Wednesday, 17 February 2010

David Hieatt: A Business Plan Is Another Way Of Saying 'Guess'

I first found The Do Lectures when Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 Hour Work Week said he was going to speak there. The Do Lectures are the UK’s answer to the TED talks, but held in a big tent in Wales. They were started from a conversation between David and Clare Hieatt over the dining table one night. David Hieatt is the Do Curator, an entrepreneur who founded the howies clothing company and until last year was their CEO (full disclosure: I own a howies t-shirt). howies has a distinctive brand positioning; it’s a great example of a brand with purpose and attitude.

Here’s David’s take on Unplanning:

“When we sit down and write a business plan, or come up with a new strategy, it is done so without the customer being in the room. So really a business plan is another way of saying guess, a strategy is another way of saying hunch.

We can’t say those words because it’s hard to get funding for a guess. And it’s hard to persuade a boardroom to back your hunch with their money.

We prefer things to be precise, considered and deeply logical. But that would be ok if only the customer were the same.

But they are often unpredictable. And what should work, what looks great on paper doesn’t always work in the real life. Away from paper, that is.

The awful truth is we don’t know what will work. But that doesn’t make us look so clever. So we can’t admit that. But that’s why we have to try lots of things.

We need to adopt the idea of trying to fail faster. To try lots of new ways of doing something, to take risks, to experiment as if we don’t know the answer.

And as we do this something remarkable will begin to happen. We will start to stumble upon something that actually works. It will just strike a chord with the customer. And then your business will really take off.

We just need to stop acting so smart. And start walking in dumb each day.”

David Hieatt, entrepreneur, co-founder of howies and curator of the ‘Do Lectures’

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