? I developed the Plan To Thrive process just for you. If you’re serious about making a plan and taking action, contact me for a complimentary consultation. I promise we’ll take the time to write it short!

(photo from istockphoto.com © Erik Lam)

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