It’s a Plan Not a Document

A lean business plan is not a document. It’s a process.

You start with a simple lean business plan, as shown here in the first four steps in the chart. Then forever after, it’s a cycle:  you review the results, revise the plan, and keep things moving. The plan is never done, and it’s never older than a few weeks. Like steering a car, your lean business planning is a matter of frequent corrections without losing sight of long-term progress towards goals.

For most of the course of a normal business, the lean business planning process is optimal for better management. The process goes on in a cycle of plan reviews and revisions.

There are, however, the special occasions that require more than just the internal lean plan. I call these business plan events. For example, angel investors usually want to see business plans as part of due diligence before investing in a startup. Banks often ask for business plans in the process of approving business loans.  These business plan events require a formal business plan document.  So when there is a business plan event, then (and only then) does the lean business planning company have a practical reason to dress up the plan with descriptions and summaries and create a formal business plan document, a summary memo, a slide deck for a business pitch, or whatever else is required for that business hurdle.

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