The e plan

Essay by sypher04 September 2004

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The E-Plan: Your Business Plan Presentation

Business commentators are divided on the ability to effectively plan in the new economy. Some opine that the pace of change is so rapid that it is impossible to plan for the future. Successful companies during this competitive era are preparing clear, flexible business plans that develop their vision of their intended destination. Planning is necessary to develop your vision, but it needs to be flexible. As a result, I am advocating a variation of the traditional business plan that I call the "e-plan."

The e-plan helps you capture your vision while providing a flexible platform for responding to the inevitable changes and shifts in the economy. The new economy is no place for the 100-page business plan that flushes out every conceivable detail. This exercise is not about earning a gold star on your business plan from a difficult teacher or some picky banker.

Rather, it is about capturing your vision in a flexible format that facilitates the execution of your business model -- that is the essence of the e-plan.

Enter The E-Plan

Extensive business plan were often aimed at traditional lenders who wanted to be sure that no stone was left unturned. Chances are that in today's economy, many of the old stones will disappear and be replaced by new ones by the time a conventional business plan is finished.

I was never a fan of the business plan treatise. Supplementary information, such as product circulars and marketing materials, can be included in an appendix, but the narrative part of the plan should be a maximum of 20 pages. The object is not to unearth every conceivable detail but to think through your business model. Few plans are read in their entirety by potential investors, and the new economy requires an...