By Tim Berry |
I believe stories can contain as much or more truth than pure “facts.” Think of the power of the phrases sour grapes, crying wolf, or the emperor’s new clothes. Don’t they tell us something instantly, regardless of historical fact, because we understand the story? My favorite part of an investment pitch or an elevator speech is where the entrepreneur talks about how some ideal customer has a problem and this new business solves it.
Suspend your image of a business plan as a document, for a while, and think of it as a collection of all your stories, combined with concrete specifics or goals that aim to make those stories come true. Essentially, your strategy is the story of you and your business. It tells how and why you started and what you do well. It’s what you like to do. It’s the story of why your customers need what you sell, how they find you and how you give them what they want. It’s the story of how you focus in on the most important parts of the business.
As you imagine what those stories are, break them down into meaningful, trackable parts. Set tasks associated with those stories, assign tasks to people and give them dates. Think about your long-term objectives story. Are you looking for wealth and fame, or to do what you like? What does success look like to you? Is it getting financed and making millions, or taking off at 4 p.m. to coach your kids’ soccer team?