Lean Business Planning

Lean business planning is simple, efficient business planning that starts with a core business plan and includes regular review and revisions. It’s a set of ideas that started about 70 years ago, revolving around PDCA: plan-do-check-adjust.

business plan the easy way
Way easier …

Lean business planning is simple, efficient business planning that starts with a core business plan and includes regular review and revisions. It’s a set of ideas that started about 70 years ago, and work; real business planning.

business plan metrics and tracking
Manage better …

Lean business planning is a simple but also powerful and effective way to work management, accountability, performance metrics, strategy, tactics, and execution into your business.

business plan cycle of use
Not just a plan…

It’s not just a plan but rather an ongoing management process. Set streamlined strategy and tactics, dates and deadlines in the lean plan, but review results regularly, and revise as needed. Plan, run, review, revise.

Take your next step to lean planning!

It’s about getting what you want from your business. Forget the big formal business plan document of decades ago. Forget the fact that the plan will be wrong. Keep it simple. Do only what you need. Write it down and keep track of it so you can look back in a few weeks to check what you thought would happen and compare that to what actually happened. Your business plan is wrong, but it’s vital to good business management.

Use the planning process like a GPS for your business — the plan as destination and route, and monthly plan review for constant course corrections.

Do a lean business plan — keep it lean and simple — then track results and review and revise regularly.

So Get Going. Start Planning. Start Managing

Just do it!

ABCs of Lean Business Planning

Use this website for step-by-step directions. Free.

Get the book

the easy way

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Online course

Take the course at learning.ly for $29.95

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Not the big formal pompous plan…

Just bullet point lists, and forecast tables. If you know your business, then you can do it in just a few hours.

  • Set your strategy down with simple bullet points, so you can follow it later. You’ll be able to compare what happened to what you expected, and make change.
  • Set important tactics to execute strategy. That’s like pricing, distribution, product or service features, financing, staffing. Strategy means nothing without tactics to execute.
  • Do your essential business numbers. Sales forecast, costs, expenses, and cash flow. You can’t run a business without these key forecasts. Sure, they will be wrong, but you can use them to review and revise and steer your business with course corrections.
  • Set down concrete specifics for execution.
  • Then you get going. Review your plan often. Look at assumptions, metrics, what went right and what went wrong.

What’s Lean and Why You Care

That term lean, and the idea of continuous process, applies perfectly to business planning. It’s a shame that so many people think of a business plan as a document, the formal business plan; but good planning is a streamlined simple plan in a process that could be called PDCA, which I prefer to call PRRR: plan-run-review-revise.

plan run review revise
  • The lean business plan includes strategy, tactics, review schedule, milestones, assumptions, sales forecast, expense budget, and cash flow management.
  • Lean business planning is a process, not just a single plan. It’s the plan plus the regular review and revisions. It’s never done. Every latest version will need revision with a few weeks.
  • It’s not a formal business plan document. However, when (and if) you need a traditional business plan document, add summaries, descriptions and explanations as needed to fill the specific business need. You might even make them part of your pitch deck or leave them in appendices.

In lean planning, a business plan isn’t a long boring formal document, daunting to do, required for some business plan event. It’s not a document, it’s a plan. It’s what’s going to happen, when, and who’s responsible. And how much money out, how much in.

It’s short, simple, streamlined, just big enough to steer the business. Just big enough to meet the business need. It’s about results. It’s about managing a business. Accountability. Metrics. Priorities. It starts simple and grows organically.

Lean Business Planning Core Concept