Notionovus Lean Canvas

I am studying the following books: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Running Lean by Ash Maurya and Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. While I tend to think of myself as traditional, I am always open to studying new techniques, especially if they help me to eliminate waste.

A seemingly recurring theme with these books is the non-traditional approach to the business plan. I have a traditional business plan. I started on it one year ago with some help from SCORE Peoria. I show it to people occasionally, to give them an idea that this Notionovus thing isn’t just a whim and that I’ve put some thought into how I would approach investors.

The problem is, I am not ready to approach investors. I am not confident in the applicability of my technical skills to today’s IT challenges. I want to give my business some time for study and ideation. I have to draw up a vision for how we will do business. In short, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”.

The problem with a traditional business plan is its purpose. It is intended to show investors and bankers that you are ready for some form of financing to take your business to “the next level”. Without that exercise, a business plan seems a poor fit as I am using it. The business plan is not dynamic. Changing one assumption forces you to revisit many other assumptions. You find yourself needing to edit several sections at once, and the sections aren’t linked together like a spreadsheet. Each part of a business plan requires deep thought.

It’s not that I don’t think business plans are valuable. I just think that if all you are going to do is show your business plan to others as a means of discussing your business ideas, there are more efficient ways to layout your talking points. I am referring to the Lean Canvas. My guideline for developing Notionovus’ Lean Canvas was the Business Model Generation book. This book lays the instruction for building a Lean Canvas out for any venture in an easy to understand format. Plenty of examples, lots of pictures, my kind of book.

Lean Canvas
The Notionovus Lean Canvas

In a future blog entry, I’ll navigate the Notionovus Lean Canvas with you and explain the abbreviated notions. I think the Lean Canvas is easier to work with and helps me speak to others about my business. I highly recommend the books mentioned at the beginning of this article if you are working on your own startup.
Until next time,  thank you for tuning in.

Weblog 2.0?

Hello. This is Brian Anderson again. I gave a brief introduction to myself in July of 2012. If you are curious, the best way to get to know more about me is through my LinkedIn page.

I have not been updating this site as frequently as I would have liked. This is partially because I have had too much to write about and partially because I have not been confident that this weblog is the ideal venue. I recently took a fantastic class on Content Management Systems taught by Mark DuBois for Working Connections and it really opened my eyes to some of the interesting things I could do with this website, so I am newly committing myself to keeping this site more up-to-date.

The site will be restructured as follows:

Website MindMap

New Website Map

I will be adding stubs to locations where there will be future articles and discussion. In the interim, the second phase of the barcode articles needs to be written, because I have the code written that will replace the brute force method to Code 128 barcodes. This is still browser-based, and while I lack the resources and inclination to test the software on all sorts of different versions of every browser imaginable, I do know that it works on any Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Opera browser that supports scripting. By the way, the Javascript is of a rudimentary and benign nature and requires no interaction with your local file system. The source files are extremely small and in the interest of keeping things open and comprehensible I will be combining them for each symbology in the examples. Remember, the initial constraint for this software is the user must be able to generate barcodes independent of any network. We are using the browser merely as a tool to display HTML. That means no jQuery, no PHP, no server-side calculations and no files external to the source.

Away we go. If you remember the first series of articles, they were focused on getting an HTML browser to represent barcodes that, when printed, would scan. I started with the Code 128 symbology and indicated that the technique would work with almost any flavor of barcode up to and including QR Code. As proof of that, I am including some examples of barcodes that are printed from browsers using the new Javascript technique. So far I have created Code 128, Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5 and QR Code symbols with the new method.

Barcode Collage
These are examples taken from HTML pages created with the Javascript barcode generator.

I have found some quirks with the browsers and some other technical challenges I am working on before I can get this code “production ready”, but in the coming weeks I will be posting my progress. Until next time, thank you for tuning in.