Lean Business Planning

Lean Planning is an ongoing business planning process that focuses on building a business, not just writing a business plan document. It does involve documents, but they are for internal use only.

The lean approach uses a Plan-Do-Check-Adjust model.

Its primary tool is a one-page business plan.

One Page Business Plan

YouTube Video – Lean Canvas Intro

An Overview of Lean Business Planning

The Informal Business Plan

When you write a formal business plan, your focus is on explaining clearly to others what you are trying to achieve and why they should invest in your business. It is an excellent tool for presenting your business idea to funding institutions and government agencies. 

It is also advantageous to have a less formal document to adjust to changing conditions while managing your business.  For our purpose, we will call that document the Informal Business Plan.

Think of your Informal Business Plan as a working document that evolves as you learn new things about running your business.

 The informal business plan often covers the same topics as those found in the Formal Business Plan, but it is not cast in stone, it adapts as you go.  In some cases, traditional business planning can be replaced with more agile methods. For more info on agile planning methods, read our blog article.

The Informal Business Plan can also be used to document what options you have, evaluate them, record decisions, identify grey areas, establish priorities, identify risks, track assumptions, and note ideas.  The Informal Business Plan is a private document. It is a tool to help you think and write down your thoughts.  How much time you spend on it is up to you and what value it brings to your business.

Some prefer to use a lean planning method and have a one-page business plan. To learn more about lean approaches t business planning, click on the link below.

Lean Business Planning

The Formal Business Plan

A business plan is a written document that outlines your business, where it is going, how it will get there. Such a document is essential if you try to get a loan or grant from a funding institution.

Each funding institution is likely to recommend its own format for the business startup plan, but it would typically contain the following sections:

Executive Summary
Company Overview
The Business Idea
Description of Products and Services
Market Analysis
Marketing and Sales Plan
Operational Plan
HR Plan
Management Team
Financial Projections
Funding Request

The following link from ACOA provides detailed instructions on how to create such a business plan.

ACOA – Planning for success: your guide to preparing a business and marketing plan
Wikihow.com – How to Write a Business Plan for a Small Business

Business Planning

A plan is a roadmap from where we are to where we want to go. Planning is the thought process used to create that roadmap. In the business world, we call the roadmap a business plan and the process a business plan.

Business planning is about establishing objectives and deciding in advance what must be done to achieve these objectives. It is a very important management function.

In the business world, the primary tool for planning is the business plan. There are two types of business plan . A formal business plan is used to get a loan or grant from a financial institution or government agency. There is also an informal business plan that is used to manage your business.

When you start a business from scratch, a considerable amount of planning is required. You must go from an idea to having something in place that produces results. That will not happen accidentally.

If you have time, watch the following video from the City of Toronto, Starting Your Business 101 collection.

YouTube Video – The steps of the strategic planning process in under 15 minutes

Business Plan Templates and Guides

There are many business plan templates and business planning guides online. Here are a few commonly used ones in Atlantic Canada.

CBDC Business Plan Template (Pdf Version)

CBDC One Page Business Plan Summary

CBDC Business Planification Guide

Ignite Fredericton has produced a very high-quality business plan guide.
Ignite Fredericton – Business Plan Guide

BDC – Business Plan Template (you’ll have to provide your email address)

Nova Scotia Co-Operative Council
For Co-operatives
Business Plan Workbook

An excellent article with sample plans
US Small Business Administration – Write Your Business Plan