Four Areas for New Venture Success

We’re starting a new venture; rather, we are in the process of spinning off some transportation operations into it’s own company.  We’ll be in the transportation space, so it’s a service that everyone needs (but will anyone pay for it?).  There’s lots of competition: planes, trains, and automobiles.  We’ll be focusing more on non-emergency medical transportation, shuttle services, and senior living services.  We’re writing a business plan or perhaps we will use the ideas presented in Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur’s Business Model Generation using their Business Model Canvas. What questions do we need to answer?  I came across a great article by William Sahlman in the Harvard Business Review entitled: “How to Write a Great Business Plan.”  We’ll explore the ideas more fully in future posts, but here is the basic framework:

  1. The People
  2. The Opportunity
  3. The Context
  4. Risk and Reward

The questions begin with who is involved and what expertise do they have. Then we want to understand the opportunity, who the customers are and why they need our services.  Can we create economic value? or Will we simply be throwing money down the drain?  We need to understand the context of the opportunity.  This clearly looks at the industry and other macro-questions.  But, it also asks the questions about LEGAL requirements.  We’re looking at transportation, so we’ll be spending a lot of time at the US Department of Transportation Web site.  Finally, we need to understand the risk and the reward.  The article has a great chart showing this: consider the hole created at the beginning of the venture as well as the possible positive outcomes.

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