starting and running a business
October 25, 1998 (as amended)

first, strategic management in 19 words

  1. consider the current state of affairs
  2. consider alternative responses
  3. select convergent responses
  4. respond
  5. solicit feedback
  6. return to step 1

strategic planning

  1. describe vision and goals (why this is a good idea)
  2. describe internal environmental conditions (6P's) (why I can be a success)
  3. describe external environmental conditions (PESTN, market (customers, suppliers, competitors)) (what's out there to deal with)
  4. describe consequent synergies, challenges, potential problems and opportunities (matrix SWOT)
  5. describe short-term and long-term objectives and strategies, listing likely outcomes, explanation, congruence with goals (what's going to be done, how, where, when, who by, and why)
  6. solicit feedback - revise strategy

the practicalities

  1. create todo list
  2. get essentials: expanding file, computer, mobile phone, phone line, internet access, postal address
  3. brainstorm business name and domainname
  4. register the company (articles of association, share ownership, AGM, year-end documents, secretary, dividends)
  5. open a company bank account
  6. register domainname (this should be done ASAP, but it should also be paid from the company bank account, if possible)
  7. get webhosting
  8. set up an email address and mail software (so that when you reply, it comes from your business address)
  9. settle on a colour scheme
  10. create logo
  11. get business cards
  12. create a website
  13. create an intranet
  14. create transaction spreadsheet/get an accounting system
  15. create templates (letterhead, invoice, purchase order)
  16. create databases (customer, supplier, competitor)
  17. get an accountant, and possibly a lawyer
  18. get insurance if needed
  19. explore possible market entry opportunities (see the first of section of introduction to entrepreneurship, concerning the Problem and the Solution)
  20. solicit feedback - revise strategy

the initial approach

  1. select the best market entry opportunity
  2. finalise the product/offer (target market, confirm suppliers, conditions of sale, sale pricing)
  3. advertise (websites, newpapers, target market)
  4. solicit feedback - revise strategy

adapting to the results of the initial approach

  1. develop website, intranet
  2. develop products
  3. develop supplier network
  4. develop pricelist
  5. develop partnering opportunities
  6. refine market positioning
  7. solicit feedback - revise strategy

sample bootstrap strategy

  1. define business strategy
  2. build core team - get some attention
  3. define business plan - who are we/why are we here/what do we want
  4. define marketing plan - what do we sell/what do customers want/who is our target market/where do we find them
  5. build brand (eg. sell some stuff)
  6. revisit strategy
  7. use profits to finance tools with which to make additional products - which?
  8. polish product offerings with latest tech - how?
  9. blitz brand (eg. advertise, and try and sell lots of stuff)

typical startup tasks (1-3 years)

typical mid-term tasks (4-8 years)

typical long-term tasks (9 years+)

seek to constantly..