Business plans are like wills, nobody wants to do them but we all talk about how important they are. Simply having a mission statement, description of your product/services, competitive analysis, and a first year’s budget in Excel is a good start.
Some say that agility is more important than planning — but I would argue it’s two different things.
Business Agility is something that itself must be planned for.
If you want to run a lean, agile, and adaptive business then make it integral to your plan to be agile.
By “Planning” I don’t mean that you conform to a rigid business methodology at this stage. I mean that you immediately seize control of your situation and no longer be a victim of circumstance. This is the essence of starting as an Entrepreneur.
To be in control, as in navigation, you must know your heading, your destination, and how fast you need to get there. Systematically avoiding/removing icebergs and getting the ship (company) to your destination (goals) is your basic job description as CEO.
From these facts — heading, speed, destination — you can deduce the means and route to get there. The need for funding, staff, revenue, location, product etc. will all be driven from these early definitions.
So to succeed you need to start with as crystal clear of a vision as you can muster at this early phase. The first artifact can be a well thought-through mission statement, a reason for your company to not only exist, but a mission that you feel *must* be fulfilled. It is from this starting point that all other decisions should flow.
For *every* business decision from that point can be answered with the question “Does this best serve the company mission?” Doing always that which drives forward your mission will result in fulfilling the promise to the customer and marketplace that is the key to success of all great businesses.
So any other approach than having a plan for the company you want to build means you risk being a victim of circumstance, reactive not proactive, and ultimately you will struggle to succeed and drive your business forward. Over time like a rudderless ship, your company can drift and misalign with the customer, be unable to scale or delegate because each layer adds confusion without a keystone company mission, inability to clearly state your value proposition, and waste time and money on dead end initiatives.