Startup is one of the most tempting word in the contemporary market as its success includes all the desires that any person could have – name, fame, money, freedom, power- everything that you wish for. The success probability of any of the startups depends on the combination of all the parameters that are involved during the entire journey of the startup.
The basic requirement for any of the startup is to have a concept that has the potential to survive in the market and shall be appreciated by the consumers. Any concept that solves the problem faced by many of the targeted market base will definitely capture the attention of market base. Once you have decided the startup concept, the next step is to evaluate your idea on the sustainability basis.
Startup Planning – Knowledge Areas
Planning of startup is critical as the future success during execution is proportionally dependent on the accuracy of planning on all the knowledge areas involved in the startup. Scope, schedule, cost, quality, manpower, communication, purchasing, risk, integration are the basic knowledge areas that require attention of entrepreneurs prior to execution. Here is the description of each of the knowledge area that needs to be planned –
Work Breakdown Structure – Work Breakdown Structure aka WBS is the breakup of all the activities that need to be done to execute the startup. This structure helps in defining the responsibilities and the resource requirement. So prepare a list of all the activities that needs to be done for your startup.
Let’s take an example of e commerce business model. So the major activities that needs to be done are as follow –
- Website Design
- Product Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Execution and Control
Now you can think of what resources are required to run e-commerce website based on the above major categories of work. The detailed level breakup of each major category will decide the actual scope of work for your startup.
Cost – Cost is major constraint while executing any of the startup without external funding. So a proper estimation is required for cost associated with each of the activity. This estimation will result in the major focusing areas in terms of cost roadblock.
One way of estimating the cost is to find the cost of products/services required for the activity. As in the above example of e-commerce startup, the estimation of cost associated with each of the activity is as follow-
- Website Design – 10k $
- Product Management – 20k $
- Supply Chain Management – 40k $
- Marketing – 30k $
- Execution and Control – 50k $
So the total funds that you need is around 150k $ (all figures are just assumption). Based on the above analysis you can decide the tricks to arrange the funds for your startup.
Another approach that is used to decide the cost is to assign the cost to each of the activity. This strategy is used when you have limited funds. So you can decide where the cost is going to be the major roadblock during execution.
Timeline – Timeline of the activities is also one of the critical areas as it keeps the track on progress of the startup activities. The pre-defined time frame for each of the activities also becomes a source of motivation during initial phase of startup when self-motivation is the only factor to keep you alive for your idea.
You can have an estimate on the time span required for the startup activity or assign a time bound target against each of the activities.
The best way of planning is to align the activities is categorize them in sequential and parallel activities and align the timeframe of entre scope of work.
Quality – Completion of any of the activities is always associated with the quality level defined with it. So it’s important to define the level of perfection that should be achieved for successful running of startup.
For example – the vendors with optimum cost and quality are the best fit for selection. Hence all the parameters should be defined for vendor selection process.
The benefit of defining quality baselines is that it would avoid many of the major issues generated by quality check during startup execution.
Manpower – Manpower involved in the startup activities are the pillars of upcoming success story of the startup. Doesn’t matter how well you have defined all the baselines for your startup, ultimately its manpower that are going to execute the same. Scope, Schedule, Cost, Quality, Communication, Risk, Procurement, and Integration – all the verticals will be handled only by the team members involved in the startup.
Manpower / Startup team selection could be done in two ways- alignment of available team into activities responsibilities and the selection of required manpower based on skill sets. Any of the two approaches could be used based on the existing scenario of startup team.
The precision of selection of team members will reduce the workload on few particular persons and hence the future issues.
Communication – Communication is the only bridge that aligns all the vertical of any of the startup activities. Scope, schedule, cost, quality, procurement, manpower, risk, integration – all are linked via effective communication to produce effective and reliable results.
The reciprocal of critical information flow among stakeholders must be decided prior to execution. Deciding the end points along with the timeframe for communication flow will clarify the responsibilities of startup activities among stakeholders.
Purchasing – Purchasing of products or services required is a major activity to optimize the cost of startup. Depending on the available resources and manpower, its easy to decide the purchasing of products and services for your startup.
Outsourcing should be minimized in case of limited funds. Only the critical scope that can’t be managed internally should be outsources to save funds.
Risk Analysis – Every startup activity has some amount of risk associated with it. Identification of all the risk areas and anticipating the impact of each of the risks is helpful in deciding the mitigation plans.
The risk could be measured in terms of money or any other parameter that is suitable enough to define the impact.
Integration – As per basis understanding of calculus, Integration is the process of joining small slices to find/make the whole. Startup planning integration is the process of joining the information of all verticals into one thread.
Once the planning is done on each of the vertical, its quite easy to align all the baselines with the startup activity.
Startup Planning – Outcome
The outcome of startup planning is that it would give proper direction to each team member during execution phase to avoid any of the issues. The mismatch in any of the defined base line will raise a red flag for attention itself.
More is the precision of planning; more are the chances of startup success.
Wish you luck for your startup. Stay connected to know more.