Much Ado About Lean Canvas

> Business Plan Process: as Crucial as the Result <

Attention grabbing: that’s the point. When authors attempt to pen a bestseller, they often aim to introduce fresh ideas, a new spin, or a different solution to a common problem. The glitch that unsuspecting buyers don’t realize: an idea recently crafted to become popularized (like Lean Canvas) may, in fact, not actually be the right solution.

Books are sold, so the idea gains traction. Yet, in the end, the book buyers – and in this case, businesses – fail as a result of the ill advice they paid to access.

Over the past year or two, our firm has seen an increase in inquiries about a Lean Canvas approach…in lieu of creating a complete, comprehensive Business Plan. The public has been coached to embrace the false idea that: (1) both are equally effective, (2) a Lean Canvas is flexible while a Business Plan is set in stone, and (3) a Lean Canvas provides a reliable shortcut to efficient growth.

None of these purported theories can actually ring true in practical application. So, misguided bootstrapping businesses and their owners are falling victim to some very unwise, very dangerous misdirection: while those proposing it are profiting from the newer spin.

The pivotal point here is: the merits and advantages gained through constructing a Business Plan can even surpass the value of the final product and roadmap itself. Proof is in the process, and the devil is indeed in the details.

Problematic details cannot come to light, enabling essential gap closure, when attempting to hopscotch past a time-proven and diligent process. The process is what provides and opportunity to see and improve the strategy.

In fairness, those whom we have seen promoting the Lean Canvas approach earned some success in prior ventures. Naturally, this is the source of their credibility.

This is also the reason they were able to build new ventures on the foundation of essentially an outline… instead of taking a deeper examination of influencing factors, timing, market positioning, and financials: they were replicated what they had done before and felt they already knew the way.

They had walked down the same road, and intended to follow that direction again. They were not, in fact, building from scratch like their audience of new business owners.

The fatal flaw: promotion of Lean Canvas as a time-saving solution is like taking a grade school ball player and tossing them into the Majors, NBA, or NFL. How long is that likely to last? What impact from injuries should they expect to sustain? Are they even likely to survive the first minutes of the first game? Who would EVER put them in?

As businesses owners, we put ourselves in the game. We take calculated risks, and look for trusted resources to offer guidance.

So, this remote Lean Canvas “coach” with no investment in an independent player’s success = an enormous and untrustworthy disconnect. Yet, promotional campaigns support it because there are books and events and other trainings to sell. People inadvertently have attached credibility, due to mere publicity, where it does not belong.

Plus, unlike a paid role in professional sports, business owners are risking hard-earned, or borrowed, finances in addition to their personal wellbeing. Statistics prove that 9 out of 10 businesses already fail. There is no reason to tip the scales even further against potential success.

Here is the truth: failing to properly plan is responsible for the demise of most businesses that never reach their 5-year mark. Understand where you need to invest.

Arm your business to succeed. Smart bootstrapping owners and executive teams realize that a solid plan will not only keep them in the game, it will also save them substantial time and money along the way.

Need help with strategic planning? Understand the actual roots of proposed advice before aligning your time, budget, and future accordingly.

Avoid becoming a compound victim of not knowing what you don’t know. Enable your venture to thrive, rather than struggling to even survive.

 

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