Actionable Strategies to Develop a Successful Startup Business Plan
Do you dream of having a successful startup business plan that’s almost impossible to compete against? Follow this article and you will be amazed to learn the secret behind successful startups.
It really does not matter at what stage your startup is operating; Being an early stage, up to series C. You can even be a solo entrepreneur with an idea who is planning to build a startup on your amazing business ideas.
Believe me, a high portion of your success depends on getting a few business rules right!
You ought to put in place plenty of important things to be able to successfully launch your startup, however, among all basic components there is something that is of the utmost importance, Your Startup business model.
Although I have already explained the details of a startup business plan and its patterns in the startup business models, the definitive guide, I thought it would be definitely beneficial to provide a step by step approach and help you start working on your business model.
Let’s face the facts
There is a myth about business models and business plans. Old-fashioned business owners think your startup business plan has to be a document that contains lots of charts, vague jargons, plenty of pages that include financial forecasts for next few years and so on.
Today, using the business model canvas which is a creative way to craft and implement your startup business plan, you can simply develop your first version of a business model in no time.
Let’s jump right into the step by step approach and help you write your successful Startup business plan.
Golden Rule #1: Start your business model with a solid foundation
Once you have your business idea in your mind and you have selected your team you should share it with them. Try to create an environment that helps you achieve a common understanding among team members about your business model. In simple terms, your team should know what your business model is and how it affects them.
To achieve that, you can use a business model canvas template and follow the following steps:
- Call for a collaborative meeting and invite everyone to a room.
- Make your objective as clear as possible.
Let me help you: Your objective is to share your business plan and get feedback and finalize the first business model.
- Facilitate the meeting but do not drive everything.
Conduct the session in an informal manner. Ensure that every member has the chance to contribute and share their thoughts.
You will find amazing yet contradictory ideas among extroverts and introvert team members.
- Ask Why, again and again? Do not let yourself and the team be amazed with what’s in your mind; instead try to challenge the business model.
- To easily achieve your mission, prepare a copy of an empty template of business model canvas and ask your team to place it on a whiteboard or the wall.
I always start either with value proposition or customer segment and then move to the other building blocks.
- Use visualization techniques and tools like sticky notes to have a smoother discussion and help everyone speaking the same language. Your team can raise their points and share them with the others by writing on a sticky note and place it in one of the building blocks on the template.
- Avoid having discussions with technical jargon and facilitate the discussion to be more of visual and goal driven.
- When any team member wants to add a point, ask them to draw it on a sticky note and place it on the business model template on the wall
Make Your Business Model Discussion as Efficient as possible.
With the above steps, you managed to get your team prepared and have prepared the necessary tools ready to design your first version of your business model.
Step #1: Defining Customers: Your main question is about understanding your customer’s characters.
You can begin with your team. Use open-ended questions and ask the team to share their ideas about who they think is going to willingly pay for what you offer.
What characteristics are interested in buying our products and why should they do that? Is there any evidence or market research to back your assumption up?
Step #2: How will you connect with your prospective customers?
Relationship is the key to the success of your business. You must think of channels that you can use to build long lasting relationships that ultimately bring revenue to your startup.
One of your critical tasks is to define your differentiation points. While discussing your business model, try to note the best channels to connect with suppliers in your industry that can help you speed up your production.
On the other hand, find the ways that customers would love to be connected with and try to engage them with your offering.
Step #3: Lay out the foundation of your marketing.
Your marketing strategy must be around activities that convert idle users to active ones and eventually turn them to paying users who generate revenue for you. Your success in this field depends on people’s clarity about their responsibility.
Try to find the best answers for these 4 questions. It can be an eye-opener for your team and yourself:-
- What would be your top 10 actionable marketing activities this quarter.
- What investments leads to better ROI of your marketing campaigns?
- What skills should you source?
- Partnership with brands or companies can benefit your business?
Step #4: What actions should you take to manage expenses and generate revenue?
You have two areas to focus on. The first one would be your business’s revenue streams which is about how you will charge customers and make money. Try to keep it as simple as possible.
The second one is called cost/expense structure that lists your main expenses. Managing those costs efficiently helps you to keep the lights on and grow your business.
Here are a few questions to ask your team and finalize your last two building blocks.
- What costs are essential to running the business?
- What categories are expensive and what’s their impact on revenue generation? Is it finding the right talent or maintaining the current infrastructure? How about marketing? etc.
- What ROI do you anticipate to get out of your investments?
- How clear is your revenue generation channel and how do you sell?
- Do you intend to use subscription? Platform Rental? Units Sold? Commissioning external workforce? etc.
Here is the trick to have a successful startup business plan.
Once you have completed the above activities and drafted the first version of your startup business model, you must begin testing it in the real world as what you have is just a set of hypotheses.
Find out more about customer’s feedback by conducting low cost market research and talk to your customers. Do not imply what you want them to hear about your product, instead, let them give you their honest feedback. Gather all feedback and return to the first draft of your startup business model.
You might need to iterate a few times and change a few building blocks before you come up with your final version of business plan.
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Ehsan Jahandarpour is a globally recognized startup coach, entrepreneur and inventor of “Launch your startup in a heartbeat” framework. Ehsan has helped fortune 100 companies such as Microsoft, PETRONAS, and many other startups to take their business to the next level. He shares his actionable strategies, and proven frameworks in his blogRead Full Bio