Lean and Young – Business Planning for Millennials

businessmen planning meetingAccording to a brand new post from entrepreneur.com, if you’re twenty-something, there are seven things that you should know about business planning before you end up climbing the corporate ladder for 40 years.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I like this article. It focuses on the new business models that have sprung up in response to what Gartner calls, The Nexus of Forces:

“The Nexus of Forces — the convergence of mobile, social, cloud and information — has become the platform for digital business. Digital business is the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds.”

It can be argued that today, every business is a digital business and that, based on the rules of bimodal and agile business planning; your old-school business plan may be totally irrelevant. So, before I spin off into a number of fascinating rants, let me get back to the article and clarify where CBM can help you remain agile, but still rooted in good business modeling practices.

Take One Ibuprofen and Call Me in the Morning

The first thing the writer or the article, Cameron Benson, did was to grab a meme from Big Pharma:  “Go for the ‘minimum effective dose.’” By this he means just get to market, already.

”As long as your product offers value to your customers, it’s ready to launch. Everything else will come in due time. This doesn’t mean you should start a business around a subpar or incomplete product, but you shouldn’t wait until it’s perfect, either.”

I agree. But I also believe that if you haven’t thought through your delivery methods, how you can reach your customer and who your competitors are, you’re destined to have jumped too soon. Use tools like the business planning framework. It’s lean enough to not gum up the works but smart enough to help you avoid the most common pratfalls before you launch.

Our friend Cam also asserts that “People are your businessAs an entrepreneur, you need to nurture your ability to develop and cultivate relationships with others because that skill is essential to the growth and success of your business. How can you build more relationships to help your business grow?”

About twelve  years ago, I read Tim Sanders book, Love is the Killer App. I was deep into my corporate phase (meaning I had stopped being an agency person and had gone in-house to try to effect awesome marketing/PR change from within) and there were some long-time political lifers invested in stopping every idea that wasn’t their own. I nearly lost my mojo—until Tim Sanders and his statistics about nice people finishing first saved me from developing premature meanness and the frown lines that go with them.

This Yahoo executive laid it out in a way that I could definitely work with: “Here, then, is my definition of love business: the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners. What are your intangibles? They are our knowledge, our network, and our compassion. These are the keys to true bizlove.”

Sanders is basically saying that “smart, nice people can succeed.” If your personal brand is mean and narcissistic, you can have the best product in the world but your brand will tank because in this age of social media transparency and comment sections, you’re toast if you offend too many people too much of the time. Trust me—you do NOT have the budget to kill every rumor—especially if they’re true. Suffice it to say, newer business models have to include some semblance of kindness in their plan. It’s just common sense.

Cameron also counsels: “Let go of the business plan myth. The world has changed a lot since the time of traditional 160-page business plans. There are millions of successful businesses that started from a simple idea…while the “traditional” business plan may not be necessary, there are key things to consider before you launch. First, start with the end in mind by considering how you want your business to function. Next, consider the branding aspect of your business, domains, social media profiles, etc. and own your name! Finally, put it all together by handling the legal aspects of your business.”

At CBM, we love this attitude. Creating a Lean Business plan will often take care of the functional blueprints you’ll need for day-to-day operations. But don’t forget—one of the main reasons businesses fail is because they can’t get a handle on logistics. Once again, our Framework can help.  If I could tell any young entrepreneur one thing, it would be this—“lean in” on your logistics. It’ll pay off in the end.

2 replies
    • Patty Tomsky says:

      Hi Tim!
      Psyched that you liked it. I have been following you since your “love cat” days– I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on this post — and I’m grateful for all of the insights that you have given me over the years. Thanks again.


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