Ditch the business plan. Paint a canvas instead

paintsNo-one wants to read your business plan.

I know you’ve spent hours on it. And that’s just the formatting. But no-one’s interested in reading it.

It’s a work of fiction that’s out-of-date the second you finish it. It’s about as relevant to your business as Game of Thrones but, without the sex and violence, much less interesting. Really. Much.

Investors don’t even want to read your business plan. Don’t believe me? Well, that’s what Julian Carter of EC1 Capital says in this Tech City News article. He’d much rather see your Business Model Canvas so that he can quickly understand what your business is about.

He’s right, the Business Model Canvas is a much more useful tool, which is why I use it with all the startups, entrepreneurs and business owners I work with, as well as running courses on it.

Why is it so great?

Firstly, it forces you to make your business model comprehensive and logically coherent. Any incomplete or sloppy thinking sticks out like a sore thumb.

Secondly, it allows you, and anyone you share it with, to ask lots of questions; not only that but it prompts you to ask the right questions.

Thirdly, it makes you expose your assumptions, which can then be tested and proved, or disproved and changed.

These three things alone will stop you making many of the more common and avoidable mistakes that businesses, and especially startups, make. However,  there’s another really important reason for using the Business Model Canvas and it’s this – it’s not simply a model, it’s a storyboard.

Starting from any of the nine boxes, you can work your way around the canvas to describe how your business works. It’s a framework for telling the story of your business.

And that’s what people want to hear about. Not your 5 year projections. Not your SWOT analysis. It’s your story that they remember.

And if they buy your story, then they’ll want to see your business plan. Perhaps.

Photo Credit: ~Oryctes~ via Compfight cc

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