Business Strategy Brainstorming

business strategy brainstorming framework

The following business strategy brainstorming list might help you develop your business strategy. These are topics, tools, and suggestions related to problem, solution, target market, and offering.

Like all business strategy brainstorming, the idea here is to answer these questions as a way to develop your strategy. The ideas will flow. At the beginning, don’t reject anything. Make the lists as long as you can. Then you can go back and refine.

Brainstorming the Problem

  • What business are you really in?
  • Define the problem you solve.
  • What are you doing that needs doing?
  • What are you going to fix that needs fixing?
  • What are customers getting from you? How are they better off for spending money with your business?
  • Who needs your solution to that problem?

Brainstorming the Solution

  • What’s your solution to the problem above?
  • What are the benefits to the target market?
  • What features do you offer?
  • What is different about your solution (think about what they call the secret sauce)?
  • What don’t you do that makes you different? (For example, not all restaurants offer takeout food and drive-through.)
  • Why is your offering better than others?
  • What’s your value proposition? (That’s the benefit you offer, to what target market, at what relative price. For example, the restaurant offers fine dining for people who appreciate the special occasion, at a price premium.)

Brainstorming the Target Market

  • Describe your imaginary ideal target buyer. It’s like writing about a character in a story. Think of gender, occupation, home, car, favorite media, education, age, and economic situation. Know this person (or, if you are selling to other businesses, do the same for a business).
  • Identify your target market as a group of people, kind of buyer, type of company, combination of factors, things people want. It might be “parents of K-6 children,” for example. Or small business owners, or knowledge workers, or women over 50.
  • Define the problem you solve.
  • Who needs your solution to that problem?
  • Who isn’t in your market? For example, if you are an expensive restaurant with white tablecloths and fine gourmet food, you don’t want your market to include families with young children.
  • Who doesn’t have the problem you solve?
  • Who will pay for what you offer?

Brainstorming the Identity

  • Do a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s brainstorming, so first list as many points as you can in each category, then pare them down. It’s better with a team, but you can do it yourself too.
  • Identify your core competence. What do you do better than anybody else? What do you like to do? What are you uniquely qualified to do?
  • What makes you different?
  • What’s special about your brand, your logo, your mission, or your vision?

For more on business strategy, aside from this section and the IMO strategy section in the appendices, try this search of business strategy at bplans.com.

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