How To Plan Your Business Without Excel

Welcome to the Lean-Case Product Training.

We are really happy you decided to join this training because you are going to learn four things at the same time. We want you to understand 

  • the basics of financial metrics
  • our methodology of How to build a professional Business-Case 
  • the smart way to pitch your business case on just 1 page 
  • the key business questions which decision makers ask and…
  • of course, the fun of Getting started with Lean-Case 

How to get started?

Onboarding is really the hardest part when you start using any tool. The same is true with Lean-Case.

Before you create a new Lean-Case Project, you should have a clear idea of what you want to model and how your business model should look like. You would have the same challenges if you were building your business plan in Excel.

Lean-Case, at least, can offer you a structure to follow and a much higher likelihood of success to get your project funded.

If you are just starting, check out our tutorials and blueprints and get some ideas. Lean-Case Blueprints are sample projects which you can select when you set up a project - which get you off to a fast start.

If you have a need for specific Blueprints for your organization, you can set them up for your team. Alternatively, let us know your ideas and questions and we can provide help.

When setting up a Lean-Case project, you should understand the concept of the  customer lifecycle which has 2 stages

  • Getting Customers and
  • Keeping & Growing Customers
Customer Lifecycle

To build your own lifecycle, you should specifically be able to answer 3 key questions:

  1. 1
    How do you create leads?
  2. 2
    How do you convert leads into paying customers?
  3. 3
    And, how do you grow your paying customers?

With those answers in mind, Lean-Case becomes a "lean" business plan simulator - and profit planner ... that allows you to model the customer lifecycle model of your business so that you can:

  • understand the key assumptions and metrics about your business 
  • present and explain them LOGICALLY on just one page and
  • answer the 4 key business questions which decision makers have

Key Business Questions to answer

The 4 key business questions which investors ask provide the framework for this training:

So, what are those 4  key business questions? 

  • What is your revenue potential?
  • Are unit economics positive so that your business is viable to grow ? (CLTV >> CAC)
  • When will your business become profitable?
  • How much investment is required?
Lean-Case Question 0

In particular understanding the unit economics - if Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is significantly higher than Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) is relevant for funding decisions. 

If unit economic work well, it is great to spend money on scaling your business. Most Excel plans do not answer this question and often investors invest without an understanding of unit economics, thus financing incorrect propositions.


How to pitch your financial model

Let's first check how to visualize the idea behind a Lean-Case project and our blueprints. You can pitch your financial model exactly the same way. On just one page, we are showing the customer lifecycle with all its key assumptions on how to create leads, how to convert them into paying customers and how to grow paying customers. 

Business Plan - Explaining Assumptions

Based on these core assumptions, we can then answer all the key questions which decision makers ask on revenue potential, business viability, profitability and investment required.

In this product tour, we are actually showing you an example of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business. We will create this model from scratch as part of this product tour. You can later also check it out. It is available as the blueprint which is called "SaaS Training".

Creating a Lean-Case Project

Let’s see how to create a Lean-Case project …

After you signed up, you should click the button <Go> to get to your personal  "My Projects Space" workspace to add a new Lean-Case project.


Create a project by clicking on the <+> icon. You have the option to start a Lean-Case project from scratch or to use one of our Blueprints. The Blueprints describe how the Lean-Case projects are set up. You also have access to more detailed information, step-by-step tutorials and videos available for our blueprints.

Lean-Case Template

  Learn more about "My Project Spaces" 

Starting off with a Blueprint

Let's get started by picking a Blueprint which will show some of the basic concepts involved. Select the Blueprint: SaaS Training to create a project:

  • Pick a name for your project
  • Select a currency
  • Set the project start year and start month, e.g. Jan 20, and
  • if you want, you can pick a logo for your project

Great, we have just created your first Lean-Case Project.

Let’s first take a look at the menus in Lean-Case: 

You find a few menus to enter data: Revenues, Headcount, Expenses and Capital. They are very similar. You can plan, check and track your data.


In addition, we are giving you a glimpse of the Dashboard menu which provides all answers to the business questions which decision makers ask.

NEW Demo 17-7.00_02_49_38.Still021

To get around in any of the sub-menus, you find the Getting Started Box with useful information to get started. This information includes:

  • A short explanation of the sub-menu
  • A video explaining the functionality within this sub-menu in more depth
  • And links which take you to our help center

You can also access this information via the help menu in the Top Menu Bar.


A key concept in Lean-Case Projects are Revenue Streams.

Lean-Case Revenue Streams allow the modeling of:

  • customer contracts with certain revenue types and contract terms
  • forecast models to model traffic and pipeline volumes
  • churn to model customers which you cannot retain 
  • And revenue-related costs:
  • to acquire NEW customers (Cost of Customer Acquisition consisting of Cost of Selling, Cost of Marketing and Cost of Leads) and
  • to produce, deliver to and support EXISTING customers (Cost of Goods Sold)
Revenue Stream

With conversions rules, you can simulate upselling from one stream into another. Conversion Rules connect the revenue streams to model the Customer Lifecycle, including how to:

  • create leads
  • convert leads into paying customers and 
  • grow paying customers

Key Assumptions for the Training Case

Let's now go back to the "My Projects" space via the Profile Menu in the upper right corner of the Menu Bar. On your workspace, let's create a project from scratch. Again, the project which we build in this tour creates the Blueprint "SaaS Training".

Let's first take a look at the customer lifecycle which we want to model.

Business Plan - Assumptions Overview

SaaS Business Case on 1 page
  • the business creates Signups by advertising on Google and Linkedin. Leads come to a landing page and a percentage of them convert into Signups.
  • 20% of Signups convert into Trials after 3 months and 
  • 10% of Trials convert into Basic Deals after 1 more month
  • Basic Deals create $500 of Monthly Recurring Revenues (MRR) - 2% of deals churn on a monthly basis  
  • 20% of Basic Deals can be upsold and converted to Enterprise Deals after another 3 months
  • Enterprise Customers create $1,000 of MRR and to 50% of them the business can cross-sell one-time service revenues of $2,000

Metrics at Play

Let's quickly see which Metrics are behind the logic of a customer lifecycle. When getting, keeping and growing customers, there are always four different types of metrics at play.

  • Volume Metrics – to create volume for the pipeline and sales funnel
  • Conversion Metrics –  to push the volume through the pipeline from stage to stage
  • Time Delay Metrics – which describe how long a conversion takes
  • Financial Metrics  – which describe how much a conversion costs
Metrics at Play

Let's put the theory about these metrics into action.

Start Your FREE

Lean-Case 7-Day Trial Today...

Click on the “Start My FREE 7-Day Trial” button above… discover the viability of any business idea in 20 minutes – and create your business plan in 2 hours or less…

(No Credit Card and No Excel required!)

Let's see how we can answer the 4 key business questions in 4 steps-