Tradition tells you that you should have a formal business plan – an intricate roadmap that lays out your journey for the next 3-5 years, the timeframe in which most investors want to recover their investment and start seeing a return. Since most start-ups or early-stage companies don’t have an operating history to use as a benchmark, they spend weeks creating a complex document that very few people will ever read. Most investors or external partners have been reading mission statements and ‘Our Values’ texts for years, and are somewhat numb to banal and baseless pronouncements.
In the past, a business plan served two purposes: to sell the company vision to external parties, and to give internal staff a clear roadmap for that vision and purpose.
These purposes really require two entirely different documents. So here’s a suggestion when it comes to creating a formal business plan: don’t bother.
We rely on a tried and true principle: KISS. As an alternative, use the 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint (a much-abused tool that can still be powerful in the right hands).
Limit your presentation to 10 slides or pages. Talk for no more than 20 minutes (leaving the rest of your time for Q&A and interaction). Use 30-point font to keep you on track and your audience focused on you.
You don’t need a formal business plan to get your start-up off the ground. Keep it simple. Instead of spending precious hours polishing and updating a formal business plan, use that time to do something useful, such as making your idea work in the real world. Case in point: Dropbox got its initial funding from a one-page online application.
This document is meant to live inside the walls of your organization. It covers the components of your company structure, your brand, your vision, your Key Performance Indicators, your specific plans for achieving your goals, and where you want to be in 5 years.
Because you rely on your people to achieve your goals, you want a team that is aligned and focused. Articulating that in a clear and concise fashion will ensure your efforts are directed towards driving revenue rather than managing your internal assets. We highly recommend creating a one-page strategic plan that lives across all departments.
Once employees feel challenged, invigorated, and productive, their efforts will naturally translate into profit and growth for the organization.
– Ricardo Semler –
The key to a highly functioning organization is transparency – ensuring everyone is aware of the company’s goals and has the legitimate opportunity to participate in achieving them.
This is how DOMINION operates, and we can help your organization to work the same way.