Tag Archives: lean business planning

A Better Business Plan with Lean Planning

It’s better planning that’s efficient and practical. It’s not just a plan, it’s a process. Its benefits include managing, optimizing, and steering a business.

Planning cycle for better business planning
The PRRR cycle in lean business planning
  • It’s not a traditional formal plan document. The lean plan includes strategy, key tactics, milestones, tasks, responsibilities, performance metrics, tracking, and regular review and revision. It’s something that benefits every business.
  • It’s easy to do because it doesn’t bother with extras. Don’t do the executive summary. For you or you own team, you don’t need it. Don’t describe the market. Don’t describe the team. Just plan it. Know it, yes; but analyze it or prove it, no.
  • It’s not voided by change — it exists to manage change better.
  • It’s just big enough to run the business. You write a few things down for yourself and your team, then track results, then review and revise. The process is steering your business.

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. ItKeep 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

E-book or paperback. Free to $7.95.

Online course

Take the course at learning.ly for $29.95

LivePlan

LivePlan Strategy Summary

Web app. Faster, easier, better. $19.95/mo or less

Change doesn’t void a well-managed planning process. On the contrary, the process manages change.

Make your business plan just big enough to run your business.

Experts Say This is a Better Business Plan:

“Forget the old-fashioned business plan. It’s not just for startups, or investors; it’s to run your business better. Faster, easier, more focused, and quicker to change. Tim Berry’s Lean Business Planning is a methodology, not just a plan. It’s about getting the right things done. A must for every business owner and startup.”

Susan Solovic, THE small business expert, NYT best-selling author

“In order to thrive today your business must be nimble. Throw out traditional business planning and embrace Lean Business Planning and set your business free to dominate.”

John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine

“If you’re serious about really running a business, you need this book. It’s about getting what you want from your business, getting the right things done, and adjusting quickly to change. Forget the old-fashioned business plan. This is faster, easier, and better. And you’ll be grateful for using this proven system”

Melinda Emerson “SmallBizLady.” Bestselling author, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd edition

A Lean Business Plan is an Easy Business Plan

It’s lean, short, just what you need. An easy business plan. It is way easier than a traditional business plan. The core plan is four steps:

easy business planning
  1. Set the strategy. Use lean business planning to bring your identity, market focus, and business offering together, for strategic alignment. This is something every business owner does all the time. Just remind yourself.
  2. Set the tactics. Plan to execute strategy with  tactics to match. Think of pricing, channels, messaging, features, benefits, and so forth.
  3. Do the essential numbers. Calculate basic numbers you need to keep the business running. Sales forecasts, costs, spending. The core numbers that keep your doors open. Plan, track, review, and revise.
  4. Set the execution. List concrete specifics you can track. Who does what, when, and what does it cost? How much money does it bring in? Milestones, performance metrics. This is management. 

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. ItKeep 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

E-book or paperback. Free to $7.95.

Online course

Take the course at learning.ly for $29.95

LivePlan

LivePlan Strategy Summary

Web app. Faster, easier, better. $19.95/mo or less

Optimize Your Business with Lean Planning

Optimize your business with metrics, tracking, and accountability
Optimize your business with metrics, tracking, and accountability

Optimize your business. Keep the long term in mind while dealing with the everyday routine. Stay the course, but also make course corrections. Lean planning offers real benefits to every business, including:

  • Accountability. The future is now. Virtual world. Performance and productivity by metrics, whether it’s hours, codes, calls, or presentations. Set expectations with specific goals, then track numbers. Management by transparency. The lean planning process keeps the metrics on top.
  • Managing change. Forget that big daunting document; keep a lean plan to help you track changing assumptions, so you can review and revise regularly.
  • Strategic alignment.  A simple process to keep you focusing on the details without losing track of the horizon. Make sure you have tactics to execute strategy; and specific, concrete milestones, metrics, dates, and deadlines to make the tactics real. Plus what you need to plan the money.

Optimize your business. This is planning for today. Lean. Productive.

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. ItKeep 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

E-book or paperback. Free to $7.95.

Online course

Take the course at learning.ly for $29.95

LivePlan

LivePlan Strategy Summary

Web app. Faster, easier, better. $19.95/mo or less

Good Business Planning Adds Accountability

It’s much easier to be friends with your coworkers than to manage them well. Every small-business owner suffers the problem of management and accountability. Good business planning adds accountability via goals, metrics, and tracking.

gears

Lean business planning sets clear expectations and then follows up on results. It compares results with expectations. People on a team are held accountable only if management actually does the work of tracking results and communicating them, after the fact, to those responsible.

What gets measured is what gets done

Metrics are part of the problem. As a rule, we don’t develop the right metrics for people. Metrics aren’t right unless the people responsible understand them and believe in them. Will the measurement scheme show good and bad performances?

Remember, people need metrics. People want metrics. You and your business need metrics. Good business planning adds to accountability.

Then you have to track. That’s where the lean business plan creates a management advantage, because tracking and following up is part of its most important pieces. Set the review schedules in advance, make sure you have the right participants for the review, and then do it.

What gets measured is what gets done

Good teams pull together

In good teams, the negative feedback is in the metric. Nobody has to scold or lecture, because the team participated in generating the plan and the team reviews it, and good performances make people proud and happy, and bad performances make people embarrassed. It happens automatically. It’s part of the planning process. Besides, guilt and fear tactics are the worst kind of fake management.

And you must avoid the crystal ball and chain. Sometimes — actually, often — metrics go sour because assumptions have changed. Unforeseen events happen. You manage these times collaboratively, separating the effort from the results. Your team members see that and they believe in the process, and they’ll continue to contribute.

It’s a Plan Not a Document

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

business plan information

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.

Lean Business Planning Core Concept