Why You Need A Lean Business Plan

The 5c’s Aren’t Enough

The 5c’s are a pretty comprehensive way of evaluating a brand and the market. However, when pitching a company to investors on Shark Tank, you won’t see a founder list the 5c’s. This is because the 5c’s are primarily a framework for understanding how to market a product.

When creating a business, a founder needs to have a comprehensive, well defined, and flexible understanding of their brand/product. That’s hard to pull off when a traditional business plan requires 40 pages of text, charts, and assumptions. While the 5c’s may not be a full picture of what you need to know to launch a business, a huge business plan – before you even launch – won’t do you an favors. Most of the decisions and assumptions you’ll defend won’t have any real-world application to back them up. A business needs flexibility in the early phases. It will go through many changes as it adapts to the market.

Why You Should Use the Lean Canvas

Cue Ash Maurya, an entrepreneur with a radical idea – to make a one page business plan. The Lean Canvas was created to give creative problem solvers a way to process and articulate their business ideas that was malleable and simple. It by nature encourages an entrepreneur not to get too attached to any of their assumptions because it is short, brief, and easy to change. If you’d like you can read more about the Lean Canvas here.

This is an example of an Opinion post. I’ve indicated an opinion that I have and explained why I have hit. I’ve even ended the post with a call to action for my readers.


How to Use our Lean Canvas

For the TKC Marketing class, we’ve modified Ash’s lean canvas. Notice, the bottom one big context section. At this point in developing your brands, you don’t need to plan on how to monetize your blogs or how to cover your costs (this miracle zero-costs and no need for profit stage won’t last forever). This is to help you focus on translating your knowledge of your 5c’s to your business plan.

You Start By Defining Your Customer

The lean canvas starts at the right side of the page, where you can list key information about your target customer. This is similar to your 5c’s. However, to fit this information on your canvas, you should be concise and precise. “Who” is your customer? Are there secondary customers or decision makers? How old are they?

What Is Their Need?

Your company (in our case a blog) should add value to your customer’s life. In order to do that, you’ll need to identify some pain point in their day to day life. Is this a pressing need? Finally, explain how this need is currently met without your company.

Do You Solve It? Do They Need You?

Sections 3 and 4 are about the solution you provide and your Unique Value Proposition. For your solution, what is it that you do that meets this customer’s need that you have outlined. This should directly answer your point in the Problem section.

Your Unique Value Proposition explains what makes you different from those existing alternatives you mentioned before. How will you improve upon the existing solutions?

Where Can You Find Them?

Although you’ll be creating phenomenal content that will bring searchers in off the weary streets of Google in droves, you’ll still need to know how to reach your audience. So, where are your customers hanging out right now? These are your channels.

What’s Your Unfair Advantage?

Your unfair advantage is how you, and only you, can provide this quality solution. So maybe there are 500 blogs on the internet about Pre-War plumbing. Why is yours different? Oh right – you’re certified to do restoration on historical sites in the state of Kansas. Now that’s an unfair advantage. What do you bring to the table that your competition does not?

How Do You Measure Reach?

Luckily for you – we’ve filled this in already. Moving along…

What’s Your Context?

What political, economic, social, and technological factors exist for your customers? Include the circumstances or “climate” that creates the problems you’re trying to solve. What circumstances or “climate” makes your solutions possible?

For the TKC Marketing class, we’ve modified Ash’s lean canvas. Notice, the bottom one big context section. At this point in developing your brands, you don’t need to plan on how to monetize your blogs or how to cover your costs (this miracle zero-costs and no need for profit stage won’t last forever). This is to help you focus on translating your knowledge of your 5c’s to your business plan.

Featured image sourced from theleancanvas.com

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