Lean Business Plan Steps. Just Do It.

Keep it lean. Benefits, definitions, and principles aside, this section takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a lean business plan. It’s four steps: strategy, tactics, essential projections, and concrete specifics. Just do it.

Lean business plan in 4 easy steps

Four simple steps. You can do this. You can follow along with the “next page” link on the lower right, to go in order. Or you can click any of these next few links to go to each of the four steps:

  1. Set Your Strategy Your lean business plan starts with simple strategy, usually just bullet point lists, which you write down so you can refer back to it later.
  2. Plan Tactics Tactics are pricing, distribution, promotion, product, financial plans, sales, marketing, and so forth. Set down the tactics in bullet points, so you can refer back to them.
  3. Basic Numbers and Forecasts You really need to manage sales forecasts, cost forecasts, expense budgets, and cash flow. You need that to manage your business. Include it in your lean business plan and then track results and manage the difference between what you planned and what happened.
  4. Execution: Concrete Specifics the final, and maybe most important, business plan step is to add the specifics, the details, the trackable elements, of what is supposed to happen, when, who is responsible, budgets, and so forth. Anything that isn’t tracked is not nearly as likely to happen.

Measure the value of a business plan by the execution it causes.

Lean is a key difference.

Don’t do a full formal business plan if you don’t need it. Just do the lean business plan, and then track results, and follow up with management and steering.

Keep it simple. The lean plan is just what you’ll use. Yes, you should know your market. Yes, you should have a marketing plan. But almost everything in your lean plan is lists or bullet points, for your own use only. Remember, it’s a lean business plan step-by-step.

Form Follows Function

Your planning is supposed to fit your business’s needs. It’s not universal. They aren’t all the same. If you don’t need to show it to outsiders, then don’t do more than you will use.

2 thoughts on “Lean Business Plan Steps. Just Do It.

    1. Tim Berry – Eugene, OR – Founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software, founder of bplans, co-founder of Borland International, Stanford MBA, author of books and software on business planning and startups, baby boomer, exhippy, married 50 years, father of five.
      Tim Berry Post author

      Yes, and thanks for asking. The book is available at amazon.com, and you can click the red text to link directly and order.

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