Supporters of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) seem to have a tendency to quickly throw the idea of a business plan under a bus. But I don’t think it’s correct to think of the BMC and a business plan as opponents.
Filling out your business model canvas involves going through the different sections and developing your hypotheses, or best guesses, of what you think your business is capable of. Realistically, this is the same thing you do with a business plan. The preparation and research involved is simply a little different.
In order to fit your best guesses onto the business model canvas, I agree you need to really shorten the business plan. But why can’t a business plan be short anyway?
There is a product from Jim Horan called a One Page Business Plan.
The big advantage of combining the BMC with the customer discovery and various Lean Startup methods is the ability to test and validate your business plan assumptions before you start building the business. This significantly reduces your market and product risks of building something customers don’t want.
But after you nail the problem and test the features of a minimum viable product you can always take your revised business model canvas and turn it back into a short and clear business plan.
As you look to launch your business, you will likely still find mentors, bankers, and other resources providers that will ask you for a business plan. You will want to give them your BMC turned back into a short business plan. (They might even appreciate the brevity so much they actually read it!)
Tell them you have something better than just a business plan full of assumptions and guesses tell them you have a VALIDATED business plan with data that supports your plan!