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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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Why All Business Has to be More Social

Are trends favoring social businesses over classic “greed is good” businesses? Is all business social business? Or, every day, more business is social? I think so. I hope so. I first heard the term “social venture” in the late 1990s. Back then, social ventures were the odd exception to the norm, making money while making...

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10 Good Reasons Not to Seek Investors For Your Startup

Sure, maybe you need the money. Maybe that’s what your business plan says. But seriously: Do you really want to have investors involved in your dream startup? I’ve said it before: bootstrapping is underrated. I get frequent emails from people asking how they can get investment for their new startup, and I’ve admitted to being...

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Planning Principle: Do Only What You’ll Use

Efficient business in general means avoiding waste, doing only what has value. Therefore the right form for your business plan is the form that best serves your business purpose. Furthermore, for the vast majority of business owners, the business purpose of planning is getting what you want from the business – setting strategy and tactics,...

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The CBD Ingredient of Marijuana Offers New Business Opportunities

As states move toward legalized marijuana, most of the fuss so far is about pot as recreational drug, all of which has to do with the THP ingredient, the key to the marijuana high. But marijuana also contains another ingredient, CBD, which doesn’t generate a high, but may offer interesting health benefits as a happy...

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What Business to Start? Look in the Mirror. Depends on You.

I’ve always said that what business is right for you depends not on the market, or what’s hot, but on who you are. So look in the mirror. I get a steady flow of questions about what business to start, and I see them almost every day on Quora.com, my favorite question-answer platform. With this...

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Planning Builds Metrics and Accountability for Business Management

Good business management boils down to managing expectations and results. Define expectations clearly, with objective numbers you can track. Track results with the same metrics. Deal with the difference between expectations and results, positive or negative. There’s nothing better than that for developing accountability in a business. And good planning process is the best way to...

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Productivity Tip: Walking Meetings. In the Park.

File this one under the general category of things business owners can do to preserve physical and mental health, despite the rigors of running a business. It goes along with getting regular exercise, and shutting down every so often out of range of devices. Do as many meetings as you can walking, instead of sitting....

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Revising the Root Canal Theory of Business Planning

For years I’ve lived with my own “root canal theory of business planning.” Do the Google search for that phrase and you’ll see that my previous writing about this comes up first. Like root canals, business plans were something people dreaded, but needed. Happily, things have changed. For today: lean business planning Unlike a root canal,...

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Looking for Investment? Understand Startup Valuation

How much equity do I have to give to angel investors? If you’re a startup founder looking for angel investment, you need to understand valuation. It’s a buzzword that people use in other contexts, too, which adds to the confusion. But it’s ultimately what determines how much of your company your investors will get, and...

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Video: TED Talk: Dare to Disagree

My Friday video this week is from another TED talk, Dare to Disagree, by Margaret Heffernan. If you don’t see it here, you can click the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_dare_to_disagree?language=en. We are in very strange times, in my view, based on 60+ years of life in the U.S.A. We need to find a way back to working together...

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Video: Don’t Just Ask for Feedback – Listen

My Friday video today, from Stanford ECorner, Mike Rothenberg talks about inviting honest feedback. How to ask for it, how to listen, and how people will go slowly at first. You have to reassure them that you really want the feedback. I’ll add that in my decades in business, I’ve come to treasure the people...

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Business Planning for the ‘Lean Startup’

Nothing related to startups should be carved in stone. Best practices can be useful but are best taken as suggestions, not rules. So I’m troubled to see some of the “lean startup” advocates get into the codification business. I very much respect lean startup thought leaders Eric Ries and Steve Blank and the methodology they popularized at the end...

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Drive a Market Analysis with Stories Instead of Numbers

Do you need to prove a market to investors or bank loan managers? More than ever, good market analysis lives on stories, not numbers. The difference between 10 and 20 million people, as prospects, is minimal. A story of real market need, a solution that a lot of people want, is way better. If you...

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