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11.1 Avoiding the “Field of Dreams” Approach

Business models and business plans are tools involved in the strategic process of charting a path for your entrepreneurial venture. When starting a company, it’s best to avoid the Field of Dreams approach of building a business and hoping that customers will just show up. Innovation has been linked to entrepreneurship for at least nine decades. More recent theories suggest that disruptive innovations are disruptive because they disturb the underlying business model of the companies being disrupted.

11.2 Designing the Business Model

A business model, which is unique to a company, describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures values. A business model canvas is a popular tool used by entrepreneurs and intrapraneurs to map out and plan different components of a business model. The business model canvas addresses customer segments, customer relationships, channels (of distribution), revenue streams, value propositions, key partners, key activities, key resources, and cost structure. The lean model canvas and social business model canvas are derivations of the original business model canvas. They are designed more for tech/software/app endeavors and social entrepreneurial ventures, respectively.

11.3 Conducting a Feasibility Analysis

A feasibility study is a tool in the entrepreneurs’ toolkit that can help determine whether to proceed on a venture early on. A feasibility study is usually more in depth than a business plan and focuses on analysis of real-world numbers and projections. The most common elements of a feasibility study include a market analysis, a financial analysis, and management analysis. Feasibility studies can be used to make a “go-or-no-go” decision for a new product or business, as well as help narrow the focus of what that venture should be (what the market would potentially support).

11.4 The Business Plan

The business plan is a formal document used for long-range planning of a company’s operation that typically includes financial information, background information, and a summary of the business. Business plans can be used as internal guiding documents early in the entrepreneurial process. They also can be presentation documents for raising funds from prospective investors later in the process, complementing an investor pitch and iterative canvases. A brief business plan functions somewhat like an extended executive summary that summarizes key elements of the entire business plan, such as the business concept, financial features, and current business position. A full business plan can range from ten to twenty-five pages. It includes a business description, industry and marketing analyses, and descriptions of management, marketing, and operational and financial plans.

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