I've been getting a lot of positive feedback lately on the combination of the interview with me on Guy Kawasaki's blog and my post the not so big business plan on my blog. I also did a post on breaking a plan into blocks on my new Up and Running blog at Entrepreneur.com. All of these pieces have a lot of flavor of refocusing on business planning, not just the plan, and maintaining the planning as a practical tool for management.
"The plan is useless. Planning is essential." That's a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower. Then there's the famous and trite "no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy," from military lore (Helmuth von Moltke, the Elder). I was never in the military, but the essence of these maxims seems to apply equally well to business.
The point of all this isn't that we don't need to plan, it's that we need to focus on the planning. That means plan, review, revise, and keep the planning on top of management. Assume things will change and that planning helps to manage change; what I said in those posts I reference in the first paragraph here.
The point of this post is to clarify one important point: Business Plan Pro is an ideal software tool for doing this "not so big" business plan, and planning process, and planning as management. Nobody ever said that because the software includes a lot of suggested topics and tables that you're supposed to start at the beginning, develop a plan through to the end, then print it, then show it, and then forget it.
On the contrary, the planning software as a tool can make it easier than ever to get started and get going. Choose where to start depending on how you feel, whether it's concepts like SWOT or keys to success or numbers like the sales forecast or personnel plan. Jump around as needed, keep your plan as live useful pieces, and, as always, review regularly, revise, and manage.
You don't have to print the plan at all; you can share it on a network or post it to secureplan.com or export to PowerPoint. You can also print, create an electronic document, or export; and in those cases, make sure to use the built-in facility to select only those portions of your plan that are done, or relevant to the matter at hand.