One of the key concepts from my first book, The Start-Up of You (which I wrote with Ben Casnocha) is the ABZ planning framework. While the book came out nearly a decade ago, in this 2020 year of extreme change and uncertainty, ABZ planning is more relevant than ever.
The core insight of the book is that, like entrepreneurs, companies and individuals need to develop the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. The ABZ planning framework offers a systematic approach to adaptation that allows you to pursue your stated goals, but also maintain the ability to quickly course-correct when external shocks or unexpected discoveries occur.
I discussed ABZ planning in detail on the Greymatter podcast, which you can listen to here.
Plan A is your investment thesis. Your Plan A should be a detailed plan that you set down in writing. For example, for a startup, you should spell out why you believe there is a need for your product or service, how you believe the market will respond, where it fits relative to competition or substitution, how you plan to reach your customers, who those early customers might be, what you’ll do to make it happen, and what kind of talent and other resources you will need to succeed.
But as the Prussian strategist Helmuth von Moltke the Elder famously said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” No start-up plan survives contact with execution, with the market, with investors, with employees, and with competitors. (Read more...)