I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
The idea of a Lean Business Plan has been around for a long time and over the years there have been countless variations created because it’s a great idea.
A Lean Business Plan is a simplified variation of a conventional business plan. It takes what is traditionally a 30-page document and refines the information down to a single page. A Lean Business Plan is great for very small business startups that are not borrowing money.
To be clear, if you are borrowing money to start a business or seriously depleting your personal savings, you should not use a Lean Business Plan (LBP). At least you shouldn’t use it as your final business plan, but it can be a great way to start laying out the foundation of your traditional business plan.
If you are starting a very small home-based business and are not taking out loans or draining your savings to do so, then you should strongly consider using a Lean Business Plan.
The main reason to use an LBP is that while it drives you to answer important questions about your future business, it doesn’t lead you into the weeds where you’ll spend weeks or months planning instead of doing.
I’m sure you’ve heard an old saying that goes “perfect is the enemy of the good”. This saying is often attributed to Voltaire who was the father of the Age of Enlightenment during the 18th century. Given his place and moment in history, I’m guessing he wasn’t thinking about those of us who are starting a home-based business when he said these famous words…or something very similar since nuance is always lost in translation.
But for our purposes, let’s just think of “perfect is the enemy of the good” to be a call for us to simply “actually do something good instead of just plan something perfect.”
So many small businesses never launch because the plan is never perfect. It is 100% true that 100% of those businesses fail.
Let’s not set ourselves up for guaranteed failure. Instead, as long as the risk is acceptable, let’s just get a good enough plan and move forward toward the potential of success. That’s what the Lean Business Plan does for us.
Does Every Home-Based Business Need A Lean Business Plan?
Every home-based business startup needs a business plan, and the Lean Business Plan is a great choice for such small businesses. A Lean Business Plan will force a startup to consider not only their plan but their competition and business environment.
What’s Included In A Lean Business Plan?
There are countless versions of the Lean Business Plan, but the standard setup includes the following boxes: Identity, Problem Worth Solving, Our Solution, Target Market, The Competition, Sales Channels, Marketing Activities, Projected Revenue, Projected Expenses, Projected Mile Stones.
All of these boxes are formatted to fit on a single page, which gives each box just enough room to answer the related question as long as you are concise. For the record, being concise is a good thing. No one reads walls of text, and that will include you when you look back at this business plan in three months to check if you’re still on track.
Free Lean Business Plan Template
There are lots of places to download a free Lean Business Plan PDF, but honestly, they are all fall a little short and don’t make the process of creating a Lean Business Plan as easy as it could be or as professional-looking as you might want it to be.
For that reason, I created my own free version of The Lean Business Plan that lets you choose if you want to create your plan with pencil-and-paper or do it online and then print it.
My free Lean Business Plan is created in Google Sheets. I’ll just give you a link to view my template and you can make your own copy of it and do whatever you want with it as long as you don’t just spread it around the internet all willy-nilly. Instead, just send people back over here to get their own copy of my Lean Business Plan Google Sheet.
Once you have your own copy, you can print it so you fill it in with a pencil or you can edit it in Google Sheets and then print it.
You can get the free template below, though it does give you the option to drop a few bucks in the tip jar if you feel moved to do so.
P.S. There are more home-based business startup resources available in the Food Business Pros Shop.
Lean Business Plan Template – FREE
The Lean Business Plan (LBP) is a one-page business plan that is perfect for most startup home-based businesses. You don’t need a 30-page business plan unless you’re getting ready to invest a lot of money in this business startup.
I have been working on making drafts of business-specific lean business plans and as I get them done I’ll offer them for sale here to help you get a better plan while saving hours.