Have you ever written a business plan? Did you enjoy the process? Or maybe you’re one of the lucky few who have never had to write one. Most people hate writing business plans. They take too long to write. You end up making up most of the answers. And worst of all, the people who make you write these plans (i.e. investors), don’t even take the time to read them – opting instead for shorter versions like the 1-page executive summary, 10-page slide deck, or 30-second elevator pitch. But a no-plan alternative isn’t the solution either.
It would be akin to building a house without a blueprint. While carrying your core business model assumptions in your head alone might seem like the fastest alternative, you need to beware of the reality distortion fields that plague entrepreneurs. Reasonably smart people can rationalize anything, but entrepreneurs are especially gifted at this.
Most entrepreneurs start with a strong initial vision and a Plan A for realizing that vision. Unfortunately, most Plan A’s don’t work. Instead of chasing a mythical perfect plan, what you need is a well documented starting point and a systematic process for going from your Plan A to a plan that works before running out of resources.
While writing a business plan can be a good exercise for the entrepreneur, it takes too long and more importantly, falls short of its true purpose: Facilitating conversations with people other than yourself.
Since most Plan As are likely to be proven wrong anyway, you need something less static and rigid than a business plan.
Lean Canvas solves this problem using a 1-page business model that takes under 20 minutes to create.
Instead of taking weeks or months, you can outline multiple business models in an afternoon.
Because your business model has to fit on a single page, you have to pick your words carefully and get to the point. This is great practice for distilling the essence of your business.
A single-page business model is much easier to share with others, which means it will be read by more people and be more frequently updated.
Then he ran into early works on Customer Development and Lean Startup pioneered by Steve Blank and Eric Ries. Ash joined in on the conversation and has been rigorously applying and testing these principles since then. He started sharing his learning on his blog, which then turned into a book, and subsequently into a series of products aimed at helping entrepreneurs raise their odds of success.