The Business Plan is Dead, Tell Your Story

When I attended Babson College, a leading educator of entrepreneurship, the business plan was the holy grail of tools required for launching a new venture. I’ve held onto and used my old textbook, “New Venture Creation” by Jeffry Timmons so much over the years that even duct tape couldn’t keep it held together. While the book still serves as a great guide, the need to labor over a lengthy, elaborate plan to move forward is not. The business plan is dead, RIP. Carpal tunnel sufferers rejoice! In its place is the need for a good story.

Why? Our fast-paced world won’t wait for extensive writing of plans. Can you imagine a new venture in technology taking time out to write a complete and through analysis before acting? A Time out equates to left out. Nobody – not customers, competitors or investors – will be waiting. The plan risks being dead on arrival.

Instead, a new formula for success involves a thoughtful combination of storytelling and action. Tell a story that conveys the real meaning and value behind your business. By sharing the “why you do what you do” story, you’ll lend credibility to your idea and convey the opportunity in a way that people (investors! customers!) can immediately relate with and understand. At Babson today, instead of elaborate year-long efforts to write a business plan, you’ll find students immersed in what they call “Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®.” Business plan writing’s mostly been replaced by rocket pitches so they can get on with the show: testing and trial of their ideas in a real-world environment.

Women Entrepreneurs: want to learn more? I’ll be participating and leading a workshop at the We.aRe Women’s Entrepreneurship Retreat in Monterey, CA on March 9-11th to help you craft and strengthen your brand story. Join us for a 3-day Summit to connect with other early stage entrepreneurs in a supportive community where we’ll help each other build big visions and strengthen our skills to execute them. To learn more visit We.Are or drop me a note at [email protected]. Hope to see you there!

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