first_img Filed Under: Advice, Management, Resources, Strategic Why Business Plans are Overrated for Your StartupJuly 26, 2019 by Aaron Agius 250SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Any business advisor would encourage startups to produce a business plan before they do anything else. A business plan, they’d say, will allow you to layout your vision, identify any potential pitfalls, and force you to map out all aspects of the journey ahead of you. It’ll give you a starting point from which to pitch to investors.But increasing numbers of businesses are choosing not to write a business plan. In fact, more businesses are exploring various options and avenues before committing to a solid “plan of attack.” I am one of these people, and I’ll tell you why I believe business plans are overrated for startups.They take up valuable timeMany startups mistakenly think that investing time in a plan will provide a shortcut towards securing funding, but the problem is that business plans are hugely time-consuming, even with the help of specialist software.Anyone who has started a company would understand that time spent on a vast dossier to plan out every last detail is the time that could be spent on the million-and-one other things that need to be done.My advice, as a doer, is to just get started. Put your time and effort into the task at hand.They quickly become outdatedWhen you’ve spent so much time crafting the perfect business plan, it’s infuriating to find out that two months in, it’s already outdated. Your vision for your business may have changed slightly or your target audience might be different. Or perhaps you’ve realized you’d overlooked a cost that will distort your financial projections beyond recognition.When I was setting up my agency, things changed so quickly that if I created a business plan, I might have been less willing to go along with those changes to see where they’d lead. Embracing new ideas, changes in direction, and following your intuition are so crucial in those early months of your startup.It won’t help you make decisionsMany businesses mistake a business plan for a crystal ball. Having one will not predict the future, and it probably won’t be much help in those crucial decision-making moments.Many businesses mistake a business plan for a crystal ball. Having one will not predict the future, and it probably won’t be much help in those crucial decision-making moments.When I started my company, there were always issues popping up that required instant decisions. I had to think on my feet and make important calls, oftentimes with limited information available.I experienced many scenarios where a business plan wouldn’t have helped me, including when the needs of my clients were changing or when a newly launched product impacted the services my company offered. Some months I’d even find that one or more of my clients hadn’t paid on time, meaning I couldn’t pay my staff. A business plan couldn’t have helped. Instead, I had to figure out what to do and understand what was best for my company, my clients, and my employees at that given moment.It might limit your thinking and learningIn the early stages of building my company, I learned a very important skill: how to pitch potential clients. During meetings with potential clients, I discussed how I could help them with their online marketing, but I realized I wasn’t getting the full story. Potential clients were telling me what they wanted (or what they thought they wanted). In time, and with an intuitive outlook, I learned how to read between the lines.In time, and with an intuitive outlook, I learned how to read between the lines.While a business plan might have documented my clients’ goals and needs, it most likely would not have allowed me to probe and develop a deeper understanding of what it is that clients really wanted.It lets in the notion of failureAny business advisor would encourage startups to produce a business plan before they do anything else. A business plan, they’d say, will allow you to lay out your vision, identify any potential pitfalls, and force you to map out all aspects of the journey ahead of you. It’ll give you a starting point from which to pitch to investors.But increasing numbers of businesses are choosing not to write a business plan. In fact, more businesses are exploring various options and avenues before committing to a solid “plan of attack.” I am one of these people, and I’ll tell you why I believe business plans are overrated for startups.They take up valuable timeMany startups mistakenly think that investing time in a plan will provide a shortcut towards securing funding, but the problem is that business plans are hugely time-consuming, even with the help of specialist software.Anyone who has started a company would understand that time spent on a vast dossier to plan out every last detail is the time that could be spent on the million-and-one other things that need to be done.My advice, as a doer, is to just get started. Put your time and effort into the task at hand.They quickly become outdatedWhen you’ve spent so much time crafting the perfect business plan, it’s infuriating to find out that two months in, it’s already outdated. Your vision for your business may have changed slightly or your target audience might be different. Or perhaps you’ve realized you’d overlooked a cost that will distort your financial projections beyond recognition.When I was setting up my agency, things changed so quickly that if I created a business plan, I might have been less willing to go along with those changes to see where they’d lead. Embracing new ideas, changes in direction, and following your intuition are so crucial in those early months of your startup.It won’t help you make decisionsMany businesses mistake a business plan for a crystal ball. Having one will not predict the future, and it probably won’t be much help in those crucial decision-making moments.Many businesses mistake a business plan for a crystal ball. Having one will not predict the future, and it probably won’t be much help in those crucial decision-making moments.When I started my company, there were always issues popping up that required instant decisions. I had to think on my feet and make important calls, often times with limited information available.I experienced many scenarios where a business plan wouldn’t have helped me, including when the needs of my clients were changing or when a newly launched product impacted the services my company offered. Some months I’d even find that one or more of my clients hadn’t paid on time, meaning I couldn’t pay my staff. A business plan couldn’t have helped. Instead, I had to figure out what to do and understand what was best for my company, my clients, and my employees at that given moment.It might limit your thinking and learningIn the early stages of building my company, I learned a very important skill: how to pitch potential clients. During meetings with potential clients, I discussed how I could help them with their online marketing, but I realized I wasn’t getting the full story. Potential clients were telling me what they wanted (or what they thought they wanted). In time, and with an intuitive outlook, I learned how to read between the lines.In time, and with an intuitive outlook, I learned how to read between the lines.While a business plan might have documented my clients’ goals and needs, it most likely would not have allowed me to probe and develop a deeper understanding of what it is that clients really wanted.It lets in the notion of failurePREVIOUS POSTNEXT POSTlast_img read more