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Building a Discovery Driven Plan:  What are the typical assumptions?

I’m often asked to give people a checklist of assumptions that they can use to get started developing a discovery driven plan.  Here are some of the most critical:

What is my profit model?

  • Have I really thought through my unit of business (what I sell)?
  • Have I thought through how my business is going to run – cost, asset, and revenue architectures?
  • What assumptions am I making about major obstacles and the likelihood of breaking through them

Who are my customers?

  • Who will be buying and why?  Can you name them (your ‘first five’ sales)?
  • What will produce or reduce resistance to buying? 
  • How do customers from different market segments behave differently?
  • Market growth rate?
  • How will the customer be accessed (distribution?)
  • How many potential customers must I contact before one agrees to buy?

What about my offer will make a compelling difference in the marketplace?

  • Functional characteristics relative to market’s need
  • Cost and quality
  • Entire ecosystem in place – or can be put together
  • Service requirements and costs


Who is my competition?

  • Different categories – traditional, potential, oblique
  • Likely reaction to my move
  • Visibility of my move them
  • Likely responses to my move – price, functionality, marketing
  • Capacity to respond
  • Motivation to respond

Operational Assumptions

  • Ability to produce at required scale
  • Proprietary advantages and how much lead time they’ll give you here
  • Availability of people with required knowledge and skills
  • Development time and cost
  • Plan or resource independence
  • Alignment of selling, production, servivce rhythms
  • v

Financial assumptions

  • Cash required to reach cash breakeven – daily, weekly, monthly breakevens
  • Investment required to P&L breakeven
  • gross and net margins
  • Costs and profits at various volumes

Organizational Assumptions

  • Support of key internal players
  • Availability of qualified management
  • Organizational setting and why this makes sense


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