I have the opportunity to speak with business owners from around the world and more frequently, the subject of business plans is being brought to my attention - are they worth it? Are they even relevant anymore? I know that when we bring on a new client it's one of the first things the client shares with us, but do we need it? Not always....
There is an emerging trend and discussion that business plans may no longer be even necessary - I suppose it's somewhat pliable given the growing number of income models, hyper -trends and a more vicious consumer landscape.
Yet I do still agree that any company worth its weight should and must have a core business plan in order to flush out the general viability of a business idea - Market size, historical trends, financial needs and projections have value and many uses. But at the end of the day - isn't it just anyone's best guess whether or not that product will really "hit the nail on the head"?
I would LOVE to see more HYBRID Business + Communication Plans which delve a little more deeply into the consumer behaviours, current marketing trends and consumer engagement. Don't they just go together like PB & J?
Don't tell me who you'll "go after" but how you'll "attain and maintain" the appropriate type of customer.
And think - Isn't that what investors want to know too?
PR and communications too often gets put on the backburner as an afterthought - when in fact, they are the FIRST to be called on when such "flexibility" and agility is needed to adapt to an ever changing market place.
I'm not discounting "market predictions" and "purchase trends" - but that means nothing when you have a totally unique product for a totally unique type of customer. Each bringing their own patterns, beliefs and preferences to the marketplace. THAT is where the understanding needs to lie, not solely on numbers.
So instead of investing solely in the BP process - start ups would be wise to include a Communications strategist on that team.
I'd like to thank thank Steve Samson and his Corporate Finance blog post for this article topic idea and for getting me on a rant! :)