Some people find the term 'business plan' intimidating. What would you rename it? (asked 5 December 2011)
Besides the obvious, the value of a business plan also comes from keeping entrepreneurial team members and partners/vendors/investors all "on the same page." But everybody involved might have different knowledge and different access to information. A business plan should (at least) be more allowed to change, as the diversity of its writers (or "ideators") increases.
The word "plan" can also mean different levels of rigidity to different people. Some people might be very focused on sticking to the plan, to the point of throwing good money after bad, while others recognize that plans are alive and bound to change, and that these changes should be reflected in an evolving document. Ideally, everyone on the management or entrepreneurial team should have the same level of sensitivity (or at least level of appreciation) to making changes.
Thus, the terminology "business plan" itself is less important than the *organizational process* by which a business plan can be allowed to evolve.
Using document collaboration software (where you can backtrack through the editing history). Using tracking in MS Word before finalizing changes. Naming the first final version of the Business Plan "version 1" or "version 1.01" to recognize the possibility that it might change. Such policy considerations are important to allow for changes if they are prescribed, whether or not they are made anyways.
And so the term "business plan" is also less important than the *technological process* by which a business plan can be allowed to evolve.
Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (University of Amsterdam).