This is what Mike Tyson, the boxing champion and convict of the 1990s, famously said when reflecting on his approach as a successful fighter:
“Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face!”
In many respects Tyson’s observation is also what we experience in business… You make meticulous plans, are asked by your financiers to produce a thorough finance application, and then spend significant effort and time on compiling comprehensive business planning documents. And when the business plan is done, you feel (or perhaps you think you know) that your business will be a huge success!
However, like with Tyson, the plan is soon forgotten when the “fight” is on! When the business starts rolling and unforeseen challenges crawl out of the woodwork, the business plan ends forgotten in the bottom drawer because the ever-changing realities of the business environment are so different from what was anticipated in the plan!
So, you may ask: “Should I then NOT do a business plan?”
The answer is that you should, but not in the format of a thick template like you will do when applying for business finance – this is a finance plan, which you’ll write specifically in accordance to the requirements of your financier! Your business plan should be a short, practical tool for you to use in achieving results with your team.
Easy to understand business plan
Would it not be great to have an easily understandable, yet comprehensive plan for achieving results with your business? What if you could spend under four hours to do your business plan and end with a plan that:
- Clarifies exactly what your business is about and how it supports your life.
- Gives your team a framework to understand their individual contribution to the business success.
- Reflects the dynamic interplay between the fans your business serve and the culture you create inside your business.
- Explains how your good business ideas translate into a healthy flow of transactions.
- Allows continuous improvement through a focus on the next business cycle.
- Does not use stale business school concepts in guiding you to success.
And here comes the good news! There is a tool just right for doing a business plan that clarifies exactly what is to be done next, while allowing for the situation to change and for you to adjust your plans accordingly.
This is the 1-Page Flow Canvas™ Business Plan.
Business plan on just one page
The Flow Canvas™ is a business planning tool applicable to all businesses, irrespective of size and industry.
Think of business planning like artists would when setting out to create great paintings – they start with a clean canvas and a vision of what it is they would like to express. Then, within the confines of the canvas, they produce something of dazzling attraction that connects with the world out there, it gets people to respond and it adds value to their lives. The same applies to business planning where you create a “picture” of a business proposition that will add value to the lives of the audience you serve.
The Flow Canvas™ provides more structure to the “painting” than an artist would – the “planning canvas” is divided into nine areas, with each devoted to a specific question. In answering these questions, you complete the full picture of your business on a single page. The result is displayed on a 1-page plan (an A4 printout) which everyone in the business can refer to in guiding their daily work activities. They can all see what the business is setting out to achieve and how they fit into the picture.
What you can do: