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About The Startup Business Planning Jigsaw

Managing a startup business is NOT easy. Startup entrepreneurs have lots of balls in the air. Lean Startup books, theory and practice are brilliant but the question is which model or framework do you follow and when – and are they all relevant to an Irish startup situation?

To address this dilemma Donncha devised the ‘Startup Business Planning Jigsaw’ to put into neat order a range of concepts, tools, books and other lean startup resources to guide early stage entrepreneurs on their journey from concept to market launch and plan to scale internationally.

LinkedIn Pulse

Startup Business Planning Jigsaw

Early in the New Year (2015), I wrote an article to introduce The Startup Business Planning Jigsaw which I published on LinkedIn Pulse. I introduced the article by stating:

This is my contribution to the age old question as to when a lean startup entrepreneur should write a business plan or if indeed they should write one at all.


And I concluded by explaining that:

The Jigsaw is my attempt to rationalise and put into neat order a range of concepts, tools, books and other resources to guide early stage entrepreneurs on their the journey.


startup business planning jigsaw linkedin

The nine elements are explained in my LinkedIn Pulse article entitled The Startup Business Planning Jigsaw – thanks to everyone who liked the article and provided a comment.  To quickly summarise the nine blocks are:

1 – Start with the Idea or Business Concept

2 – Complete a Lean Canvas (Ash Maurya, Running Lean).

3 – Undertake a serious assessment of the Promoter and Team.

4 – Work on Customer Development and Market Validation, which leads to

5 – Development of a MVP being an early stage product that the customer will pay for.

6 – A business model is how a business makes money, so you need to answer that question. The key word is validation which simply means proving that what you think will work does in actual fact work.

7 – A key phrase within Lean Startup is learning and it is not just a buzzword. With all the uncertainty of startups, it is vital that the Team is open to learning such that a model that works is found.

8 – Lean Metrics (Financial + Lean Analytics)

9 – Business Action Plan

For more detail on the Business Action Plan see my very detailed case study on how I write business plans for clients as this provides all the background detail for the final step in the model – the business plan as outlined in this blogpost.

Download the Business Plan Write-Up Case Study




On the 27th February 2015, I delivered a presentation entitled ‘Lean Startup and Navigating the Funding Scene – Strategy Roadmap for Startups and the Supports at each stage‘. See YouTube video below. The topic allowed me to discuss two topics at the one time, namely to outline briefly each of the nine steps of the Startup Business Planning Jigsaw within the context of enterprise agency supports for business by focusing on the main supports that apply at each stage.




12 Lean Startup Models – Slideshare

Please note that each of the 9 steps are very involved – the process can take from 3 to 4 months to 3 to 4 years – and every situation is different. It is implied within the model that the steps are iterative as in one may have to go back a step in order to go forward again. Indeed, in  creating the Startup Business Planning Jigsaw I refer to a number of Lean Startup Models. To provide more information on these I have created a Slideshare presentation entitled: Twelve Lean Startup Models and how they can shape how you think about your startup. The twelve models are:

► Business Model Canvas – Alexander Osterwalder

► Search v’s Execution – Steve Blank & Bob Dorf

► Build-Measure-Learn – Eric Ries

►Three Stages of a Startup – Ash Maurya

► MVP and Product Market Fit

►Lean Canvas – Ash Maurya

► Customer Development – Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits

► Startup Pyramid – Sean Ellis

►Get Keep Grow – Steve Blank & Bob Dorf

► Pirate Metrics – Dave McClure

►One Metric that Matters – Croll & Yoskovitz




and finally the Startup Business Planning Jigsaw.



donncha (@donnchadhh)

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