A lot of people have requested this from me over the years, so I thought I would post it to my Blog. It's a simple, but helpful guide to the questions that you should ask yourself as you begin to plan any new business or venture. Appropriately, it's called the "One Page Business Planning Guide" and I hope you put it to good use!
(Friendly Tip: It's not first on the outline, but my experience is that you're going to have a more productive planning session if you start with the "Marketing" Section. This helps you know whether you really, in fact, have a business opportunity or not!)
Mission Statement "What is your goal?"
Briefly describe your team's mission statement. For example, one company’s mission can be described as, "We democratize venture capital." (About 10 words)
Elevator Pitch "What are you doing?"
Briefly explain your team's business concept. Give a summary of your team's vision and how you plan to successfully implement your idea. Imagine you are riding an elevator with a potential investor. Be brief and clear. (About 100 words)
Business Model "How will you make money?"
Summarize how your business will generate revenues and profits. What is your sustainable competitive advantage? Can this business model benefit from scale? Is there an opportunity for subscription-based and/or residual income? Does the business benefit from the “network effect” (customers’ benefits increase as more people become customers)? (About 100 words)
Technology "How does it work?"
Discuss the underlying technology, product development, and/or manufacturing process for your product or service. (About 400 words)
Marketing Plan "How will you get the word out?"
Describe the target audience you plan to reach, as well as the Unique Selling Proposition, pricing strategy, and marketing plan you will employ to market and sell your concept. How will your strategy evolve as you grow? The Positioning Statement is a great way to conclude this step. Use the following outline: For (targeted customers)…who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternatives)…. Our service is a (product category)…. That provides (key problem or pain addressed)…Unlike (product alternatives)…. We have assembled (key whole product features for your specific application)… Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm, Harper Business, 1999, page 154. (About 400 words)
Distribution Plan "How will you get your product or service to customers?"
Describe your distribution and sales strategy. Will you use a sales force and physical distribution system? For example, will you utilize a direct, 2-step, or more complex distribution channel? Is there an opportunity to bundle your product with another, perhaps more established, product? (About 300 words)
Top Concerns "What could go wrong?"
Explain the top three obstacles that your team's business concept could face in the near future, and how your team plans to overcome such obstacles. (About 300 words)
Competition "Who's in your space and how will you defeat them?"
Explain the competitive advantage of your team's business strategy. Who are your primary competitors and how will they affect your success? What trends prevail in the industry? How will your business affect the market space? (About 400 words)
Financial Plan "How much money do you need?"
Estimate how much capital your team will need to successfully implement your business plan. What investment sources will your team solicit for funding, how will you utilize this capital, and how much money do you plan to make? (About 400 words)
Want more help working through the details of your idea? Make sure you get a copy of "From Idea to Ignition" today! It's for you if:
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