Business plans for many SME companies are documents that write down the intentions of the business in the coming period. In the 1950s we saw the rise, and then fall, of the “corporate planner”. This was a function that gathered market data, analysed the internal resources of the business and produced a plan for the coming 3-5 years to allow the board to focus its efforts on achievement.
Even recently business plans were produced, not by corporate planning functions, but by the business leaders; in order to write down their intentions and provide a stakeholder (usually a lending institution or investor) the ability to understand what they are backing.
In the last decade I could have retired on the £1 I would get from talking to each CEO or Director who confessed that their business plan was outdated, inaccurate, or just a “finger in the air.”
The pace of change in both social and market terms is now so fast, so eye watering ruthless, that to adopt and try to execute a formal business plan for the next 3-5 years is pure stupidity.
What companies need in this decade, is an “adapting” plan, one that changes and moves each quarter; forget the 3-5 years.
Trouble is that few understand how to get such a plan.
Due to the explosion of information and complexity of our world, we also need to broaden and deepen the way in which we collate, react to and use data/information that will give business a greater chance of riding the waves of change.
This inherently lies within the people you employ within your business.
“What a waste, to hire excellent intelligent people and then spend your entire time simply telling them what to do”
So how does a business adapt its planning tools, to deepen and broaden information provision, to allow an adaptive plan to emerge, who owns it and how often does this need to happen?