Are Business Plans a Waste of Time?

Have you ever created a business plan and realised they were a waste of time?

Or to put it in the words of Steve Blank: “… no business plan survives first contact with customers.”


Now the problem I see with business plans is that they are usually a snapshot of what you want to do. Usually, they don’t evolve but end up in a drawer somewhere. And the reason is that they are difficult to work with. It’s a cumbersome document that you know you should keep working on. But who is going to want to read it more than once, if at all? When you might want to work on it again, at a point where you realise that things are not going according to plan, you just don’t have the time to read and rework it. You are a busy entrepreneur, right?

So what’s the solution?

I recently stumbled over an old Stanford recording of Steve Blank and Alexander Osterwalder discussing how using a Business Model Canvas can make you see more clearly what your edge over the competition might be. Even when I have never met any of them, I consider them mentors of mine.

Here is a quote that I particularly liked: “Anybody ever believed DOS was the world’s best engineering solution to an operating system?

Microsoft played a channel game on a way that was chess when everybody else was playing checkers as a strategy.

And Bill Gates’ biggest contribution to business was not technology. It was the ability to use the channel and distribution and pricing in a way that was actually, if you drew it out, the other pieces of the Business Model Canvas that no one else saw.”

Here is the recording of that discussion:

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