How about that BP?

September 3rd, 2010

No, I’m not talking about British Petroleum. I’m referring to your Business Plan, something that also can trigger feelings of uneasiness.

In yesterday’s edition of the Harvard Business Review Blog, contributor Amy Gallo wrote a piece titled Keeping Your Business Plan Flexible. Gallo taps some notable experts on the importance having a business plan. One that’s used, that is.

It’s a good article and contains ideas that should put you at ease.

It really doesn’t matter if your business plan is the short deck you presented to capital investors, a bound,  40-pound document, or one page of bullet points. What you need, according to William Sahlman, author of How to Write a Great Business Plan, is a plan that “moves with your business.” Something flexible that can be adapted to reflect changes either within your organization or those driven by market conditions.

A key point made by Patricia Greene, Professor of Entrepreneurship of Babson College, is the importance of updating your plan regularly.  I agree with the concept of “fluid” planning and have a suggestion for timing that review. It’s as easy as 3-1-2.

Here’s what I mean: Have a three-year business plan, in whatever format best suits you; formally revise it once a year when you do your annual budgeting; and revisit the plan at least every 2 months to incorporate fresh ideas, new hires, or red-hot opportunities.

So let’s see. It’s September. An ideal month for some reflection and an update.

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