It’s National Write a Business Plan Month! Show of hands, how many businesses out there have a formal business plan? (Yes, nonprofit organizations I’m talking to you too.)
Now. How many business leaders out there are running their business according to the plan that is only in their head?
Mm hm. That’s what I thought.
Writing a business plan is tedious and it is foundational and necessary. Whether the business plan is for internal use only, to share with external stakeholders such as potential partners, or to seek financing, a business plan is essential.
Business owners/founders/leaders may have a proprietary sense when it comes to the business plan and think it is something that they must own and control, meaning they do it on their own or only with discrete input from certain team members. Others may delegate it to a single person on the team because it isn’t something that the business leader identifies as not holding significance and instead sees it as perfunctory.
At Atrómitos, we begin working on ours as a team starting in October of each year. In the early years, I did this on my own. Then I realized that was dumb. I have incredibly brilliant people on the team whose perspective, knowledge, and experience I highly respect and appreciate. Now, business planning is a company-wide collaborative process.
And to make the case for you, I leveraged that same collaborative spirit and asked my team to identify what they saw as the benefits to making business planning a truly team effort:
- Diverse perspectives help ensure that the plan addresses all aspects of the business, leading to a more comprehensive and robust plan.
- Alignment of the strategic plan, marketing plan, and business development is assured by an integrated planning process that occurs naturally because of diverse engagement.
- Collaborative planning efforts create buy-in among staff from top to bottom, ensuring more successful execution of the plan.
- Shared responsibility helps spread the work, ensuring that no one member of the team holds the burden of all aspects of the plan, which can be overwhelming and exhausting.
- Engagement across the full team will help identify potential operational challenges that can be addressed through the planning process rather than during the execution process.
- Workforce development through engagement of team members at all levels in the organization, enabling learning and growth opportunities for those who may not otherwise be involved in company strategy, operations, and business development.
Yes, through this process, you will hear things you don’t want to. Best get over that now because those are the things you probably NEED to hear. You will have to make changes and accommodations that make you grumble. A little grumbling now may save you from HUGE headaches later when you uncover a problem that could have been averted. Plain and simple there is no reason not to engage in collaborative planning! It will make your company better. As I’ve said before, don’t fear the knowledge.
Michealle Gady, JD, is Founder and President of Atromitos, LLC, a boutique consulting firm headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina. Atromitos works with a variety of organizations from health payers and technology companies, to community-based organizations and nonprofits but their work reflects a singular mission: creating healthier, more resilient, and more equitable communities. Michealle takes nearly 20 years’ experience in health law and policy, program design and implementation, value-based care, and change management and puts it to work for Atromitos’ partners who are trying to succeed during this time of dramatic transformation within the U.S. healthcare system. Outside of leading the Atromitos team, Michealle serves as a Board Member for both the Cape Fear Literacy Council and A Safe Place and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and American Health Law Association.