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What are the Best Business Planning Frameworks?

MARCH, 2020

I’m assuming that the business planning is for a startup – the following matrix will give you an overview framework of business planning for a startup. It maps the 4 key elements of a venture (Product + Market + Business + You) against the 7 phases of a venture’s inception and development (Positioning, Feasibility,  Momentum, Launch, Beachhead, Growth, Harvest).


Answer the questions below, mapped against the matrix, and you will have a significant overview and planning framework for your startup. It will at least provide enough of a planning framework for you to take to an experienced entrepreneur or successful business person to get advice on taking the next step. On one A4 page, this matrix allows you to turn your vision into a document that helps others engage and provide commentary and feedback on your concept and model. This feedback will no doubt lead to more planning and testing.


(A1) – The Idea – In what way is your idea unique to the market?
(A2) – The subjective margins – What “subjective margins” are available? See Subjective margins
(A3) – The testing process – How will you test prototypes of the product and what Intellectual Property could you secure?

(A4) – The product costs and selling price – What are the product costs and what are the anticipated selling prices? What Gross profit margins can be expected?
(A5) – The launch products plan – What products are you going to sell at launch to ensure market acceptance?
(A6) – The growth products plan – What innovative products could you introduce in the growth phase with high margins?
(A7) – Product line exploitation – How long will it take you to fully exploit and develop the starting product line or assortment?


(B1) – The niche situation and target market – What niche market, situation or problem does your idea seek to solve?
(B2) – The value proposition – How valuable is your solution to that target market? How does it benefit them?
(B3) – Your customer lists – How many potential customer contacts do you already have?

(B4) – Your market intelligence – What were the results of the prototype tests? What is the growth potential of this market?
(B5) – The beachhead strategy – What channels will you use to enter the market? See Beachhead strategies
(B6) – Market expansion options – What additional markets could your move into in this growth phase?
(B7) – Market outlook – What is the outlook for this niche market and when is it likely to peak?


(C1) – The distribution plans – What business structure will you use at launch in terms of legal structure, management, and joint venture/partnerships?
(C2) – The controllable unique resources and unfair advantage – What access do you have to unique resources that your competitors do not?
(C3) – The profit plans and potential – What are the short and long-term profit potential of this idea?

(C4) – The business model – What is your business model in terms of monetizing the idea and how will you finance it?
(C5) – The break-even analysis and funding – When will the business break-even in terms of units, monthly sales, and timelines?
(C6) – Business scalability – How will your business scale so that costs do not increase in proportion to sales increase?
(C7) – Exit strategy – How do you plan to exit from the business?


(D1) – The business concept’s personal fit – Why is this business idea such a good fit for you personally? What ‘meaning to life’ aspect does it fulfill?
(D2) – Your personal preparation and experience – In what way have you prepared or positioned yourself for this idea?
(D3) – Your personal networks – What personal networks do you have to help build the momentum and demand for this product?

(D4) – The trigger point – What was the trigger point for launch and why is it so right to launch this idea now?
(D5) – Commitment level – What is your commitment to this venture and how will it impact on your life?
(D6) – Management Transition – How will you handle the transition change from an entrepreneurial venture to a business requiring management?
(D7) – Personal goals – What timing best suits you for an exit of this business?