Sunday, August 2, 2015

Business Planning Tools For Startup and Small Business Owners

Tools To Accelerate Business Growth
Are you planning or running a “Lean” business?  The primary goal of every startup and small business owner is to make a profit.  Malcolm X said; “…by any means possible” and of course he was not talking about profit but it’s no different for small business owners.  The only caveat is that it must be legal and ethical.  Usually, resources are limited, like rag tag guerilla you must make the biggest impact with these limited resources.
Operating lean means that you have identified the essential functions in your business.  Then you find the most efficient, cost effective solutions.  It means implementing a business model that directly addresses the problem you are solving in your market.  A Lean Business Model is the most inexpensive way to test any new business idea.  
This new business modeling trend makes the long drawn out business plans obsolete.  Business plans may still be requested by financial institutions and venture capitalist but as an operational planning tool, business plans are useless.   Today, astute business owners are familiar with the Swedish business innovator, Alexander Osterwalder who developed the Business Model Generation Canvas.  If that’s new to you, read all about it Business Model Generation site here.   
The Business Model Generation Canvas is the foundation upon which other innovative business planners like Eric Reis and Ash Maurya built more sophisticated business planning tools.   Ash maintains a thought provoking training web platform and blog, the LeanStack where he introduces the concept of the Customer Factory.  He uses very simple analogies to explain what could be a vague concept.  If you are serious about finding innovative ways to build your business, follow his blog from the link above.  Ash Maurya’s LeanStack responds to the…
Biggest Challenge For Startups & Small Business Owners
It is not an easy task to install growth systems when you don’t know what they are.  Startup and small business owner think that everything they do in the business have something to do with growth.  For many, it is the first time that they ventured into the business they choose to invest their time and family’s future into.  Most apply the old “trial or error” method to resolve issues that surface.  Expensive, slow and unpredictable but most times appear like the best option for the business.  
The advancement of technology has improved business performance by reducing many of the risks businesses formerly faced.  The business model canvas focuses primarily on the performance related functions that generate profits to a business. 
It was only a matter of time before someone incorporated Mr. Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation Canvas.  Ash Mauyra did it with his Customer Factory, Lean Canvas model.   
The challenge: Use technology to make business planning easier.  
Today, I read an article entitled : How To Stop Lying To Ourselves – A Call for Self Awareness  I would like to recommend that you read it too.  It’s short and will take you only 5 minutes.   Self improvement is the only way to improve your life. Read it here.  I want you to read it because your business is “You Incorporated” What you do in your life reflects your business.
The author of the article, James Clear, makes a very potent point; “you cannot change what you don’t measure”.  My words, not his; a variation of a very popular quote.  When we make statements like; “we doing great” “business is good” “we all set” we are actually lying to ourselves.  Not being really aware makes us delusional.
The Cure
Measure everything about your business.  Install a system that ignites your business model so that you will never have to guess how your business is doing.  Easier said than done but doable with technology. First you must have a system that works for your particular business.  The system is important but even more important is the information you get from it.  Technology has made it doable.  
First you need to be introduced to Trevor and Grace, two innovators who used the concepts developed by Alexander Osterwalder, Eric Reis and Ash Maurya.  Trevor and Grace developed the software to assist business owners in executing their business model and measure each phase of the execution.  
The Tool
Javlin may prove itself to be one of the 21st century most effective business planning tool.   
Get it now, because if you do, you may still be able to get the Early Access opportunity to use the software for a year.  Javelin will make executing your business model so much easier.

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