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Developing business ideas

I have been running my own business for the best part of a year now.  In terms of the actual duration, it is only a few hundred days but in terms of experience it feels like a lifetime.

One of the greatest pleasures about running Play with Learning is the flexibility it gives me to do things that I believe are genuinely worthwhile;  one of those things is teaching.  Among various bits and bobs, I am running a final year undergraduate module entitled “Creative Media Enterprise” at Bradford University.  The focus of the course is to raise awareness of what working in the media industry is really like and it draws on my years of experience with the BBC and independent production companies.

This week, I revisited a very simple tool to capture a business’s headline characteristics. It is an effective way of thinking about the foundations of any plan.  It covers:

  • Value proposition
  • Customers & audiences
  • Relationship building
  • Competitors
  • Partners
  • Resources
  • Activities
  • Costs
  • Distribution channels
  • Revenue streams

The diagram below explains some of those terms but the crucial element of the tool is the emphasis on ‘value,’ that is,  what the business provides that customers and audiences might want or need.  The value proposition is the heart of any viable business idea because it establishes how distinctive and attractive the concept is.  Perhaps more importantly, it helps determine whether the idea is something that people would pay for or pay to be associated with.

business characteristics

It is an activity that I’ve done myself when I set up Play with Learning.  You can see my notes below.

business model example

You can download the business model template (pdf) to use for yourself.

Although the task of developing a viable business plan for a potential company is something that only a few of the group are considering right now, the activity is analogous to marketing the students themselves.  Hopefully, it will help develop the habit of demonstrating distinctiveness and value through well thought out plans and research.  And hopefully, whatever path the students ultimately take, these skills will prove valuable to them, their customers and clients, and their employers.

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  • Gerard

    Thank’s for the information and business model example which is a good guide for my group to come up with a good business plan.Gerry      

  • Great! Glad it’s useful. Thanks for the feedback, Gerry.

  • Mastertobie

    Thanks and God bless you for being Good