Predicting the future is hard. By now we all should take comfort in the knowledge that the future is mostly fuzzy and therefore it just makes no sense to write a 5-year (or even 3-year) business plan with detailed financial projections.
There is just too much which can and will happen between now and the long(er) term future. Markets change. Competitors emerge. Technology changes. Economies grow and crumble. Heck — even Donald Trump might become president of the glorious US of A (god forbid!).
With that being said: How do you plan for your startup’s future? Operating without a plan will make you susceptible to reacting instead of steering the ship.
Mark Zuckerberg frames this conundrum in the most profound and insightful way:
“There is no point in having a 5-year plan in this industry. With each step forward, the landscape you’re walking on changes. So we have a pretty good idea of where we want to be in the next six months, and where we want to be in 30 years. And every six months, we take another look at where we want to be in 30 years to plan out the next six months.
It’s a little bit shortsighted and a little bit not. But any other approach guarantees everything you release is already obsolete.”
Take it from Mark.