2Craft a Lean Business Plan to Serve as Your Venture's Road Map

Mention the term “business plan” and the image that likely comes to mind is a thick document generated by a business consultant for you to give to a banker or investor and then forgotten about. But since these days everyone worships at the altar of the lean startup, it's common knowledge that a business plan is old-school and completely useless. All you need is a slide deck and a great team, right?

Wrong! That's because, while you weren't looking, the old-school business plan was superseded by something that is critically important, intended for you instead of other people, developed by you instead of other people, and constantly reviewed and updated. It is called “The Lean Business Plan,” and in this chapter I will (with permission) borrow liberally from the work of Tim Berry—the world's leading expert on business planning—to give you a quick overview. For a complete hands-on lesson, you will want to read Tim's definitive book, Lean Business Planning (Motivational Press, 2015, and LeanPlan.com), which is available both in book form and for free as a series of detailed posts on his website.

The Principles of Lean Business Planning

  1. Do Only What You'll Use.

    Lean business means avoiding waste and doing only what has value. That means starting with a lean plan instead of a giant document, and continuing with a planning process involving regular review and revision. You keep it lean because it's easier, better, and, ...

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