Lean Start-ups and the fallacy of the Perfect Business Plan

There is no plan that can eliminate the unknowns. Few other articles illuminate this point better. To think this was written just May 2013.

Photo above: Composite screenshot created from HBR cover. HBR and Steve Blank May 2013. Hopefully no one sues me :)

Lean start-ups are explained in this brilliant piece written by Steve Blank for HBR. Knew it was on point from the first page. Perfect summary of the modern thinking of young entrepreneurs. I think he is right! We see it demonstrated everyday by the nimble start-ups in the tech industry.

I don't want to write a business plan. It's mostly fiction written in the dark and alone. Start by doing. Go create something new today. Iterate and fail fast and then fail again and then pivot and change your mind if you have to until you've found the right model. You're job is to find a model, not to execute on a plan. Leave the flawless execution to the big boys.

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

Certainly, the traditional five year business plan has value. How much value it has is up for debate but there is a reason people keep doing them. However, maybe just maybe there is a better alternate way to minimize risk. Start with a series of hypotheses known as a "Business Canvas" and then test each one by building a minimum viable product and validating it against real customers with actual feedback.

Business plans rarely survive contact with real customers


No one besides venture capitalists and the Soviet Union requires five-year business plans to forecast the unknowns. ...dreaming them up is almost always a waste of time

Eliminate wasted energy, time, and resources. Be agile from the start and don't build it in stealth instead do it out in the open. To hell with competition. Don't fuss about competing, fuss about solving people's pain points.

HBR has a paywall. Find a way around it or go register but whatever you do make sure you read this perspective from the get go. It's a must for budding business innovators. I recently lost a lot of energy and momentum on an idea while trying to write a business plan. It might be a way to raise money but it accomplished nothing. Nothing raises money faster than a proven demonstratable idea.