Innovation and Insight: Smart business planning

Innovation and Insight: Smart business planning. Here are some questions to help your company define its business strategy.


Smart business planning – questions that can step change your growth strategy.


1) What is your vision?

  • What is your big vision?
  • What problem are you solving and for whom?
  • Where do you want to be in the future?


2) What is your market opportunity and how big is it?

  • How big is the market opportunity you are pursuing and how fast is t growing?
  • How established (or nascent) is the market?
  • Do you have a credible claim on being one of the top two or three players in the market?


3) Describe your product/service

  • What is your product/service?
  • How does it solve your customer’s problem?
  • What is unique about your product/service?


4) Who is your customer?

  • Who are your existing customers?
  • Who is your target customer?
  • What defines an “ideal” customer prospect?
  • Who actually writes you the check?
  • Use specific customer examples where possible.


5) What is your value proposition?

  • What is your value proposition to the customer?
  • What kind of ROI can your customer expect by using buying your product/service?


6) How are you selling?

  • What does the sales process look like and how long is the sales cycle?
  • How will you reach the target customer? What does it cost to “acquire” a customer?
  • What is your sales, marketing and distribution strategy?
  • What is the current sales pipeline?


7) How do you acquire customers?

  • What is your cost to acquire a customer?
  • How will this acquisition cost change over time and why?
  • What is the lifetime value of a customer?


8) Who is your management team?

  • Who is the management team?
  • What is their experience?
  • What pieces are missing and what is the plan for filling them?


9) What is your revenue model?

  • How do you make money?
  • What is your revenue model?
  • What is required to become profitable?


10) What stage of development are you at?

  • What is your stage of development? Technology/product? Team? Financial metrics/revenue?
  • What has been the progress to date (make reality and future clear)?
  • What are your future milestones?


11) What are your plans for raising funds?

  • What funds have already been raised?
  • How much money are you raising and at what valuation?
  • How will the money be spent?
  • How long will it last and where will the company “be” on its milestones progress at that time?
  • How much additional funding do you anticipate raising & when?


12) Who is your competition?

  • Who is your existing & likely competition?
  • Who is adjacent to you (in the market) that could enter your market (and compete) or could be a co-opted partner?
  • What are their strengths/weaknesses?
  • Why are you different?


13) What partnerships do you have?

  • Who are your key distribution and technology partners (current & future)?
  • How dependent are you on these partners?


14) How do you fit with the prospective investor?

  • How does this fit w/ the investor’s portfolio and expertise?
  • What synergies, competition exist with the investor’s existing portfolio?


15) Other

  • What assumptions are key to the success of the business?
  • What “gotchas” could change the business overnight? New technologies, new market entrants, change in standards or regulations?
  • What are your company’s weak links?


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