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Planning is essential for any business to attain success and sustain itself in the market. Traditionally, the goal was to formulate a lean business plan that lasts and works in the long run. However, this conventional way of creating a business plan isn’t flexible and doesn’t provide much room for improvement over time.
In an ever-changing business environment, you need a plan that can adapt to your changing needs and not hold you back with its rigidity. This is true especially when immediate actions are needed.
To facilitate the convenience to make modifications, a new method of planning has surfaced. This is called a lean business plan. This simple yet effective method of planning a business reduces the hassle of dealing with complicated documents—all while increasing efficiency and productivity.
A lean business plan is essentially a one-page business plan for companies to kickstart their businesses. Contrary to the traditional business plans which are often bulky and complex documents, a lean business plan is a simple, reader-friendly, and easy-to-make document.
It is a streamlined core plan that acts as a basis for a more elaborate one.
If you want to skip the trouble of creating a plan from scratch, a lean business plan template can help you save a couple of hours. If done right, a lean business plan can guide you to reach your goals, keep track of your progress, and manage cash flow.
A lean business plan is similar to creating a map with steps laid out to run your business. It is favorable compared to a traditional plan because:
Now that we have the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ out of the way, let’s take a look at the ‘how’. Here are the 5 key steps to creating the perfect lean business plan for your company:
For your reference, we’ve created a simple one-page business plan for a barbershop business:
We have used a lean canvas to fit your plan on one page.
The first step is perhaps the most important one. It includes jotting down everything that your business is and does. Here, you summarize who you are, what you do, and how you do it. The plan can also include your target customer base, your goals, your team, and how you schedule tasks.
The foundational aspects of your business plan include:
A strategy is the brain of your business. It encompasses the core identity of your business and the steps you take to run it. Here, you write your plans of action in simple and precise statements. This includes:
Tactics are the key to implementing your strategies. They’re primarily all your plans and marketing techniques to steer your business toward growth.
Strategies and tactics are wasted efforts without well-defined execution. Everything you have learned in the previous sections will not convert into growth unless you have a systematic assigning of tasks and deadlines.
A business model is a description of how your business will make money. The clearer this description is, the better. A sloppy business model is a recipe for wasted resources, time, and can lead to liquidation.
After having your strategies made, milestones set, schedules in place, and a tactical plan to get your business up and running, it is time to test their utility. This helps reduce risks, gain insight, and avoid inefficient use of resources.
In this step, you verify the integrity of your business methodologies via extensive research. One of the best ways to do so is by surveying your target customers directly. Record their responses and compare them with your assumptions.
Asking all the above questions will give you a detailed view of what should be revised and what needs to stick.
The next step is to examine your results. After having put your ideas to test, you must have received some significant outcomes of your decisions. This is your data. You will use this data to figure out what went wrong with the last plan and come to conclusions.
You can review your results by using the same measuring metrics that we talked about earlier. It is important to choose reliable metrics that suit well with your business model. Opting for metrics incompatible with your business can give inaccurate results—making it harder to evaluate your performance.
One of the best things about a lean business plan is that it’s not set in stone. In other words, it’s a flexible plan and is open to continuous refinements as you go along with your business activities. Considering everything you have learned so far, this step is where you revise your lean business plan.
It includes making changes to your assumptions, sales channels, marketing techniques, schedules, budgets, and even your target customers as your business continues to evolve over time. The more mistakes you detect and revisions you make, the more reliable your lean business plan becomes.
Now that you have a complete lean business plan in hand, one that is tested and refined, all you need to do is set your business in motion. Keep in mind to come back, revise, and keep updating your business plan as and when required. Usually, for most businesses, a lean business plan is all you need to get started.
However, sometimes a more detailed business plan is more suitable for large-scale businesses. This could include specific steps and instructions for your team to undertake complex operations and perhaps even comments for your investors. In case that’s your requirement, this business plan checklist might help you stay on track.
Creating a business plan is often a difficult and tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the above-mentioned steps and guidelines, you can create a lean business plan that’s right for your company. This compact, tailored, streamlined, targeted, and easy-to revise document is sure to get your business up and running in no time.
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