Strategy audit
Most startup companies have a strategy in mind. The strategy may be explicitly laid out on paper (perhaps on the famous coffee shop napkin!), or it may be embedded in a set of assumptions implicitly shared by the entrepreneurial team.

Before undertaking a business planning assignment, we will usually conduct a Strategy Audit with the founding team. The idea is to help you articulate the strategy, clarify the “fuzzy bits”, and then take a step back and look at the whole picture with a critical and objective eye.

We will help you identify the elements of your strategy that are truly compelling, and by contrast recognize any that are problematic and likely to deter potential investors and partners.

We will then work with you to highlight the strong points and rework the weak ones before we start committing the overall strategy to a formal business plan and presentation.

The Strategy Audit is designed to be simultaneously rigorous and highly efficient. We will not waste your and our time on low-impact details, but focus on the major strategic decisions that have the potential to make or break the venture.

Typically the Strategy Audit comprises three main steps:

  1. Management discussion –a half-day session with the founding team during which we jointly lay out and discuss the strategy, identify the key assumptions that drive this strategy, and highlight any obvious holes and open issues.
  2. Focused external research – Inmill consultants will then perform a short ( 1- 2 day) external research effort focused on the key assumptions. This will generally cover market and technology trends, customer needs, and competitor activities. We will access proprietary information databases as well as open web resources. We will also typically interview a small number of potential customers and other industry experts as part of this step.
  3. Management review –a second half-day session with the founding team during which we review the outcome of the external research and revisit the issues identified in the strategy. The output of this review is a clear strategy that will form the basis of the business plan moving forward.

Clearly, the Strategy Audit is not intended to replace a major strategy development process. But it ensures that the initial direction does not have any obvious flaws and forms a reasonable basis for effective next steps.
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