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Lean Business Planning

Get what you want from your business

Lean business planning simple but powerful way to get what you want from your business. Get focused, grow faster, and adjust to change. A lean business plan is an easy and practical way to align strategy, tactics, milestones, assumptions, and essential cash flow without the fuss of a full business plan.

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Startup Advice: Don’t Let Life Get Lost in the Shuffle

The guy seems callous, selfish, as he dismisses his wive, lover, or child, with frustration. “Don’t you get it?” he asks. “Don’t you know I’m trying to build a business here?” And sometimes there’s the variation, “I’m doing this for you.” And of course there are lots of other versions. Do you recognize that scene,...

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Lean Plan and the Business Model Canvas

Early this month I tweeted out my recent post on business planning as dashboard and GPS. #smallbiz Owners: planning, not #businessplan Lean Business Plan as Dashboard https://t.co/qECGn2CSTm pic.twitter.com/IGyowg9DnI — Tim Berry (@Timberry) May 3, 2016 Which prompted this response, from Antony Upward: @Timberry agree – any updates on how business modelling fits into this from...

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How Can I Get Startup Funding Without Giving Away Half the Company?

I’m surprised how often I get asked the question in the title, or variations of it, from people in startups. And you will hear discussions in which experts recommend ways to get investors who take less equity and demand less control. That seems short-sighted or worse.  I posted here years ago dumb investors is a...

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Standard Financials: Sample Website Sales Forecast

Here’s fourth sales forecast example, part of my standard business plan financials series, following email sales forecast example, restaurant sales forecast example, and how to forecast sales last week. This is a sample website sales forecast. In all of them I’m making the point that sales forecasts come from meaningful assumptions you can use to manage the...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: How to Forecast Sales

Continuing with my series on standard business plan financials, you can’t run a business, or start a new business, without a sales forecast. Whether you have a full business plan, or a lean business plan, or just a collection of spreadsheets, a proper sales forecast ought to become like a dashboard, meaning it’s a tool you...

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Business Plan Financials: How Many Months and Years

Do complete business plan financials include three years of monthly financial projections? Five years? One year? Obviously the answer to this frequently asked business plan financials question depends on the specific context. Sometimes specific organizations, business plan readers, require some specific timeframe. The Small Business Administration (SBA), for example, requires at least 12 months of...

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10 Ways to Tell You Are Not a Leader

Everybody always agrees with you. Because they don’t. They’re lying to you. And it’s your fault they are, because you make them. You talk more than you listen. Nobody who works for you owns anything by themselves. And I mean ownership as owning a task, having responsibility, being empowered to operate, make decisions, and –...

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This is Your Brain on Stories

Fascinating research here summarized by neuroscientist Uri Hasson, on how our brains become aligned when we hear the same story. He researches the basis of human communication, and experiments from his lab reveal that even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become “aligned,” when we hear the same idea or story. This...

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Friday Video: Kauffman Center on Myths of Entrepreneurship

Several things that many people take for granted about entrepreneurship aren’t really true, according to this three-minute video offered by the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurship. It starts with a reminder that it isn’t small business that drives the US economy’s growth of jobs, but rather new business. Startups. And my personal favorite, around 1:40, the...

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Video: Startup Funding. Bootstrap. Then “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.”

I stumbled on this brilliant video of an after-hours startup funding event at the Stanford business school, a panel discussion putting two of the best-known, most influential, and most successful investors (Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway) together with another successful entrepreneur (Parker Conrad, founder of Zenefits), a moderator, and a group of interested entrepreneurs. The...

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Remarkable Real Research on How Life Goals Matter

What? A 75-year-study on adult development? Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger absorbs the Harvard Study on Adult Development. Here he shares insights on how life goals affect happiness, and what ultimately is happiness. The study itself is remarkable. Waldinger credits luck and the persistence of several generations of researchers. About 60 of the original 600 men are...

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Chris Anderson on What Makes a Great TED Talk

For a video today I found this delightful TED talk about TED talks. TED, which stands for technology, education, and design, has become an amazing collection of great 5-to-20-minute talks, some of the best anywhere. If you want examples of great public speaking, excellent presentations, you go to TED. So when I was at the...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Indirect Cash Flow Forecasting

I’ve been doing a series on standard business plan financials, summarizing the basics so anybody who runs a business can know and understand the numbers. This one is a special follow up to How to Project Cash Flow and LivePlan Cash Flow last week. Indirect cash flow forecasting is a valid and often convenient method...

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Business Plan Financials: Cash vs. Accrual Bookkeeping

I hate the buzzwords and general environment related to accounting and financial terms. No wonder business owners shy away from it. “Accrual accounting” sounds like something you do with thumb screws, rack, and chains. But – damn – it matters. If you run a business, you have huge incentive to understand this stuff. And there...

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Rant: The Insidious Power of Political Code Phrases

We all use language as weapons and we’re victims of political code phrases that manipulate and distort. One classic example is the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. Or the battle of pro-life vs. pro-choice. What does “Wall Street” mean these days? We speak in codes and use words as weapons.  And I ask...

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If Your Idea is Any Good It Will Be Copied

Good ideas get copied. Yes, you can read all over the web how to protect your idea. And people are recommending patents, trademarks, copyright, all of which you should do whenever you can. People also recommend contract-like non-disclosure and non-compete agreements too, which is sometimes good advice, sometimes impractical. But eventually all good ideas get...

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Does Business Education Stifle Creativity

Business Education vs. Creativity Does business education stifle innovation and creativity? You probably already know Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, from 2006, Do Schools Kill Creativity? It’s one of the five or so most viewed and most discussed TED talks. His basic idea is that school focus too much on the academic, not enough on other...

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Birds of a Feather Fail Together: the Business Case for Diversity

Diversity is good for business. Equal opportunity is not only morally and ethically right, it’s also a better way to run a business. Here are some reasons why, and points to consider. What’s intuitively obvious It’s pretty much accepted wisdom that when people come together in a common business, it’s better for them to have...

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Business Plan Financials: Starting Costs

It’s really important to have an idea of what you need before you start. Continuing with my series on standard business plan financials, startups need to project starting costs. Starting costs set up a starting balance, which is necessary to plan cash flow. And the starting costs are critical to determining whether a startup can bootstrap or...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Email Sales Forecast Example

Here’s another sales forecast example, part of my standard business plan financials series, following my restaurant sales forecast example posted here yesterday, and how to forecast sales the day before. The point is to call out realistic assumptions that make a sales forecast useful. This is to illustrate my underlying point that anybody who can...

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Business Owners: The Lean Business Plan as Dashboard and GPS

What if you own a business, you’re not a startup, you don’t have to generate a traditional business plan to show to a bank or an investor? Would you still want a business plan? Yes, emphatically, yes you do … … but it’s not a traditional business plan. It’s a lean plan.  … and you...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Spending Budget

As I continue with my standard business plan financials series, I turn now to developing the spending budget. True, nobody likes budgets, but the budgeting function is one of the most important to management to keep cash in the bank; and we all know it. In standard business plan budgeting, you look for realism and credibility,...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Sales Forecast Example

Continuing my series on standard business plan financials, this is an example of a startup sales forecast. It’s a direct follow-up to yesterday’s How to Forecast Sales. The goal is to take a hypothetical case and open up the thinking involved, not so anybody just copies it, but rather to serve as an example. The...

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Business Plan Financials: Tips and Traps

This is the latest post in my series on standard business plan financials. I’ve already written about the three essential projections, and how to do each, plus posts on standard vocabulary, timeframes, and so on. This one covers some common misunderstandings and errors that occur. The area of financial analysis is one in which definitions matter...

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