Fluidity or Structure in a Business Plan?

July 6, 2023by Jeffrey Davis

As a former CPA once wisely advised me, “To get ahead, you must plan ahead.” I find merit in this statement, albeit with a recognition that success stories often emerge from trial and error. Striking a balance between structured planning and adaptability is key.

Flexibility within a business plan is paramount because it enables responsiveness to market shifts and unforeseen events. An overly rigid plan may fail to accommodate new information or changing circumstances, potentially resulting in missed opportunities or setbacks. By integrating flexibility into the plan, adjustments can be made promptly, reflecting new data or evolving market conditions. This adaptability not only keeps a business competitive but also instills confidence in investors or stakeholders, demonstrating the business’s ability to respond to change.

While fluidity is crucial, structured planning has its merits. A well-structured plan offers several advantages, including:

  1. Clarity: It provides a clear roadmap for achieving business goals, ensuring alignment among team members.
  2. Accountability: Team members can be held responsible for their roles, promoting unity in pursuing objectives.
  3. Predictability: It establishes a defined path to success, outlining steps and timelines for key milestones.
  4. Investor Confidence: A well-structured plan showcases a clear vision and strategy, boosting investor confidence.

Fluid and structured plans have their pros and cons, and various business planning approaches have emerged from this tension. Yet, they are not mutually exclusive. The ideal plan combines both elements, with structure forming the foundation upon which fluidity thrives. This synergy allows for agility, enabling businesses to pivot and challenge assumptions effectively.

Consider Bruce Lee’s wisdom that the highest degree of form is formlessness. It underscores the importance of creating healthy business practices, fostering a positive work culture, and maintaining effective communication. Focus on documenting activities and setting sensible goals. These practices establish a strong foundation.

When successful individuals make tasks appear effortless and fluid, it’s because they’ve built a solid foundation by establishing healthy habits. They’ve mastered these habits, enabling them to pivot and adapt when unforeseen challenges arise. Just as a martial artist hones techniques for years before executing them fluidly, businesses benefit from a strong foundation.

Prioritize the process over the end product. Embrace discomfort and learning. Developing good habits and shedding unhealthy ones takes time. Be patient with yourself and the process.