Barry Lenson of Trump University interviewed me for the Trump Blog today in a piece called The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan. Here's a quick summary, from the interview, of plan-as-you-go business planning:
Planning a business is like planning a trip. You can't expect all the plans you make ahead of time to be set in stone, because things change. Let's say that you planned a trip last month, and that next week you are supposed to fly to Miami. Only a hurricane is about to strike Florida. So of course you'd be foolish to fly there, just because you don't want to change your plans.
But when planning their businesses, people often make plans ahead of time and stick to them, even when it makes no sense any more. Sometimes people don't stop to realize that the business plan they wrote two months ago is no longer working, no longer showing them where they need to go. When things change, you have to wake up and change too.
So that's the mindset. You're excited. You're planning. You don't just have a plan and follow it, no matter what changes take place.
My favorite question was this one: "Since you are the developer of Business Plan Pro, can you offer some objective advice on the best programs to use? TB: I think that biases should be stated ahead of time." My answer:
I am biased! I am proud of Business Plan Pro. I have put a lifetime of experience into the product. It is an ideal tool if you use it in a way that respects your own thinking - you only let it manage the mechanics for you.
The flexibility, plan-as-you-go approach is critical. Because I'll tell you, I writhe in anguish when I see people who just use the program to create a business plan, and then walk away and stop planning.
You are on a computer, after all. You've got navigation. You can move from block to block. You can say, I am tired of working on the mission statement right now, so I will go to the sales forecast. Oops, the sales forecast just told me that I need more cash, so I will now jump to cash.
Business Plan Pro, if well used, lets you do exactly that. I like to think of it as a modern version of one of those old loose-leaf folders where you can pull pages out, insert new ones - do whatever you need to do. But of course it does things that a notebook could never do. You can transfer your data over into a PowerPoint presentation, for example, or print out different documents for your team.
But the beauty of the computer is that things keep changing as you do your Plan-As-You-Go Plan. Your business plan will evolve into something remarkable - a vision that is a reflection of you, your business and your dream.