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Business Plan Execution. Get Specific.

Business plan execution specifics

The business plan execution specifics are my favorite part of business planning, and especially lean business planning. This is the real plan, what’s actually going to happen. It includes at least these four elements:

Review Schedule. Make sure you schedule monthly plan review sessions in advance. Think of something like the third Thursday of every month. Even if it’s just you. Click here for more on this.

Identifying and Listing Assumptions. When assumptions change, the plan should change. If you don’t list your assumptions then you don’t know. Identity and list your business plan assumptions so you can refer back to them. It’s the key to knowing when to change the plan and when to stay the course. Click here for more on this.

Milestones. List specific activities, responsibilities, tasks, dates, deadlines, and budgets. We humans work better towards specific concrete goals, like reaching some number, or some event, that we can keep track of. Click here for more on this.

Metrics. Devise specific performance metrics that can be measured, tracked, and managed. These are numbers that people can see and compare. Click here for more on this.

These business plan execution specifics are the key to making a business plan useful. Remember, it’s steering your business that matters.

“Good business plans are nine parts execution for every one part strategy.” — Tim Berry

“Measure the value of a plan by the execution it causes.” — Tim Berry

“What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done.”

List Business Plan Assumptions

business plan assumptions list

Identify and list business plan assumptions. You will get real business benefits from the assumptions list in your business plan. Planning is about managing change, and in today’s world, change happens very fast. Assumptions solve the dilemma about managing consistency over time, without banging your head against a brick wall.

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Assumptions might be different for each company. There is no set list. What’s best is to think about those assumptions as you build your twin action plans.

If you can, highlight product-related and marketing-related assumptions. Keep them in separate groups or separate lists.

You will use your business plan assumptions often

The key here is to be able to identify and distinguish, later (during your regular reviews and revisions, in Section 3), between changed assumptions and the difference between planned and actual performance. You don’t truly build accountability into a planning process until you have a good list of assumptions that might change.

Some of these business plan assumptions assumptions go into a table, with numbers, if you want. For example, you might have a table with interest rates if you’re paying off debt, or tax rates, and so on.

Many assumptions deserve special attention. Have a bullet point list. Maybe in slides. Maybe just a simple list. Keep them on top of your mind, where they’ll come up quickly at review meetings.

Maybe you’re assuming starting dates of one project or another, and these affect other projects. Contingencies pile up. Maybe you’re assuming product release, or seeking a liquor license, or finding a location, or winning the dealership, or choosing a partner, or finding the missing link on the team.

Maybe you’re assuming some technology coming on line at a certain time. You’re probably assuming some factors in your sales forecast, or your expense budget; if they change, note it, and deal with them as changed assumptions. You may be assuming something about competition. How long do you have before the competition does something unexpected? Do you have that on your assumptions list?

An Assumptions Example

The illustration below shows the simple assumptions in the bicycle shop sample business plan.

Sample List of Assumptions