Your Business Plan is a Crap-shoot.

Why the Business Model Canvas is the best Strategic Planning Tool

About two years ago, I wrote an article criticizing my alma mater’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl Competition (BYOBB) [Read the full article] because of its grading rubric. The BYOBB bills itself as a seed funding program for entrepreneurs — with over $200,000 in annual cash and prize giveaways — but the program falls short because it doesn’t actually fund Entrepreneurship. I looked at the last 15 BYOBB grand prize winners and none of them are still in business, today (which is fine – business is tough), but the troubling thing is that most of them never even launched (which makes the BYOBB Competition seem like a joke)!

Entrepreneurship is a Doer Sport…

The BYOBB grand prize goes to the person who can formalize and articulate the best business plan.  It rewards market research and theory, not real entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur is a doer, a problem solver, a person of action, not of words!

In 2011, Eric Ries published The Lean Start-up, which puts forth a methodology on how to build products and run companies. One of the themes of the book is that business plans are worthless — the only thing that matters in business is real market feedback — customer purchases and/or DAU metrics (daily active users) which Eric calls, “Validated Learning.” 

How Can the BYOBB Competition Improve?

Instead of grading business plans, the BYOBB should grade entrepreneurs on their execution of a business model. Going forward, all participants must be open for business with a readily available product or service (A), which qualifies them as entrepreneurs, and  (B) they must be executing on an objective and well-defined business model. This rubric aligns much better with the BYOBB’s mandate and intent — which is to reward and inspire entrepreneurship at Temple University.

[Watch] How to Build a Business Model…

A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.                       ~ Alex Osterwalder