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Critical Path ...

Ultimately, the function of a business venture is to satisfy customer needs, wants, and desires by transforming their problems into solutions (products, services, processes, value ...) and capturing a bit of profit along the way. 

Easier Way to Create a Venture Plan

A good approach to creating a business plan to present to prospective investors and collaborators is to start with a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.  

Creating individual slides for each topic tends to force clarity in thinking. 

One interesting "trick" ... use the "speaker notes" in a PowerPoint business plan slide deck to transform the slides into a more formal written business plan.

It is very common for prospective investors to ask for a copy of the slides before, during, and after a presentation. The down-side is that not all of the pertinent information is on the slides. The speaker for each slide is providing that information. However, there is a easy and fairly elegant solution. Instead of just printing the slide deck, print the slide deck with the accompanying speaker notes. But not just any ordinary speaker notes ...

Use the "Speaker Notes" feature of PowerPoint to write sentences and paragraphs as needed to help the reader understand what is on the slide (since the actual speaker is not there to tell them in person). Just like writing a "formal" document except with the added benefit here of coordinating with the venture plan slide deck and graphics.

There are typically 10 to 20 slides in a business venture plan slide deck (a suggested base outline is below).

From the PowerPoint slide deck with the sentences and paragraphs, the slides with "speaker notes" can be printed one or two slides per page. The results is a "written" business plan that coordinates perfectly with the slide presentation, and has more details than simply printing the slides alone.

Base (but likely not all elements) of an outline for a business plan/presentation ...
1] Title ... name of your venture, logo, tag line, contact information ... a billboard executive summary of the venture
2] Problem/Opportunity ... pain your alleviating or the pleasure you're providing
3] Value Proposition ... benefits versus price
4] Underlying "Magic" ... your solution, marketing brochure, the "secret sauce" behind your venture ... photos, pictures, diagrams,
actual prototype?
5] Business Model ... how you make money ... business model canvas is a good graphic
6] Go-to-Market Plan ... customer NWD profile and how you will fill the holes ... buyer, decision maker, influencer, user, et al
7] Competitive Analysis ... key competitors and perhaps a SWOT(T)
8] Management Team ... you, key advisors
9] Financial Objectives ... first week, month, quarter, year ... how you will meet these objectives ... key metrics
10] Timeline and Status ... Past 6 months, status now, next 6 months ...

While these 10 slides are fundamental, 10 slides alone are often not enough for some base business venture plan presentations. Add as needed but resist the urge to have more than about 18 slides for a 10 to 15 minute presentation.

The Role of a New Business Development Team Mentor

Experienced mentors can help innovators and entrepreneurs effectively and efficiently move their venture concept through the research, ideation, test, and planning stages to resourcing, launch, stability, sustainability, and growth. The role of a new business venture development team mentor is wide-ranging:

1] Mentor: experienced and trusted adviser (typically an unpaid, voluntary, part-time role)
2] Adviser: an expert willing to share their knowledge and opinions
3] Business Plan Editor: a mentor is best used in an editor role, rather than a writer
4] Voice of the Customer: keeps a light on the customer pain-pleasure spectrum
5] Voice of the Competition: ignoring the competition is never a good strategy, and there is always competition (alternatives, substitutes, replacements)
6] Voice of the Stakeholders: everyone involved with the venture must win
7] Voice of the Team Members: a balanced team is a productive team
8] Domain Expert: teaching from education and experience
9] Soothsayer: foresees the future based on experiences from the past
10] Angel Advocate: supports the team and venture, internally and externally
11] Consultant: professional expert advice (usually compensated to perform specific tasks)
12] Moderator: arbitrator, mediator
13] Coach: helps the team iterate and pivot as needed
14] Board Member, Director (not an ordinary role): helps govern the affairs of an organization
15] Teacher: instructor, guide
16] Innovation Stimulator: innovation is a continuing journey, not a destination
17] Collaborator: partner with the venture team
18] Friend: personal confidante and sounding board
19] Tool Technician: helping the team use the right tool at the right time for the right purpose
20] InnovateAthon Tour Guide: Creativity, Innovation, Entrepreneurship
21] DXpedition Tour Guide: Discover, Define, Design, Develop, Deploy
22] InnovateAthon Master of Ceremonies and/or Notetaker: leading the creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship process

Innovation Impact Roadmap



For 20+ years, I taught in a University of Arizona entrepreneurship program which, at one point, was ranked #1 in the world by several major business publications. 

On the whiteboard in my office, I drew a roadmap of the new venture creation process. It was, in essence, the syllabus for our entrepreneurship program in graphical form. [I was the keeper of the whiteboard, not necessarily the author of all that was there! I had some pretty wise and wonderful UA collaborators as well as entrepreneurship gurus from around the world from which the information was collected.]

Students and colleagues at UA would ask if they could take a photo of the whiteboard. Of course, yes! And I did the same. I took a photo, but ... I wanted to add a bit more here and there. And then I got carried away!! So ... the diagram you see today is the result.

One of the struggles we encountered, in teaching entrepreneurship concepts and building new ventures, is that the process is not particularly time-linear. It is often iterative, a back-and-forth process. Hence, a roadmap outlines the elements that need to be addressed, but not necessarily a hard path in doing so. At some point, the venture team should visit all the "attractions" on the map, but the order of the trip may vary depending on the nature of the venture.

The "main highway" is the mission statement, highlighted in yellow.

Essentially,this roadmap for innovation commercialization is an entrepreneurship checklist, ... the key elements that should be considered and addressed when putting together a plan for a new business venture.

High resolution versions are available here: Innovate-A-thon.org

--Jim

The Innovation Ferris Wheel


Venture Scorecard

Just as people have periodic health checkups where a physician examines a variety of elements to determine the overall condition of the individual, so too can a venture, company, business go through a similar process. Here are 30 categories to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a business venture. This is also a good checklist for early venture planning and validation research.

Glossary

  • A
    • A/B Testing
      • See: Split Testing
    • Accounting
      • Accounting: the action or process of keeping financial accounts
    • Additional Value
      • See: Alternative Value
    • Addressable Market
      • Addressable Market: the total potential market for a product or service, measured in dollars of revenue per year
    • Adventure
      • Adventure: daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm

Stages of Venture Evolution

Successful business ventures typically move from a] problem/solution ideation to b] planning to c] startup to d] stable to e] sustainable to f] scalable.

Another perspective ...

1. Opportunity ... gap in market, new technology ... maybe, just maybe, we can do something here
2. Idea ... clear problems, viable solutions ... hmmm, looks like there is something here
3. Concept ... viable strategies for earning a profit solving customer problems better than the competition
4. Venture ... viable innovation concept (product, service, process, position, method); viable team (innovator, entrepreneur, money manager); viable resources (people, places, things, time, money)
5. Organization ... team, roles, clear strategies,
6. Company ... legal entity (corporation, LLC, et alia), pre-sales, unstable financials (raising funds)
7. Business ... low-hanging fruit, sales, customers, stable, positive EBITDA, viable business model
8. Enterprise ... scale, scope, markets, growth, significant EBITDA, defined task and assignments, employees
9. Institution ... significant market share, significant industry position, re-invention, continual innovation
10. Tombstone ... the cows have run out of milk