I’m all for continual learning, and was happy to hear a friend telling me about his entering a Masters of Public Administration program at the Wayne Huizenga School of Business. Good for him – it will be a lot of work, and he’s doing it for the right reasons – knowledge first, piece of paper second.
Seth Godin recently posted on the topic of 30 business books that having been read equal an MBA. Tongue in cheek, of course, but you get the point. I’d certainly put a book on business planning from the prolific Fast Forward MBA series on the list. The book is Fast Forward MBA in Business Planning and Growth by Philip Walcoff, is 240 (small) pages short, and is the most effective resource I’ve seen on bridging the all-too-common gap between what I’ll call planning for operations, strategic planning and the “traditional” (i.e. “we’re looking for money and need one”) business plan.
One of the key tenets of this book is that strategic planning and action planning/ops can’t really be separate endeavours – they have to be integrated. I agree. During the Tech hey-day, companies thought they could write a couple of points on a cocktail napkin and *poof* get funded. Some in our company thought it was that easy (to be fair, they had a very vocal outsider in their ear whispering that point). And, to be fair, a few companies DID get funded on cocktail-napkin business plans. Which didn’t do a damned thing to help their business, their employees or their investors! With the plan you can easily generate from this three-step methodology, you’ll have a tool to help you better manage and grow your business, and if you need something to raise money from, this will be way more helpful than that cocktail napkin!
The planning methodology in this book is very simple to understand, and not much more difficult to implement. The concepts can apply to businesses of nearly any size, and I’ve seen it effectively implemented in two small businesses. If you’re interested in the topic, spend the 15 bucks or so and give it a read.