Working Backwards – Developing and Documenting a Business Plan

Developing and documenting a business plan is challenging, and for some it is not a guiding map, rather a document put together to satisfy a lender.

Amazon use a methodology to develop product which may assist you drill down to what you really are in business for. It’s detailed in a book “Working Backwards, Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon” by Bill Carr and Colin Bryar.

In summary:

  • Start with defining the customer experience. The plan is focused on the customer, what they want, how they will get it, but most importantly, why they are buying. Rather than selecting or building a product and developing a marketing plan start with the customer experience.
  • To document the customer experience, they start (rather than leave till the end) with the press release (PR) describing the highlights of the customer experience. This press release would address features, cost, price, and benefits. These provides the outline to design the product.
  • Rather than a lengthy document trying to describe the product, processes of marketing, production, logistics, resources, the remainder of the plan is structured as frequently asked questions (FAQ).
  • The document is no longer than 6 pages, 1 page press release and 5 pages of FAQ’s.
  • Using FAQ’s focuses on the detail of the customer experience as well as addresses various risks and challenges from internal operations, technical, product, marketing, legal, business development and financial points of view. This assists with evaluation of the idea, allowing focus of each component of the experience and rapid change of the plan to address specific weaknesses.
  • The FAQs also incorporate detailed, data oriented and fact-based method of decision making
  • Keeping the document to 6 pages and focusing on the questions most relevant reduces waffle. This is not easy. Winston Churchill was quoted as saying it takes him 5 minutes to write a half hour speech, a half hour to write a 5-minute speech.

If you have questions in relation to the above, or any other matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office on 1300 620 345.