As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.”
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan. It means that you need to start out with a plan and then be ready to change and adapt as you learn more about your customers, their needs and how they want to buy from you.
Once you start making money and spending money, it’s critical that you track your progress towards your goals. Are you meeting your sales goals? Are you staying on budget? Why or why not?
The most important part of planning is to schedule a regular time to review and check in on your progress towards your goals and then adjust as needed. If you aren’t meeting your sales goals or if you’re not staying on your budget, dig into the details and find out why. Without a plan, you won’t have the tools to know if things are going well or going badly.
The thing about business plans is that they’re accurate for about six hours.
Once you start actually talking to your customers and building your product or developing your service, it may turn out that your assumptions are wrong and you’ll have to change course. As your plans change, update your pitch with your latest knowledge and information so you can adjust your strategy.
Planning isn’t about creating the perfect document, it’s about setting goals and documenting your best guesses on how you’re going to reach those goals. Sometimes you may end up on a detour, but who knows, maybe that winding path will lead you to a hidden beach with a tiny hut that makes the best piña coladas you’ve ever tasted.