I always think it’s funny how as business advisors, we get a ‘vibe’ for the trends, challenges and opportunities going through the heads of business owners at any given point in time.

2024 has started with a lot of enquiries from potential business owners looking to escape the employment market and take control of their own destiny by starting a new business. They have a business idea but don’t know how to develop their idea at a deeper level and assess whether it’s something they really want to commit to or not.

Likewise, many existing business owners have struggled in recent times to implement material change in their business and may be looking to the next horizon with a willingness to implement meaningful change in their strategic plans. Many feel ‘stuck’ in the grind, know they need change, and may even have some good ideas, but don’t necessarily know how to assess whether they should pursue the idea and risk ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’.

A tool I’ve been using more and more lately to help both prospective and existing business owners looking for change is my ‘business by design’ worksheet.

The worksheet steps you through some of the key elements to consider for your new business idea and challenge you to design your business with the key factors for success taken into account right from the beginning.


the worksheet steps you through:


1. Why does this business need to exist?

2. The vision for this business.

3. Your competitive advantage.

4. Marketing + brand characteristics.

5. Other resources you will need to make your business a success, such as:

  • funding + finances required,
  • people + HR,
  • technology,
  • governance + management,
  • suppliers key to the business,
  • and more.

6. Your barriers to success / risks.

7. Key stakeholders + their role.

8. Your profit formula [often requiring a separate profit and cashflow forecasting exercise].


Taking all of the above into account, I encourage people to then summarise their key observations from the exercise. The next step is to set tasks for things they need to address or consider before the business idea may be ready for implementation.




The worksheet is actually modeled off my ‘Business By Design’ strategy workshop where I step people through a facilitated process.  That’s why the look and feel of the worksheet is similar to a whiteboard wall with all the considerations.

A little bit of trivia for you: One of the first times I ran this process was in a workshop with Lou Waldie and her team when they were designing their new dental practice, Tooth Dental.  I like to think that this process helped play some small part in the enormous success Tooth Dental has become. You can check out the client testimonial from Lou Waldie here.


download the worksheet

Feel free to download the worksheet and have a go at filling it out yourself or reach out to me for some guidance through one of our facilitated workshops.


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