As you know if you’ve read any of my previous posts, I’m a big proponent of the business planning process for entrepreneurial designers. Despite how painful it can be for creative thinkers to complete, the business plan is an absolutely vital tool when, inevitably, we need to pitch our ideas to the non-creative “majority.” There is no shortage of resources, templates and guides for b-plans, the problem is that most of them are outrageously lame: overly complex, rigid, redundant, and (of course) horribly designed.
I’ll continue to revisit this topic periodically, but for now, I want to point you to Tim Berry, who writes, speaks and blogs extensively about business planning (I referred to him in an earlier post along with Guy Kawasaki). Berry is the founder of Palo Alto Software, which creates Business Plan Pro software (which I have never tried—let me know if you have experience with BPP) and author of many books, most recently The Plan-as-You-Go Business Plan.
This short video is an interview with Berry that gives a good overview of his thinking.
What I like about Tim Berry is that he is not rigid in his approach to business planning. He offers a basic structure but insists that the plan really needs to work for you, not vice versa, hence there are many forms it can take. His mantra that “business plans are always wrong” is a refreshing approach that highlights the organic nature of the planning process he endorses. This will resonate with designers because it allows us to be creative with the process and format of the plan—essentially, to treat the business plan as a design project (aha! more on this another time).
Here’s a link to Tim Berry’s blog (he blogs for many different outlets, but his own version seems to be the best).
More on business planning to come!