Planning guide for your startup

Orange Blossom

Pipestone Media Solutions:  Supporting Startup Businesses


This planning guide for your startup business, it is not written in stone, should be flexible. Use large butcher paper or large post-it sheets so everyone to see, draw 12-month timeframe with equal parts. (either leave it up on the wall or roll it up to repost at regular meetings)

  • Draw out a 12 month timeline in equal sections

  • Locate relevant tasks (listed below) on the timeline

  • Identify who will take on or report back on each task  

  • Add new tasks etc., over time

The list is intended to support your small business plan.  This list is not exhaustive, you may add on or delete tasks.  Use this information to your benefit. You may also wish to rearrange the order. Best of luck.


Begin with People

Begin with the people who are engaged with your business. Who are the people driving the vision, support and build the foundation and steadily grow your business for the long haul? 

  • Who is taking the planning lead?  Are there partners and how is the workload managed?

  • Take inventory of skills, talent, and strengths each person can contribute to the business

  • Make a list of skills you would plan to develop within or fill from outside the team.

  • Do you have a structure in mind at this point?  Cooperative, Independent Owner, Partnership? 

  • Are your people willing to work without pay?  If so, how long?


Responding to these questions cuts back on disappointment and surprises. 


Time commitment

  • Is your business a very parttime or fulltime shop?

  • Will it require more than 20 hrs. a week for each partner?  More or less?

  • Are you willing to invest 40 plus hours per week?

  • Are there defined roles and flexibility in those roles as the plan grows?


Business Location

  • Storefront space/rental cost

  • Home office space/garage/studio?

  • Computers, phones, copiers, desks, workspaces

  • Product storage and handling space?


Sales and Marketing:

  • Cash, checks, credit cards?  Cash box; bank deposits, daily/weekly records

  • How will you process credit cards?  Research various payment apps and rates.

  • Phone and internet costs

  • Business Cards/Social Media/Email/Word of Mouth/Referrals

  • Will you design a website specifically for your business?

  • Will you engage social media specifically for your business?

  • Who will set up and manage your internet business?

  • Other internet support/services you may need over time (grow plan)


What is your great idea?

  • What is your product and purpose?  (This could be the beginning of a mission statement)

  • Have you decided on a name or brand for your business?  Summarize in one sentence.

  • Have you designed a logo?  Designate several persons to draw representations of your business.

  • Make a wish list of products/services you would like to develop and sell over the next six months to a year. 

  • What skilled people might you need to get through the first six to twelve months? Locate them in your timeline.

  • Is this a business partnership, employee, consultant?  Begin to associate people to tasks on timeline.

  • At what point will you hire skilled staff/consultants for specific jobs?


Finances:  What about $$

  • What funds do you have put aside for this business?

  • Where will your money be invested?  Add project investments and projected costs to timeline.

  • Research and identify business resources that are no cost to you.  i.e., Facebook Meta Business; SCORE; WESST, online training programs, mentors etc.


Legal Identity

  • Business Name

  • Business Address

  • Business License Application

  • FEIN number Application

  • Business Bank Account


A reference point

Documenting what you know and what you don’t know, can help you prioritize and get the most out of workshops you select.  By completing this exercise, you will have developed a reference point from where to work and your timeline will build into a business plan.

Cynthia Gomez, Creative Consultant