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New Business Planning Tutorials on This Site!

New Business Planning Tutorials on This Site!

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: October 23, 2009

Do you need a business plan? This is for you. You don’t? But wait a minute, don’t you want to manage your business better? Can you afford not to do your best?

I’m very happy with my business plan tutorials on this site. This is a series of short videos about business planning for every business, not just the ones who have to deliver a business plan to somebody. They’re done for free, plugging no product or service, and available to the public, also free. I hope you find it useful.

Planning for every business? Yes. If you need a business plan to get over some hurdle, this will help you. If you don’t, well, you might not need a formal business plan document to show lenders or investors; but this is about managing your business better. Even if you’re as small as just a single person business, good business planning can help you manage it better.

There is a lot more to gain from planning than just the formal plan. What about a simple plan you can use to track your progress towards goals? What about the discipline of planning that assumes change, sets things down and reviews them regularly, to improve the business?

It doesn’t have to be any harder than what it takes to run the business better. You don’t have to make it a hard-to-do printed document. Leave it on the computer and don’t sweat the writing. Make it just big enough to help you manage.

The business plan tutorials here at business.gov are new since I last posted to The Industry Word. While the video collection does cover that formal business plan document that most of us think of as a business plan, I’m happy to say that it spends a lot more time on business planning the way I’ve come to think of it. That would be plan-as-you-go business planning, meaning a planning process that starts with a simple business plan and evolves into steering your company with a live, regularly reviewed and managed business plan.

This kind of real planning isn’t about a document; it’s about navigation systems for businesses, just big enough to run your business. It doesn’t matter how small your business either – even the solopreneurs among us can steer their one-person businesses better with some practical business planning.

As you get to that page, you’ll see a list of 11 clickable short videos, from introduction at the top to about the presenter down at the bottom. While they do link together as a start-to-finish online workshop of about an hour, they also stand alone fairly well too. The idea is that you browse the titles and make it work for you: follow them in order, or jump to a specific piece.

  • My favorites are the Form Follows Function and Planning is Management sections that remind people that it’s planning that matters, not just the plan; and that good planning assumes change, and manages change. I like these because planning gets a bad rap in a lot of places as people dread the big plan they don’t need, and therefore lose out on the small practical plan that could help them a lot.
  • I like the Strategy section a lot. Try that for an eight-minute review of the absolute core of business strategy.
  • I get a lot of kudos for the Sales Forecast section, which takes a sample new restaurant and explains in detail, step by step, how you might make a sales forecast for that restaurant.
  • And, for those of us who do need or want to create a business plan document, there’s a collection of sections about how to wrap it all up into a good strong business plan document.

I hope you'll pardon me for the own-horn-tooting, because as soon as you go there and start clicking you’ll see me all over the videos, as I talk to you in a series of short videos business planning. But you’ll also see that it’s not a hidden sales pitch or commercial; it’s entirely about business planning. And it’s content I believe in.

About the Author:

Tim Berry
Tim Berry

Guest Blogger

Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at timberry.bplans.com. His collected posts are at blog.timberry.com. Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and www.liveplan.com and books including his latest, 'Lean Business Planning,' 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at leanplan.com .