Business Plan Toolbox

Create your business plan with brilliance extraction

Brillance Extraction 10-02-18

Wouldn’t it be great if business planning was refreshingly fast AND it pulled critical ideas out of your own head?  What if it also pulled valuable thoughts of your team members’ brains, too? Meet Business Power Planning paired with Brilliance Extraction and find out how you can accomplish two valuable things at once.

This article is the third one in a series of blogs about the Business Plan Toolbox. If you didn’t see the first two, don’t worry. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Part 1: High-expertise companies struggle to transform their expertise into corresponding success. They face five common challenges.
  • Part 2: One of the five challenges is that the core expertise of the company lives only in the brain/s or computer/s of one or a few key people. Brilliance Extraction™ is a process for extracting brilliance out of your key people (including yourself) so that the knowledge can be used by others to grow the company. This process is crucial for scaling up your high-expertise company.

Now, let’s discover effective business planning that is refreshingly fast. The resulting plan is also much easier to carry out than traditional plans. For optimal results and buy-in, it’s important to involve your team of experts in the process of developing this plan.

We all know business planning is necessary – yet, few of us like doing it. Here is some great news: Business planning, done in this very practical way, is a great opportunity to begin the process of Brilliance Extraction™. You get to feed two birds with one seed: Plan your business and start to extract critical brilliance out of your and your team’s heads. Curious? Read on!

Before we go on, here is an opportunity for a sigh of relief:

When I talk about business planning for high-expertise companies I mean Business Power Planning. That means the process is refreshingly fast.

What Is The Business Power Plan™?

The Business Power Plan™ has five focused parts:

  1. Your vision – What do you see as possible for your company, team, clients, and yourself? Do you see yourself as local, national, international company? What size will you be and when? What is your focus? What is your plan? I invite you to express that in a paragraph or two. Brevity breeds clarity because you must be clear to say it in few words.
  2. Your business purpose (your mission). No, this is not a long mission statement but an eight to twelve-word phrase telling the outside world why your business exists. Any team member needs to be able to remember it. That way it becomes akin to a compass needle to point the way now and long into the future. Your mission might be something like:
    • Be the innovative leader in our XYZ industry
    • Empower our clients to certify and credential top-notch professionals through quality testing solutions
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  3. Your goals. Express them as SMARTER goals, i.e., they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. They become much more achievable if they are exciting to you. Of course, you must record (write down) your goals. Break bigger goals into smaller ones.
    • Examples are: “Increase revenues by 20%+ by December 31, 20XX” or “Develop and implement a companywide leadership and management training by 5/15/20XX”.
    • Optionally, you might also like to add a personal goals section. After all, our work life and our personal life have to work together. Family, travel, health, etc. that help you keep the balance between your work and private life are important elements to consider. If you want to go all out on traveling with your family, you can book a private jet at Jettly.
  4. Next, let’s think up the strategies to get to your goals. This is your game plan. Don’t bite off too many strategies at once. Less is more because you will be more likely to execute what you focus on. Make sure that your game plan is consistent with your goals. For example, you may create strategies for marketing your business online, increase efficiency in operations, embark on new a new product development project, or work on improving accountability such as using fundraise modeling software in your company.
  5. Your action plan. This includes the specific tactics you will use to achieve your goals. I recommend you focus on 90 days. (If you want to set milestones farther into the future you can do that in the goal section.) In the action plan, the key is to carve out bite-size steps you can schedule and track. You are establishing accountability for yourself and your team. You are establishing it not only for your team but with your team. Once you have everyone’s buy-in, the team execution of the action steps will be a lot smoother.

The Idea Is To create A Business Plan That Is Concise

By “concise” I mean 2-3 pages – that is enough and more powerful than a longer plan. The plan elements build on each other, from section to section. The last element is a practical action plan that makes turning the plan into reality simple. The is one extra piece that is critical: Pair this action plan with an accountability structure that works in your high-expertise company (more on that soon in another part of this article series).

You can download the Business Power Plan™ template here.

Accomplish Two Things At Once: Begin Brilliance Extraction™ While Business Planning

In high-expertise companies, writing a practical, executable business plan requires input by the team. It is also a great opportunity to involve the team, get their great ideas and keep your mind open. Begin the process of Brilliance Extraction™ and gain a fresh perspective, then bring it back to concise goals, strategies and game plans. This results in an exciting path forward.

Long, traditional business plans don’t work well for that. Your subject experts (and likely yourself) will either not have the patience for them or get lost in the detail. They are hard to complete and put a concise plan in place. In my experience, most long, traditional business plans end up in a drawer eventually, sometimes sooner than later.

Begin the process of Brilliance Extraction™ for yourself and your team during the business planning process.

You will receive big benefits:

  1. You and your team gain more clarity, quickly. Start by writing down your thoughts and ideas (and those of your key players) without editing. They can be sorted and organized after they have been pulled out of the key player’s head.
  2. You gain more leverage. Now that these thoughts and ideas are no longer confined to a given person’s brain a larger number of people can act on them.
  3. You end up with a concise 2-3-page business plan. In it you and your team express your vision, business purpose (mission), goals and strategies. You do so KISS style (i.e., keep it simple sweetie). This small page count even includes a 90-day action plan with which you and your team make daily progress.
  4. Save time and get into action. This is very different from traditional, long business plans that have little to no value for running your business on a day-to-day basis. This plan is action oriented.

The Summary: Business Planning With Brilliance Extraction™

In summary, we talked about a powerful method that is vital for supporting growth in high-expertise companies. Business Power Planning is about putting your vision, purpose (mission), goals, strategies and action plan onto 2-3 pages. Involving your team in this exercise has many benefits:

  • Benefit from the other team member’s experience, expertise and different vantage point
  • Begin the Process of Brilliance Extraction™ – on yourself and others on your team
  • Honor your team members’ expertise
  • Identify key areas where there are gaps. Some possible examples: processes, training, content and inefficiencies
  • Create your team’s buy-in in terms of carrying out the resulting plan

You can download the template for the Business Power Plan™ here. Let me know how it is going for you. I am happy to connect with you.

In the next article (part 4), I will share some example business plans.

Have a top-notch day!

Dr. Stephie

About the Author: Dr. Stephie Althouse is the founder of Top-Notch CEO and Top-Notch CEO Academy ( She has a Ph.D. in chemistry and has worked with many high-expertise companies, first as an award-winning innovator herself and then as executive, turnaround authority, growth expert and executive coach. Her success in helping high-expertise companies get more from their expertise is based on her ability to bridge the languages of their crafts with that of leadership and business.

Dr. Stephie