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Lean Business Planning

Get what you want from your business

Lean business planning simple but powerful way to get what you want from your business. Get focused, grow faster, and adjust to change. A lean business plan is an easy and practical way to align strategy, tactics, milestones, assumptions, and essential cash flow without the fuss of a full business plan.

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Standard Financials: Sample Website Sales Forecast

Here’s fourth sales forecast example, part of my standard business plan financials series, following email sales forecast example, restaurant sales forecast example, and how to forecast sales last week. This is a sample website sales forecast. In all of them I’m making the point that sales forecasts come from meaningful assumptions you can use to manage the...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: How to Forecast Sales

Continuing with my series on standard business plan financials, you can’t run a business, or start a new business, without a sales forecast. Whether you have a full business plan, or a lean business plan, or just a collection of spreadsheets, a proper sales forecast ought to become like a dashboard, meaning it’s a tool you...

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Business Plan Financials: How Many Months and Years

Do complete business plan financials include three years of monthly financial projections? Five years? One year? Obviously the answer to this frequently asked business plan financials question depends on the specific context. Sometimes specific organizations, business plan readers, require some specific timeframe. The Small Business Administration (SBA), for example, requires at least 12 months of...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: How to Project Cash Flow

No matter what your business planning objectives, cash flow is still the most vital resource in the business, and managing cash is the single most important business function. Without cash, you go under. So I always assume cash flow is included in every kind of real business plan. And it is the most important component...

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We’re Raising Girls to be Perfect, Boys to be Brave

Friday video, a TED talk, Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani is out to change the way the world looks at girls, tech, and girls in tech. Her non-profit Girls Who Code inspires high school girls to study computer science.  She aims to enroll one million women in the program by 2020 — and tech has...

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Standard Business Plan Financials

Why You Need to Know I believe these three things about startup entrepreneurs, business owners and standard business plan financials: The essential need-to-know facts about financials are very important; They are easy enough to learn; and Bankers, accountants, investors and their analysts expect you to know them and use them correctly. And here’s why, quoting...

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10 Reasons Angel Investors Don’t Like Your Plan

Once again, for the eighth year in a row, I’m involved as an angel investor with the Willamette Angel Conference and screening investments. We’ll announce a decision in May, and between now and then, we’re looking at startups. About a fourth of them get what we call due diligence, and about half of those become...

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Remarkable Real Research on How Life Goals Matter

What? A 75-year-study on adult development? Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger absorbs the Harvard Study on Adult Development. Here he shares insights on how life goals affect happiness, and what ultimately is happiness. The study itself is remarkable. Waldinger credits luck and the persistence of several generations of researchers. About 60 of the original 600 men are...

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Chris Anderson on What Makes a Great TED Talk

For a video today I found this delightful TED talk about TED talks. TED, which stands for technology, education, and design, has become an amazing collection of great 5-to-20-minute talks, some of the best anywhere. If you want examples of great public speaking, excellent presentations, you go to TED. So when I was at the...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Indirect Cash Flow Forecasting

I’ve been doing a series on standard business plan financials, summarizing the basics so anybody who runs a business can know and understand the numbers. This one is a special follow up to How to Project Cash Flow and LivePlan Cash Flow last week. Indirect cash flow forecasting is a valid and often convenient method...

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Business Plan Financials: Cash vs. Accrual Bookkeeping

I hate the buzzwords and general environment related to accounting and financial terms. No wonder business owners shy away from it. “Accrual accounting” sounds like something you do with thumb screws, rack, and chains. But – damn – it matters. If you run a business, you have huge incentive to understand this stuff. And there...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Important Cash Flow Vocabulary

As I continue with my series on standard business plan financials, I want to look at the basic cash flow These words put some people off because they sound like accounting and financial analysis. But they’re good terms to know, especially if you’re running a business. This is important cash flow vocabulary. Cash in business...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Projected Profit and Loss

Continuing with my series here on standard business plan financials, all taken from my Lean Business Planning site, the Profit and Loss, also called Income Statement, is probably the most standard of all financial statements. And the projected profit and loss, or projected income (or pro-forma profit and loss or pro-forma income) is also the most...

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Life as VP Product in a High-Tech Startup

My Friday video for this week features a VP of product at a fast-growing high tech startup (business social media), in an interview describing life in one of these startups, how product evolves, and some personal reflections as well, such as a comparison of startup life in San Francisco vs. New York. She’s worked in...

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The Value of Business Plan Assumptions

(This post is an excerpt from my latest book, Lean Business Planning, reprinted here with permission.) Identifying assumptions is extremely important for getting real business benefits from your business planning. Planning is about managing change, and in today’s world, change happens very fast. Assumptions solve the dilemma about managing consistency over time, without banging your...

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Business Plan Financials: Starting Costs

It’s really important to have an idea of what you need before you start. Continuing with my series on standard business plan financials, startups need to project starting costs. Starting costs set up a starting balance, which is necessary to plan cash flow. And the starting costs are critical to determining whether a startup can bootstrap or...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Email Sales Forecast Example

Here’s another sales forecast example, part of my standard business plan financials series, following my restaurant sales forecast example posted here yesterday, and how to forecast sales the day before. The point is to call out realistic assumptions that make a sales forecast useful. This is to illustrate my underlying point that anybody who can...

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Standard Business Plan Cash Flow: LivePlan

Most of my series on standard business plan financials is generic, meaning that it is about concepts, not business planning software. Of course I’m biased about business plan software, because I believe in LivePlan as the best available solution. I try to keep that out of most of my posts. However, when we look seriously...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Keep the Balance Simple

In standard business plan financials, the balance sheet is a projection, not a recounting of actual money. It links to projected Profit and Loss to help project cash flow. It’s the most important example of the difference between planning and accounting.  In accounting, the Balance Sheet statement has exact details broken into categories and sub...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: 3 Essential Projections

Yesterday I posted here the six key financial terms every business owner or startup leader needs to know. That’s reposted from my site on Lean Business Planning. These six terms work into three essential statements (for past results) or projections (in business plans or anything referring to the future) for standard business plan financials. A...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Spending Budget

As I continue with my standard business plan financials series, I turn now to developing the spending budget. True, nobody likes budgets, but the budgeting function is one of the most important to management to keep cash in the bank; and we all know it. In standard business plan budgeting, you look for realism and credibility,...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Sales Forecast Example

Continuing my series on standard business plan financials, this is an example of a startup sales forecast. It’s a direct follow-up to yesterday’s How to Forecast Sales. The goal is to take a hypothetical case and open up the thinking involved, not so anybody just copies it, but rather to serve as an example. The...

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Business Plan Financials: Tips and Traps

This is the latest post in my series on standard business plan financials. I’ve already written about the three essential projections, and how to do each, plus posts on standard vocabulary, timeframes, and so on. This one covers some common misunderstandings and errors that occur. The area of financial analysis is one in which definitions matter...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Projected Balance

This is another in a series of posts on standard business plan financials, continuing from last week. “Think of it as your business dashboard, providing a snapshot of the financial health of your company at a specific moment in time. The purpose is simple: balance sheets list assets, liabilities and owner equity, typically in order...

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Standard Business Plan Financials: Six Key Terms

A good argument for teams in business is not having to know finance if you love sales, marketing, or product development. But you’re a business owner. These important terms aren’t that hard to learn and understand. You owe it to yourself and your business. Like it or not, some very common terms including capital, assets,...

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