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You don’t know where to start?

09/27/2013

Capture Your Vision on a Single Page

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.

This is where the 1-page business model comes in.

The 1-Page Business Model Canvas

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.

The problem with business plans isn’t the planning but the format.

Additionally, since most Plan As are likely to be proven wrong anyway, you need something less static and rigid than a business plan.

Business Model vs Business Plan

Compared to business plans, creating a 1-page business model is:

Fast
Instead of taking weeks or months, you can outline multiple business models in an afternoon.

Concise
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.

Portable
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.

Lean Canvas

Here is what a 1-page business model looks like:

Lean Canvas

The image above shows the Lean Canvas format which is my adaptation of Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas.

Source: Lean Canvas

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