Are business plans good enough to become a necessity? Most of those who had formal business schooling would scoff at any assertions that traditional business plans are not essential.
I could just imagine the sentiments of these people who, after going through several years of school, will find out that what they were taught is not at all essential today. The opposition would assert that plans are not good because they are constrictive. In other words, plans do not strengthen or enhance capacities to be flexible. Business people follow them as a newbie designer would follow a brochure printing template.
Well, the detractors are confusing plan with planning. Before you get more confused, let us try to understand this statement from the words of former US President Dwight Eisenhower who said that, 'The plan is useless. Planning is essential.'
Business should carefully consider this. A plan per se is nothing, but what is more important is what was put into it. The process, in this case, is more important than the output itself. Why?
Anybody would know that a plan is nothing if no one knows about it or no one was involved in designing it. I have seen a plan printed like a custom brochure printing gathering dust in an obscure shelf. When I asked the employees about it, all they can say is that the brochure printing is their business continuity plan. When asked about the details, no one knows for sure what is expected of them according to the plan.
A plan, whether it is a business plan or an emergency plan, is a living document. It has to leave tracks. It has to change. In addition, as the owner of the plan, you would want to know how it changed, when it changed, and why it changed.
It is not necessarily a document. You might never print it like a custom brochure printing. It is a guide and it takes whatever form works for you or your employees. You turn it into a document only when and if you want (or need) somebody to read it.
It does not have to be "right". You are not going to implement it blindly, like running into a brick wall. It leaves tracks you can look back on to trace changing assumptions. You are going to use it to steer. Steering involves constant corrections.
It is concrete and specific about what is supposed to happen, when, who is responsible, and how much it costs. Otherwise, you will not be able to follow the changes.