Beth Jervis


What is a Business Plan?

Here are the answers you gave! to the September 2011 BIG Question:



I am a 51 year old man. I should know a business plan, or two. In no
order. A pension plan is a business plan. Policemen aged 49 forced to
retire, that makes me mad. It's mad.

John Cleese said " the only reason I work is so I'll never need to
work again" - I guess he did not envisage a messy divorce late on in
life. Business plan B, he needed.
I worked in a firm of chartered accountants in colourful Jermyn Street
in the Thatcher era, through the unleashed capitalism of the
eighties,- have a look at my employer:
He was a big influence.
He is a puncturer of pomposity, an ingénue prepared to tell the
emperor that he is butt naked.
I think he tried to teach me to interpret the structure of a business
as the relationship between the description of an organisation in
words and in numbers, in simple terms.

I remember an assertive, charismatic business man explain it to me straight:
 " The game is money. The rules are interest rates",
6 weeks later he was serving 2 years in an open prison for defrauding
his shareholders.

Audited financial statements and historical conventional bean
counting, should give the true picture of the business activity, but a
business plan with business forecasting well that's another thing.

A friend of mine said, every minute of free time at university was
taken up with thinking of the fastest way to become wealthy,
His eventual business plan was: " Publish new title consumer
magazines, maximise the circulation and sell to the first lunatic
bidder. He did exactly that and became a multi-millionaire tax exile
at 30.

Another non-business friend said. Treat a large city, eg London as a
giant supermarket. Go straight to what you want ,get lots of it and

On a train once a rich business woman put it simply. " You have got to
find your rabbit to chase" Stayed with me, but to no effect. She was

A successful man said to me : "If you smell money, the slightest
sniff, go to it, grab it and hold on to it." 

But a business plan can be honest, or fraudulent, well meaning or damn
well ridiculous. Truths, lies and all human good intentions, or the
worst of greed and desperation.


My business plan is to buy a house tomorrow. If that plan goes wrong; I'll make a new plan. I suppose business plans need to give you something to think about, something to puzzle over (and solve) and something to do (hopefully to enrich the life of someone, somewhere)... by which at some point during/at the close of the project one feels a sense of satisfaction and of having been part of/completed something good. Was it a Rolling Stone who said 'I can't get no...' (maybe he didn't have a business plan then)


A Business Plan is something you do when you want to find (or usually need to prove to somebody you want to get funding from that you've found) a path through the future that will lead you from the uncertainty of now to a viable (not necessarily profitable) business.

In my experience, they're never as good as you thought when you look back at them with hindsight...


A business plan can be

a - A grand vision of direction which is used to give your employees and colleagues the inspiration to go out and do 'great things'.

b - Its a tool to cover ones own arse and to be able to say, 'I told you so' when it is ignored and the company goes bust.