Silicon Valley Business School
Management Maneuvers—Business Planning 
Steps in the Business Planning Process for a Startup Venture

A good plan should clearly and concisely show that you have a unique invention with the potential to dominate a huge emerging market. It also shows that the founder knows, at the very least, how to write a business plan. A well thought-out and well-presented plan should attract investors. If you take it seriously, the business plan can actually help you, and your future team, make day-to-day business decisions for years to come. It can also help keep board members and investors off your back.

Once they’ve agreed to the plan, the management team has a mandate to execute it without having to defend all your actions. When you get the investors call questioning a decision, you can perfect the response: ‘we’re following the plan that you and the rest of the board signed off at the beginning of the year’, politely put the phone down and get on with your work. So, it’s worth putting some time and energy into your business plan and getting as much buy-in as you can.

The business planning process is where some of the most important decisions are made that will determine whether the venture turns out to be a failure or a success.  Selecting the appropriate business model, the most appropriate channel strategy, product development strategy and financing strategies are key to the Company's success.  However, selecting an appropriate market, and entering the market at the right time are even more critical issues to consider.

There are several steps in the business planning process.  Gathering research information on the marketplace, understanding the competitive landscape, and understanding where the Company's strengths and weaknesses may lie are time-consuming and can be tedious tasks, but they are essential. The number of startup failures that are traced back to a lack of research at the business planning stage is surprisingly high--it's not unusual for companies to spend valuable time and energy developing products and technologies that already exist.

Until the business plan is researched, written, condensed and the presentation of the plan is polished, a startup venture can struggle to attract team members, struggle to attract investors and struggle to make any progress at all.  An impressive, well researched and well-thought-out business plan can help the Company establish momentum, attract a winning team and help management navigate through trouble spots and drive the business toward a successful exit.

Select a Step: The Business Planning Process:
  • Assess Market Growth To Date
  • Assess Market Growth Projections
  • Assess Your Target Customer Profile
  • Assess Current Market Leaders
  • Assess Your Customer Buying Process
  • Assess & Identify Your Typical Customer Buying Team
  • Assess Market Needs & Opportunities
  • Assess Market Trends
  • Assess Your Typical Sales Cycle Timeframe
  • Assess Trends In Customer Buying Patterns
  • Define Your Promotional Strategy
  • Define Pricing Strategy
  • Identify Your Competitors
  • Assess Your Competitors
  • Assess Distribution Channels
  • Assess Distribution Trends
  • Define Your Distribution Strategy
  • Planning: Define Sales Strategy
  • Planning: Define Sales Structure
  • Assess Company Strengths
  • Assess Company Weaknesses
  • Assess Upcoming Opportunities
  • Assess Threats Facing the Company
  • Assess Pending Lawsuits
  • SVBS Learning Materials Related to this Maneuver ~ From SVBS Online Courses