Tim Berry and the Evolution of Business Planning

I spent much of the holidays frantically trying to launch a business (incorporating, calling web contractors, graphic designers, networking, dealing with the funding issue, etc.) and also putting together a business plan — for internal use and also for communicating what I am doing (via a 2 page exec summary) to potential partners, vendors, etc. The plan currently exists as 9 word docs (everything from exec summary and mission to industry analysis and competitive landscape ) in varying degrees of development.

Today I stopped by Tim Berry’s blog for a little encouragement. I found it in a big way. Tim has a new post on the Plan-As-You Go Business Plan. Which, as I read the entry and learned more about it, is exactly what I am doing.

Tim is working on a book about this ‘new conception’ of the business plan and I am looking forward to it. Here are just a few highlights from his post.

1. It’s a process, not just a plan. Every PAYG plan has a review schedule built in, from the beginning. It sets the dates and participants in the future review meetings, taking 60-90 minutes once a month and 2-3 hours once per quarter. and PAYG planning is about process: not just the plan, but the regular review and management of the plan.

2. 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. It doesn’t necessarily follow a recipe. 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’s the source of all of these, the key thinking including strategy and metrics and dates and deadlines, without having a specifically defined form.

The post is really worth the read and I am sure the book is going to be great. It also makes one wonder a bit about the value of business plan competitions which demand static plans created for judges rather than a living, evolving tool of entrepreneurship that is the ‘plan as you go business plan’?

4 thoughts on “Tim Berry and the Evolution of Business Planning

  1. Pingback: Planning, Startups, Stories

  2. Pingback: Interview with Tim Berry « Campus Entrepreneurship

  3. Pingback: More Business Plan Angst « Campus Entrepreneurship

  4. Pingback: Plan-as-you-go and Venture Contests

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