The Basics of Business Plans (and why they are dead):‘…and Death Came Third!’ 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Ten years ago, in 2006, Peter Roper and Andy Lopata published the first edition of ‘…and Death Came Third! The Definitive Guide to Networking and Speaking in Public’ on Bookshaker. The book was a big success with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Panoma Press published the second edition in 2011 and negotiated a separate edition published in Malaysia and Singapore.

We have consistently been amazed by the affection held for ‘…and Death Came Third!’ by many readers, reflected by the emails and comments we have received from people from a range of backgrounds. The book focuses on the basics of networking and presentation skills, giving readers simple approaches to working the room at networking events or giving their first talk.

To celebrate this, we have got together with our network to provide a series of short ‘Basics’ blogs. Over the month of September Andy, Peter and Panoma Press owner Mindy Gibbins-Klein will share a guest blog every day exploring the basics of business, from the basics of confidence and attitude to negotiation and strategy. We have also made the Kindle edition of this excellent book just £1.99 or $2.99 throughout September, so if you haven’t read it yet, get your copy now!

Today Strategy Man Deri Llewellyn-Davies shares The Basics Of Business Plans (and why they are dead:

Do you have a business plan?

Does the mere thought send a shiver of fear through you?

Do you love writing them, only to find they don’t really get read or implemented?

Let’s talk about the basics, why the traditional business plan is dead, and why one page methodologies are the new business planning tools for the new age of business. After all, if we’re honest, the executive summary is the only page people read anyway.

And before you cry, “But surely Deri, you still need them for banks!”

Nope. I’ve raised millions over the last decade using presentation decks (PowerPoint or equivalent presentations)  accompanied by the numbers (i.e., excel spreadsheets). They are efficient, effective and much more palatable.

So here are the top 6 basics on why writing a business plan is dead.

1. The Speed of Business: The moment you write a business plan it is out of date. The world and industries around us are changing. Fast. We need an agile tool, one that can adapt to the consistently changing environment.

2. Business plans are not executed: Having seen thousands of business plans while advising clients who are trying to raise investment funds, people just don’t do what they laboriously wrote about. Sadly, most of the great ideas don’t move into execution. If the plan doesn’t have execution built into it the whole thing becomes an intellectual exercise. Instead, I choose execution.

3. It’s not part of the culture: Business plans very often forget the people, the very culture that they are meant to function within. Without culture woven into the fabric of the plan I believe we miss one of the most important assets and also our biggest competitive advantage. It can also lead to making decisions without considering the impact on culture, short term decision making is done in sacrifice of long term culture.

4. They miss the WHY: Business Plans very rarely get to the core purpose that will keep people motivated and inspired. I won’t start or support any new venture without the WHY being defined and included in the plan. Most business plans are predominantly about the WHAT.

5. They also miss the NOW: Across all areas of business, the execution should be brought from year, to quarter, to month, to this present moment. It is essential to create a plan that explains how to execute but what to do right now.

6. Business plans tend to be one-dimensional: It is rare for a business plan to cover all areas of the spectrum of strategy—Marketing, Sales, Operations, Cash and Talent—they are usually biased toward the specialty area the author is biased in. This is usually operations since most businesses are run by technician business owners.

The good news is you don’t need them any more. Instead you can use one page methodologies which encompass all of the above.

One of which is Strategy on a PageTM.

All dimensions of strategy, purpose, vision and values are covered, whilst also taking strategy through long term, medium term  and short term objectives and the all important numbers to execute on and measure them by are followed every single month.

This is the new tool for the new age of business. Get your entire organization onto the same page, literally, and watch how your culture and bottom line are transformed.

You are invited to download the best selling book, Strategy on a Page, for free at

Deri Llewellyn-Davies is an internationally acclaimed TEDx speaker, author, adventurer and entrepreneur who is transforming lives around the world with his core message of No Regrets. He uses his signature Strategy on a PageTM methodology to demystify strategic concepts and enable audiences to leave with valuable, practical and actionable principles they can  apply immediately.


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