Monday, June 28, 2010

From my friend Chuck Blakeman:

A Business Plan Will Not Make You More Successful

Palo Alto Software, which makes business planning software, just did a survey to their own users to show that those who completed business plans that they started with Palo Alto were nearly twice as likely to successfully grow their businesses or obtain capital as those who didn’t finish.

This research is a classic example of “there are lies, damnable lies, and statistics” (stolen from Twain who got it from someone else). An even more reasonable conclusion – people who DO SOMETHING and follow through on it are twice as likely to successfully grow their business.

My second book (to be published in December 2010) is titled “Bad Plans Carried Out Violently” and promotes the idea that DOING SOMETHING trumps pre-planning almost without exception. I’ve talked with hundreds of successful business owners and asked them two questions:

1) Did you do a business plan before you started your business?

2) If you did, how well did it project what actually happened over 1 yr, 3 yrs and 5 yrs?

The number of successful business owners who do a business plan before starting their business is statistically insignificant – well less than 1%. The only reason the small minority gave for doing one is because they had to in order to get money from a bank or investor (almost no one does one just for themselves). That should tell you something about the classic “pre-planning” Business Plan we’re all taught is so important.

Of those very few that did do a Business Plan before starting, virtually none of them say their Business Plan projected accurately what actually happened in the next 12 months, or 3yrs or 5 yrs. To the contrary most said their Business Plan was wildly off from what actually happened in the real world.

The conclusion is that successful business owners don’t do a classic Business Plan unless banks or investors are involved, and that they never look at it after that. So it has real value for getting a loan, but not for running a business.

Stop planning and get moving! Do a simple 2-page Strategic Plan and revise it every month with the input your business gives you – you’ll be better off.

“Committed Movement in a Purposeful Direction” and “Implement Now. Perfect as You Go.” – two concepts from my next book – are much more instructive to success than pre-planning. Knowing the end goal is extremely important – knowing beforehand the path for how you will get there is fortune-telling.

See the new book from called “Rework” for others affirming this as well.
Steve Adams recently attended the Denver IDEA Cafe and wrote this:

Phone power
From: Steve Adams, author of Back To Work!

I know, I know. The telephone is so Old Media.

Like you, I only use the phone when I have to. I can IM with a friend just about as fast. And you can’t beat the convenience of e-mails that can be replied to when we’re good and ready–or ignored. The phone is a jangling intruder.

Those of us who still have land-lines don’t necessarily answer them when they ring. We’re just as likely to screen these calls by Caller ID or voice mail because–uh, because we can.

John Wren would have you think a little differently about that. “With social media, we tend to overlook the power of the telephone,” he says. John, a business and career coach of sorts in Denver, has a nifty five-minute podcast about that’s linked in the upper left of his Web site at

He also runs a weekly confab called the Denver IDEA Meetup Group for the exchange of start-up and new business ideas, where I’m tentatively fixing to speak in a few weeks.

John WrenEssentially, whether you’re looking for work in the form of projects or a fulltime gig, don’t sell the phone short. This might be a time when you want to intrude a bit. This isn’t getting your five job contacts for the week for unemployment–dogmeat jobs you’d hope you didn’t get. Those you do by electronic submission, right? But when you really want something, you Make the Call.

John is talking more upstream–not so much phone calls to employers or clients, but calls to friends, to tap into their network. “People who know you well and want to help you.” Apparently, our friends are able to help us more than we–or even they–think, until prodded.

John tells about multiple positions he’s snagged just calling a friend and asking who they know who might be able to provide a valuable connection to the right person or place. That’s how he became, for example, director of marketing and public relations for the Denver Symphony Orchestra.

But now he’s doing his own thing. I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t give his particulars:

Do you want help as you start in a new direction? Since 1979, I’ve helped hundreds of people find a good job quickly, or to find their first or next great new client. If you or someone you know wants to start a new career, a new campaign or project, or a new business, contact me about how I can help. Contact: John S. Wren, MBA+, 960 Grant St. #727, Denver, CO 80203., (303)861-1447.

Note the phone number. You could, like, pick up the phone and call.