Business Plan Development in 7 Steps

Every successful online business must have a dynamic strategic business plan that serves as a roadmap for operating the business

business development plan

Over the past five years, our executive team has collaborated with publishers, both large and small, to create 35 comprehensive business plans.

Some of these plans covered the complete overhaul of an existing publishing business. Others focused on launching one or more new digital initiatives that have included audience development portals, one or more digital media libraries and their associated premium membership program, and a variety of book, video, and event marketing programs.

For those plans that were initiated, organizational revenue for the business unit increased by 50% to a whopping 274% within 3 to 5 years.

Our business plan process has been adapted from the Harvard Business School Entrepreneurship program and fine-tuned over the past 15 years to accommodate new digital products and marketing channels. Over about 60 days, our executive team will collaborate with yours to audit all of your business assets and processes, and then compare them with our extensive best practices for content development, marketing, and delivery.

The resulting business plan covers the seven strategies that are required to operate a successful multiplatform publishing and marketing system in the 21st century.

Below is an example of the process we’ll go through together over those 60 days. If you have any questions, or want to get started, click here or call (866) 713-1005 to schedule your free consulting session with me and our CEO, Don Nicholas. 

Content Strategy

After carefully auditing your legacy content assets, our analytics team will perform a complete keyword study to identify the phrases that your audience uses when they search for your content. This data will be used to create a taxonomy for your free and premium information products with an audience-first approach. 

We will determine the optimal weekly contact frequency and mix of minimum information units required to drive your audience development program that will attract and capture new customer relationships. This free information service will be carefully aligned with one or more digital media libraries, digital magazines, digital journals, and other periodic information products that will make up your premium information services.

Next, a product development schedule will be created to detail the production of additional information products that might include books, videos, live and virtual events. This comprehensive content strategy will then be summarized in a platform brand wheel that visually displays all of the free and premium information products that your business will produce.

Audience Strategy

Our keyword research will next be used to quantify your current website’s Google visibility and the visibility of your key competitors, which will be discovered using an Online Market Audit. 

Our analytics team will take your keyword universe and search for your competitors using an audience-driven approach. Once identified, we’ll benchmark the Google visibility for each of your competitors, which will allow us to set goals for growing your Google visibility and website traffic organically.

With this data in hand, our analysts will estimate traffic from other sources such as social media and website referrals. An email contact plan will be established that creates a balance between content-driven free editorial, premium content previews, and sales-oriented email marketing frameworks.

Because most publishing operations collect customer names in many ways, your audience development plan will also quantify and schedule how existing databases of email and postal addresses will be processed for onboarding into your digital marketing efforts.

When appropriate, ancillary audience development sources that might include paid search, paid social media, marketing networks, and reciprocal marketing programs will be detailed and scheduled.

Revenue Strategy

Our team will begin analyzing your existing pricing strategy and the pricing strategy for your key competitors.

We then use the principles of economic behaviorism and contrast pricing to create a comprehensive pricing strategy for all of your premium products, including new, conversion, and renewal price points.

Our analysts combine this data with the volumetric data created during the audience development planning to forecast revenue by product for a full five years. A multiyear forecast is key to understanding the investment and return potential associated with continuity revenue streams.

Organizational Strategy

Now that we understand the operating framework for your new business initiative, we will explore the organizational resources required to execute against that framework and business processes.

We’ll suggest an appropriate organizational structure. When necessary, we provide job descriptions and recommendations for outsourcing to supplement your staff with expert third-party resources.

Technology Strategy

Our technology team assembles a best-of-breed technology suite that will meet all of your strategic goals and functional needs.

Our Haven WordPress CXMS typically forms the core of this technology suite with real-time interfaces to the appropriate email marketing and fulfillment service providers. Our system includes a component library consisting of more than 100 third-party plugins and Haven WordPress plugins. The third-party software plug-ins have been vetted by our team and are actively used by one or more of the systems we currently manage. They’re supplemented by proprietary software components that have been designed to support our best practices for attracting, capturing, engaging, and monetizing your target audience.

A complete project plan and timeline are then created to detail the system development process for your new website and associated technology services.

Measurement Strategy

Our analysts benchmark the key metrics that will drive your business forward for the next five years and beyond. We leverage your current and past operating key metrics in concert with the key metrics we produce every month for more than a dozen publishing and marketing systems that we support and operate.

The same key metrics will be used as benchmarks for monthly reporting once your system is launched and running.

Economic Strategy

Our modeling specialist brings it all together in a full five-year forecast that details revenue, expenses, and contribution for your entire organization, or the specific business unit or product covered by your strategic business plan.

Our proxy metric modeling system leverages the key metrics identified above and all the assumptions identified by your business plan to create a dynamic financial simulation where games can be played, strategies can be explored, and limits can be tested in the safety of a computer simulation.

Getting Started on your Future

If the above process sounds like it has the potential to create the roadmap you need to overhaul your business or launch a new business initiative, we’d love to set up a free 60-minute consulting session to learn more about your business and share with you what we’ve learned over the past few decades about running a successful publishing and marketing operation. 

If appropriate, we can also schedule a system demonstration with one of our many case studies for an existing publishing and marketing system that can serve as a mentor for your organization or business unit.

Call (866) 713-1005 or click here to schedule your free consulting session with me and our CEO, Don Nicholas. 

We look forward to helping you explore the future of your business with the goal of increasing your audience, revenue, and profits.


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