Carefully Crafted on December 13

Why I’ve Never Written a Business Plan

When I was preparing to launch Geben Communication, I read lots of articles that suggested writing a formal business plan —a three- to five-year description of the purpose of our agency, how I would go about finding clients, our market share, financial metrics, and on and on. But I have a confession: I never did it!

I thought then — and still believe today —  that any business plan I wrote at that time would’ve  been based on false assumptions and untruths … and that it would be completely irrelevant six months in.

Instead, I stuck to my roots and wrote a PR plan for Geben. That was something I knew that I could do well and that I knew would work for me. After all, PR best practices are what I preach to clients every day, and I know that it’s good advice. I was certain that if I followed a well-conceived PR plan, I would attract the right kind of clients.

That worked then, but what about now? I recently had someone recommend to me again that it’s time to create a five to ten-year plan. Call me crazy, but this still doesn’t feel right to me! With the growth mode that Geben is in right now, I’m certain that any plan I took the time to sit down and right would become quickly outdated. What’s the value in that? Is it truly the best use of my time for my business?

That’s not to say that there’s not extensive business planning going on at Geben right now. At last month’s #GebTogether, we rolled out a three-year action plan to achieve some specific goals before Geben turns 10. And as we grow our Chicago office, we’re intentionally implementing the same kind of long-term PR plan as I used when first launching Geben in Columbus. I’m constantly thinking about our long-term vision, which remains rooted in the House Rules that we live by and train our newest team members in every day—but none of these planning processes have resulted in a formal, written document.

I know that many business owners have written a formalized, long-term business plan and have gained great value from that. But for now, at least, I don’t think I’ll be joining them.

Fellow business owners, did you write a formal plan for your business? How often do you update it, and what value did you get from the process? Tweet me @prtini or share your thoughts in the comments below.

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