Simplicity and Business Plans - dummies

By Kenneth Boyd, Lita Epstein, Mark P. Holtzman, Frimette Kass-Shraibman, Maire Loughran, Vijay S. Sampath, John A. Tracy, Tage C. Tracy, Jill Gilbert Welytok

You know what KISS stands for: Keep it simple, stupid. Used in the marketing world for years, the concept of KISS also applies to business plans. When developing a business plan, be as clear and direct as possible. Summarize the data, use images and graphs wherever necessary to illustrate points, and present clear directives for moving forward.

And follow the credo “When in doubt, leave it out.” That is, if information isn’t essential to making a point, omit it. Don’t make the end user of the business plan sift through it to extract meaning.

If you’re an executive or owner of a business, you must be able to understand the big picture and the key economic drivers of your company’s success in order to prepare proper business plans, strategies, and, ultimately, forecasts. The ability to understand and positively affect the key economic drivers of your business and empower the management team to execute the business plan represents the end game.

Getting lost in excessive amounts of detail (“Why did you spend an extra $500 on the trip to Florida?”) generally isn’t the best use of senior management’s time, because every level of detail adds more and more complexity to the plan, which can get overwhelmed with TMI (too much information).