For those who are regular readers, you know that I don’t believe in business plans. In my own case, when I started my firm, even my best predictions suggested that I’d go belly up in three months and had I memorialized my reality in a business plan, I’d never have had the nerve to launch. But even for those with more sanguine futures, it’s all too easy to fall prey to analysis paralysis, endlessly writing and refining and plotting a plan.
Still, having said that, I find that it’s useful to put something down on paper. The Starting a Law Firm Calculator that I developed for MyShingle is helpful, but it basically focuses on the minutia and costs of anticipated revenue and expenses rather than the big picture. But yesterday, in preparing a presentation on starting a law practice, I came across this fantabulous tool, Canvarise.com. Essentially, it’s an online platform that lets you create a canvas for a business model, lean start-up or a SWOT Analysis. To me, Lean Start Up (which I mentioned here seemed most analogous, and I threw together the above dummy diagram just to give an example of how it might look. The service is free and you simply fill in the blanks right on line – an elegant and fun tool. The uses aren’t limited to just starting a firm – you could play around with Canvarise to plan the launch of a new niche or suite of virtual offerings.