Later on, I asked the speaker what he meant by a business plan. As he started to explain, he and I both started to realize that it was not the written copy of the business plan that he was trying to get across as a secret to his success. It was something else, something far subtler, something I had suspected myself but was not quite sure about it yet.
Over the years, through trial and error in my own business and in working with other businesses, I have figured out the truth. The truth is not so earth shattering. It is quite simple. So simple in fact, that if I told you, you would say you already knew it.
Here it is: The secret to business success is not in a written copy of a business plan.
The secret is not in the business plan. It’s in the process of writing the business plan. It’s not in a stack of beautifully bound paper with exciting pictures, graphs and charts. It is in the hearts and minds of the people who wrote it. It’s not in the eloquently laid out arguments, written to convince the reader of the viability of the business. It’s in the expression of our deepest essence, of our hearts and our souls and our minds.
Actually, the important thing is not what people do to the business plan. It’s what the business plan does to the people who wrote it.
Ultimately, the real business plan is written not on a stack of paper but on the psyche of the people behind the business.
Such a business plan is as dynamic as the people who are behind the business. It evolves with the people in the business. It can pass on from person to person. Ultimately, it can outlive those who originally “wrote” it.
Such a business plan is enduring, dynamic and potent.
A successful process of writing a business plan transforms people from mediocre performers to engaged, passionate agents of change.