Which Business Planning Book Should I Read?
What’s a good business planning book to read? I skimmed and read as many business…
What’s a good business planning book to read? I skimmed and read as many business planning books I could carry out of the library and came to the conclusion that there really isn’t a one size fits all business planning book. So, the important part of choosing a book is to figure out what your needs are and grab the book that most closely matches those needs.
To start off with, what is the plan all about? They aren’t scary. They’re basically a resume for a company. My favorite definition was from Sharon L. Fuller in How to Write a Great Business Plan for Your Small Business in 60 Minutes or Less.
“A good business plan contains dreams and ideas backed by facts and figures in a standardized format.”
I designed a business plan book comparison table to help pick a book. Here’s how to read the table.
Page design is my impression on how easy it is to read the book. Did I have to squint? Are the pages broken up with headers and paragraphs or is the book one long stream of tiny text? A rating of one means that the book is easy to look at and read. A rating of five means “The formatting of this book makes it difficult to read and detracts from the content.”
Depth of detail
The category “Depth of detail” refers to how “in depth” the book covers its topics. A rating of one means “This book goes into great detail on exactly what the topic is including how to read it and how to make it.” A rating of five means that the book glosses over some of the topics and just gives a basic definition.
A check mark means that the book covers the topic; a dash means the book did not cover the topic.
Topics that should be covered are what is a business plan, why make one, and what are the elements of one.
Then, the books go into the elements of the plan. Typical elements include an executive summary, business description, products and services, target markets, competition, strategic position, management, personnel, resumes, technology, profit and loss statements, sales forecasts, cash flow, milestones, and a risk assessment section.
Another consideration is if the book has worksheets in it. Worksheets can make the process easier, like “filling in the blanks.”
Here’s the business planning book table. Click on the smaller orange and white table to see a larger, easier-to-read version.