I’m often at odds with others in industries I work in. It’s not that I’m trying to be a pain in the neck, although that is often the side effect of some of my ideas and opinions. My guess is today’s video is probably going to push a few buttons of others in two of the industries I work. And, it’ll likely even push buttons with anybody who provides advice.

The reason for that is, today’s video is about why I believe plans are totally useless, but planning is not and in fact, that’s where all the juice is. So today, we’re gonna talk about why planning is where it’s at and why I never, never, never want you to actually to do a formal plan as in the traditional sense.


Transcript

I’m often at odds with others in industries I work in. It’s not that I’m trying to be a pain in the neck, although that is often the side effect of some of my ideas and opinions. My guess is today’s video is probably going to push a few buttons of others in two of the industries I work. And, it’ll likely even push buttons with anybody who provides advice.

The reason for that is, today’s video is about why I believe plans are totally useless, but planning is not and in fact, that’s where all the juice is. So today, we’re gonna talk about why planning is where it’s at and why I never, never, never want you to actually to do a formal plan as in the traditional sense.

Hi, I’m Josh Patrick, the founder of Stage 2 Planning Partners and the Sustainable Business. I’m also the one who’s responsible for putting together our Cracking the Cash Flow Code Program as well as the author of Sustainable: A Fable About Creating a Personally and Economically Sustainable Business.

So, get your rock throwing arms ready, we’re about to dig in.

We’ll start off with what I think the problem with plans are.

  • A plan is usually out of date before they’re even done and even printed on the paper they’re put on. Here in the financial service business, you do a financial plan for somebody, it doesn’t take much for that to be thrown way out of whack. If I’m doing a five year plan for a business, I can tell you that if I’m planning for more than 90 days out, there’s a pretty good chance I’m gonna have to be making some changes before that. When you write a long plan out, you know what happens?
  • You actually believe that what you’ve written down is actually going to happen.
  • Ya know, all plans have too many things that can go wrong or change along the way.
  • The bigger the plan is, the longer the plan is, more likely that’s gonna happen. Here’s the thing I see with most plans that are written and I don’t care what type of plan. It could be a business plan, it could be a financial plan, it could be an estate plan, it could be any sort of plan that you can think of and it ends up being 20 pages and more and because it’s so long and so detailed, there’s a good chance you’re not gonna look at it again. If you happen to look at it again, I can almost promise you that your employees will not look at it.

I used to own a food service and vending company and about three or four years in, I decide, ya know, I should probably write a business plan for myself. So I found some software to take me through the zillion questions about all the things I need to do to run a business plan for my business. When it was done, I was very proud of it. It was 90 pages long, incredibly detailed, lots of information about it, lot of graphs, lots of charts, lots of everything in there except for one problem. After I wrote it, I put it on the shelf. I handed it out to all my managers. They put it on their shelves. None of us pulled that plan out and looked at it again.

Then, the next year, we went and did the process again. But instead of 90 pages, I got it down to a mere 50 pages. Same thing happened. Nobody looked at it. Then, the next year we went out, we got it down to 20 pages. Guess what. Even at 20 pages, nobody looked at it. Finally, in the fifth year, we got it down to a four page plan and it became a document we used at every single planning meeting and because it was four pages long, when we needed to make changes in the plan because of the plan needing process we were going through, it was easy to do, it wasn’t a big thing and nobody put it aside and said, “Ugh, I don’t wanna do about it.”

So, here’s what I love about planning.

  • Planning is an active process. It’s something that we keep doing and keep doing and keep doing.
  • When you’re doing planning, you have a regular review going on where you make adjustments to your plan.
  • If there are any reports at all, they tend to be short. Just think about my four page business plan.
  • Now, when you’re doing planning, you have the opportunity to make adjustments. You’re not as likely to feel boxed in by what you’re doing.
  • You get to experiment. You get to see what works best and you get to make these small adjustments on a regular basis about what’s going.
  • In the world of software, there is two types of planning. There’s agile planning which is sometimes known as scrum. There’s waterfall planning, which is where you try to plan your entire project at once. Now here’s the problem with waterfall planning. I’ve talked about this before. With waterfall planning, you have lots of dependencies on one another and if one of those dependencies happens to go out of sync and they always go out of sync, your whole plan is now off. When you’re doing agile planning, you’re planning for short periods of time, you have a chance to make adjustments, you have a chance to go back and see what worked and what didn’t work so you’re less likely to waste a lot of time putting a plan together that’s never gonna be used.

So there you have it. I hope you decide you want to be a planning ninja and stay away from the formal planning process. Not the formal planning process, but putting together a formal plan. Now remember, planning is crucial ’cause if you don’t actually spend some time thinking about where you wanna go, you’re never gonna get there. But if you write these long plans that are incredibly detailed, I can promise you, things are fall all whack, people aren’t gonna look at your plan, you’re not gonna look at your plan. It’s not a living document, it’s a dead document. I want you to have things that are living so you’re willing to make adjustments along the way.

Oh, and while you’re at it, why don’t you download our ebook on four tiered budgeting. It’s a simplified method of budgeting that focuses on iterating and making changes you want. Also, scroll down, leave a comment below about what you think about planning versus plans and I’d love to see what you have to say.

This is Josh Patrick. Thanks for stopping by the Sustainable Business. I hope to see you back here really soon.

Topics: financial freedom, Video, Sustainable Business, business growth, business plans, business planning tools, business planning, business planning template, business planning process

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