Making Plans to Make Plans

29.11.2016 |

Episode #1 of the course How to build an online business by Crew


Welcome to How to Build an Online Business, created by Crew.

Over the next ten days, you’ll learn how to turn your business idea into a legitimate online business.

First up, let’s discuss what to do before you start building your business: planning. What do you want to accomplish? Who is your target? How can you reach them?

Let’s get started, yeah?

So you have an idea. Maybe you own a clothing boutique and you want to build a website to reach people beyond your city lines. Maybe you have an idea for an app that you’re sure will be the next big thing. But why are you building?

Are you building a website to drive more sales or awareness for your existing business? Are you building an app to support you and your family?

Understanding the “why” behind creating a website or app will make it easier for you to execute and prioritize the things you could do.

Because if things go well, building the first version of your website or app is just the beginning. You need to be mentally ready to take on years of cultivating that product into a business.

And you need to be ready to put in the work when it doesn’t go well, too. Many of the founders we see being successful today spent years tinkering their way toward their big breakthrough.

I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” — Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple

To our eyes, as customers, exceptional businesses seem like they came from nowhere. However, start speaking to a number of founders and you’ll hear about how there was often years of fighting that each business had to endure before the combination of skill and hard work paid off.

Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of really hard work will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” — Biz Stone, Founder of Twitter

For many of today’s most successful founders, it was often this early experimentation and iteration that played a defining role in their big breakthrough. And they all started with a similar goal: to solve a problem they already have.

So, now that we’ve gotten the obligatory disclaimer about how this is going to take hard work and perseverance out of the way and we’re ready to go, the next obvious question is: where do we start?

With a plan.

Traditionally, a business needs a business plan — a big, long document that outlines all of your strengths and weaknesses, the competition, your market, etc. But this can lead to over-planning, which delays you from actually building your product!

But there’s another way.

Pioneered by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author Eric Ries, the Lean Startup method is all about reducing waste when developing your business or product.

There’s a document called the Lean Canvas, which focuses on defining only the most important elements of your business — all on a single page. It can quickly help you spot flaws about your business model up front that you might not have considered otherwise. So to help you out, here’s a blank Lean Canvas you can work on.

If you don’t have all the answers, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start or your idea is no good. It just means you’ve likely found areas in your concept that need to be thought out more or tested.

Until tomorrow,


Recommended reading

The importance of just starting


Recommended book

“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek


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