If your startup needs no funding, what is the use of a detailed business plan?

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JASON LEMKIN

You may not need a “business plan”.

But you sure need an operating plan — a very detailed financial model.

If you don’t build an operating plan, and track against it, what I can almost guarantee you is costs will run away from. Not necessarily in big chunks, but an extra expense here, a contractor there.

Combine bigger expenses with a miss on revenue, even a minor one — and you can quickly get into trouble.

Build a real operating model / plan, at least in a Google sheet. And have your finance person (even if she’s just a 4-hour-a-month person) track vs. the plan every month.

It will keep you much more on track.

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Published on October 16, 2017
  • Totally agree, Jason. Most business plans are designed to impress other people. They’re great (well necessary) for attracting investors but pretty useless for actually growing a business. I recently wrote about the sections that a useful business plan should have and I’ve put together a one-page business plan template here: http://dothethings.com/actionable-business-plan/

    My take is a bit different from yours – and really both are necessary. I like the idea of a spreadsheet for tracking income and expenses as you go.

  • Tom Lipscomb

    I think having a plan, (not a pitch) enables agility. I’m talking agility in the sense of an intellectual Lamborghini where agility is: “the ability to think and draw conclusions quickly”. An operating plan and those for marketing/market, product, and sales don’t restrict agility, they enhance it. These “plans” allow you to create a matrix where you look at operational execution vs achieved objectives. If you’re successful and did what you had planned, great! If you’re successful but haven’t executed on your tactics to get there, it can be tough to scale. If you’re struggling, is it because you failed to execute on tactics, or were your tactics flawed? In the words of Bill Campbell… What are you doing today? What do you need to be doing next? How are you going to get there? Are you getting there?

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