Are Business Plans Just For Investors?

Business planning expert Tim Berry addresses the chorus of recent high-profile articles that treat business planning as an activity focused solely on attracting investment. Duration: 2:28

In Series: Ask Tim Berry

  1. What Sort of Plan Do You Need?
  2. 3 Common Business Planning Questions
  3. How Do I Start A Sales Forecast?
  4. The Elevator Pitch
  5. All Business Plans Are Wrong
  6. Are Business Plans Just For Investors?

« Back to all videos


Forgive me. This is kind of a rant. I'm getting so tired of people writing about business plans as if a business plan is some sort of a sales forecast to sell your company or your idea to investors. That's such a small subset of what business planning is really about. That's why I say a rant. And yet, you see there was another story in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, July 22nd, and it was a good story about five reminders about business plans. But it was entirely focused on business plans as if that's what they were really about, that business plan is like a sales brochure for investors.

That misconception bugs me because so many people dismiss business planning because they think it's hard and they're envisioning this master's thesis-type huge job that if you don't have to do it because you don't need it and you're not going for investors then why would you? In fact, what I say is if you don't like planning your business then keep your day job. Business planning is about goals and objectives and taking the steps and it's basically going to be rewarding and interesting. If you're at all interested in your business, then you want to be thinking through these things.

More important, you want to be reviewing the results so that you can use the business planning process to run your business. Yet, you go and you do a good search on what the journalists, newspapers, business magazines are saying about the business plan, and they're still lost in this 1980s world in which a business plan is a document used to help somebody sell an idea to investors. That's just a shame. That's not what business planning is about, and don't swallow that stuff because you'll miss the opportunity to run your business better. Thank you.

Looking for training videos on Business Plan Pro?
Visit our videos on our company site.

Get the Bplans newsletter:

Expert business tips and advice delivered weekly.