The Death Of The Business Plan And Your Sales Plans

I recently read the 2015 update to Art of the Start. Guy Kawasaki (currently framing himself as Evangelist Author Speaker) preaches that the business plan is no more. In its place the business pitch now rules.

This is happily bad news for expensive hired hands who thieve cash from embryonic firms by “consulting” their contribution to such a treasured scripture for the new venture.

You might think this would also be good news for many a rep-turned-founder. Surely most – all? – of such species revel in their reputation for “winging it”. Less written work, more fun stuff. Like talking. Like letting people wallow in the enjoyment of hearing their voice for lengthy periods that soon the whole world will be baying to join in the basking.


“business plans are no longer necessary”

So runs one of his themes from Chapter 6; The Art Of Pitching.

I was so pleased to read this. A business services firm way back was putting together a package of all the things a brand new business needed. They majored on the regulatory and administrative requirements. They asked me what I thought a freshly formed endeavour could also do with. My answer then:

“A customer”.

So you can imagine my smile at his line;

“You shouldn’t write a business plan. You should get customers.”

I myself have deployed his previously suggested headings for a pitch on a one-page business plan. Hewn from suffering many tiresome hours listening to startups ineffectively pitch him; Executive Summary – Problem – Solution – Business Model – Underlying Magic – Marketing & Sales – Competition – Team – Projections – Status and Timeline – (Conclusion).

Two columns. Half-dozen rows. A pic (preferably of the problem, but better of a happy paying punter with problem solved). A couple of cells can have single words, or just two or three. The rest hold bullets for each of his headings. Oh, and I do like a graph. Although avoiding standard wizard-made pies or bars (see my instagram feed for more striking alternatives).

This is not intended as your presentation slides merely shrunk to all fit on a solitary sheet.

Your “preso” should flow more like a play rather than regurgitate textbook chapters.

I wholeheartedly agree with Guy Kawasaki. The business plan is dead.

Moribund in its olde 20th Century format.

I summed up on one new product salesteam launch lately with a good old triangle. (For which I unashamedly used a pic of the wonderful tetrahedrons of Conrad Shawcross).

Problem Proof Provision

The idea of an alt ‘3 Ps’ for Sales there was to hammer home you must start with recognition of the problem that you resolve. Before showing how you’d nailed it. Then finally reassuring delivery and ultimate successful deployment by the client.

Alright, yes, a business plan does answer more aspects.

Yet today should they be as common as a documented Sales Territory or Account Plan? When did you last see one of those?

Even so, whether approaching a new market, patch or product, there’s a simple one-sheet framework that shows you’re thinking clearly. And crucially, can be refined upon presenting and living.

I’d recommend crafting you own page of wonder for as solid a start as you can get.

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