Do you have a plan for your company for the next year? For two years? For five years?
Are you happy with your business plan? Is the growth you sketched there is the one you are dreaming of?
Now, do you know what will happen in the world in a year from now? In two years? If I asked you to describe me the world and your industry in five years from now would you be able to do it? I probably would not.
We write a business plan right now for five years, not knowing what will happen in the world in the next five years. Today’s business plan belongs to today. It has your today’s expertise, today’s thoughts, today’s market conditions, today’s possibilities. Writing a plan today and sticking with it for the future means not improving, means putting your company and yourself in the box of the past. It means lacking perspective.
I have looked over many business plans for startups and small companies. They are realistic. And this is exactly what is wrong with them. They are not based on progress, improvement and creativity. They predict numbers that are realistic, but probably not the ones you really want. Why are you scared to make the future? We have a lot of average products and companies because they stick to the business plans based on average growth numbers of today, plans based on what we know now. With our plans we educate ourselves that the future will not be different from today. We do not expect it to be different. And we act accordingly. We project what we have now into the future instead of creating something new. A new approach, a new way of communicating, a new way of producing, a new way of organizing a process, a new way of managing.
The future is amazing. You cannot really imagine what will happen in the next five years at the speed that everything is changing. Why set yourself for the past? Why not be creative with your company, with your business plan? Why not start from how you want the future to be? In your most courageous dreams how do you see the future of your industry, the future of your company in five years from now? How would you share the information then, how would you communicate, how would you get new customers, how would you make a product for the future? Put your heart into it. Write your ideas down. Keep writing. Set a path for your company to walk towards this future. A path, not a plan. A path is more like a direction. On your way you will find obstacles you were not aware of, and you will deal with them. And it is fine. You will be able to. However, you will avoid doing things that are obsolete, that need to be done only because they are part of the plan.
You have big dreams. Dream. Think future. Do not override these dreams with a realistic business plan based on today, far away from where you really want to get. Set a goal that you are truly satisfied with. A goal that you love, that you want to work for. You do not know how to get there yet? Well, you also do not know how to get to the top of the mountain when you look at it from the pasture. This does not mean you can’t get there. Follow your intuition, walk, do not stop. You will do some wrong turns, but you will correct yourself, because you will always be focused on your ultimate goal. You know it is up there and you will not loose it out of sight.
I will be honest. I do not have a strict business plan. I have a dream. I set the direction. I am firm in getting there, I know what I have to do today to follow the path. Tomorrow I will be creative. I will find new solutions. Tomorrow I will live in tomorrow.
Note: This post has a lot of questions. And I really do not have the right answers. The questions here are the ones I ask myself too.
Barcelona, March 10th 2013