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Planning: Stage 3 of 6 on the Small Business Roadmap (FS102)

Stage 3 of the small business roadmap is one of my favorites. In fact, it’s the stage most of us start with even though skipping over stage 1 and stage 2 can be deadly to your idea.

And as we dive right in here, many of us naturally resist doing some of the most eye-opening parts of this stage. (We get into what those parts are and how to do them in this episode.)

The cost of skipping over these parts is a plan that’s too rigid and too isolated from the world of your customer. (Which is why our planning stage culminates in what we call a Business Sketch Template.)

This is one of my favorite stages because it’s where so many insights happen.

Where do those insights come from? Your customers (even though they’re just potential customers at this time).

There are 5 steps to the Planning stage and in this conversation we’ll walk you through each one with plenty of stories and explanations to get these ideas embedded in your process.

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“Stage 3 in the small business roadmap is where the audience insights happen”


Planning Steps:

The real meat of each of these items is in the conversation. The items below are meant as simply a placeholder while you listen to the episode.

  1. Interview potential customers (BEFORE you start building any plans). Check out the quote below on this one.
  2. Research competition. How are others approaching this problem? It’s a huge myth that entrepreneurs only work on problems nobody’s solved yet.
  3. Define what kind of business you’ll build: 10 Business Archetypes: How to Choose a Business Model That Makes Sense (and Money, FS091).
  4. Identify what problem you think you’ll solve.
  5. Complete a business sketch template. (PS. signup for any of our free guides and you’ll get our business sketch template as well)


“The way to succeed in a startup is not to be an expert on startups, but to be an expert on your users and the problem you’re solving for them.”

Paul Graham


The Roadmap Episodes:

  1. Clarity (episode 100)
  2. Connection (101)
  3. Planning (102)
  4. Build (103)
  5. Money (104)
  6. Scale (105)
  7. 4 Updates (106)

the 6 stages of business roadmap


Show Notes

Austin Kleon: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Nerd Fitness: Helping You Lose Weight, Get Stronger, Live Better

Blog Strategy 101: The 14 Step Video Guide


The Top 10 Mistakes in Online Business

Every week we talk with entrepreneurs. We talk about what’s working and what isn’t. We talk about successes and failures. We spend time with complete newbies, seasoned veterans, and everything in between.

One topic that comes up over and over again with both groups is mistakes made in starting businesses. Newbies love to learn about mistakes so they can avoid them. Veterans love to talk about what they wish they had known when starting out.

These conversations have been fascinating, so we compiled a list of the 10 mistakes we hear most often into a nifty lil' guide.

Download the guide

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