The time has come to shake the deck. We need to stop wasting time trying to reinvent the old for the millionth time and bring in the new – the time has come for the new-era business. That’s why we are introducing the Building Blocks for the New-Era Business, an experimental approach for building future-focused businesses from the ground up.

What is the new-era business?

The defining feature of the new-era business is that it actually matters – to people – not just politicians or economists looking to add another sliver to GDP. The new-era business is built to solve a real problem for a substantial portion of the population, not to superficially address a cosmetic problem for people with iPhones. The new-era business does not focus on the accomplishments of the entrepreneurs based on the size of their exit, but rather on the collective impact that the business achieved for its intended market.

How is the new-era business born?

The new-era business is developed from the ground up based on substantiated market demand that proves that a real need for the product or service exists. It leverages the power of social networks and modern technology to harvest relevant information that prove that the business has both the potential to make an impact and scale. Whether the need is global or local, the new-era business is born with the ambition to become a sustainable brand that matters in the eyes of its customers for the long term.

With that in mind, we propose the following as the Building Blocks for the New-Era Business. This is of course an experiment, and it is simply designed to spark the process of creating companies that will get people excited again. We will be progressively rolling out phases of it over the summer on the blog – feedback will be incorporated, new ideas will be considered and examples will be shared.

Before we go into the PLAN components, it is important to realize that not every venture requires a PLAN, and some businesses require more planning than others. It depends on a number of variables, including the personality of the entrepreneur, the phase of the business and the type of market being entered. What we are trying to do here is put the core tools in play and develop a skeleton process to get things rolling. What we do not recommend, without hesitation, is taking an idea straight from your head to the TEST phase. At the very least, prototype your idea (see blog post Prototyping Ideas: A Visual Process (click here) and solicit some feedback.

Without further ado, here are the Building Blocks:

After spending several years in business school learning about what should be included in a business plan, then spending several more learning that what we learned in business school about a business plan was mostly incorrect, we believe that there are three core components that should be incorporated into the planning stage:

Business Model (BM) – use the Business Model Canvas developed by Alex Osterwalder to experiment with new business models for your business

+ Read the post: Building Blocks – PLAN – the Business Model

Financial Model (FM) – use the Financial Model template to develop a snapshot of your business’s financial projections

+ Read the post: Building Blocks – PLAN – the Financial Model

Strategy (ST) – use the Strategy Kit to flesh out the important details of the strategy you will employ to make your business model work in the market

+ Read the post: Building Blocks – PLAN – the Strategy Kit

A blog will be written about each component listed above over the course of the summer, and a corresponding experimental Toolkit will be released for people to test.

+ Checkout the Toolkit: Building Blocks – PLAN – the Toolkit

As a proof of concept, run a crowdfunding (CF) campaign to validate the demand for your business. The campaign can be launched at a small scale initially to simply get an idea of how strong demand is, or you can try and raise enough to launch the business and prove the concept at the same time (ie. Pebble E-paper Watch).

+ Read the post: Building Blocks – TEST – demand via Crowdfunding

In the future, when legalized in your country (likely 2014 or later in most countries), you will be able to use crowdfunding to raise equity funds (crowdinvesting) for your business. Watch the Seedrs site (click here) for examples of crowdinvesting for startups and small businesses.

Once you have the plan ready (which of course will change) and you know that the demand is there, it’s time to take advantage of the social networks (SN) to spread your idea like wildfire.

+ Read the post: Building Blocks – SPREAD – the Social Media pipelines


And those are the Building Blocks for the New-Era Business as we see them today. Comments, feedback and ideas please!

Keep your eye on the blog, as we will write a post about the Business Model (BM) Canvas, Financial Model (FM) template and Strategy (ST) kit. Additionally, we will be releasing a ‘beta’ version of a Step-by-Step Toolkit, for people who are not familiar with these concepts, at the end of the summer.

+ Welcome to Generation Collaboration
+ Finance 2.0 – London + Crowd Finance

Crowdfunding Strategy – Summary

Building Blocks – PLAN – the Business Model

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