RVC hosted it’s first workshop on Strategic Planning for Venture Backed Business earlier this week and Kathleen McFadden, Senior Account Supervisor at McGregor Graham Advertising Agency attended and shared her notes with us.


Purpose: The intent of this Conference Report is to highlight the RVC Academy: Strategic Planning for Venture Backed Businesses workshop I attended yesterday. I think that Peter’s thoughts on Strategy are very in line with ours and I have attached highlights from the presentation.



  • Do VCs even want a strategic plan? Yes, they want to see:
    • Clarity of direction, with ability to pivot
    • Execution that is measurable
    • Shortest time from point A to point B
    • Team that has thought out all the options
    • Team that understands the risks and has mitigated
    • Team that is aligned
  • Strategic Plan Hierarchy
    • Processes:
      • Create, review and update Mission, Vision, Value (MVV)
      • Objective, Strategy, Tactic
      • Internal/external analysis
      • Research, metrics and scenarios
      • Team work sessions
      • Top-down and bottom-up review
      • Evaluate, iterate, measure, refine, revise, reward
    • Tools:
      • MVV definitions
      • OST
      • SWOT
      • STEEP—social, technical, environmental, economic, political, legal factors
      • Smart goals, project management, communication plan, compensation, accountability
      • Performance reviews
    • Scenario planning
      • Descriptive narratives of plausible projections for the future. Helps you envisions and prepare for multiple futures so you are prepared for whichever becomes reality
        • DO
          • Make better decisions by breaking out of common assumptions
          • Identify possible business opportunities
          • Test strategy in multiple scenarios
          • Refine strategy
          • Monitor strategy execution
          • Environment scan to adjust and adapt
        • Don’t
          • Don’t make strategic decisions before doing your best strategic thinking
          • Don’t straight line predictions from the past
          • Don’t assume the most likely case
          • Don’t use simple single factor decision making
        • Strategic management is about exploiting opportunities within a context of uncertainty about the future
          • Risk is predictable uncertainty
        • The process of scenario planning begins with a discussion about how big shifts in society, economics, politics, and technology might affect a particular issue
        • Scenario Planning Work Approach:
          • Define Objective and Scope
          • Define Key Drivers
          • Collect and Analyze Data
          • Develop Scenarios
          • Apply Scenarios
          • Maintain and Update
        • Company Mission
          • The mission statement describes the overall purpose of the organization
          • When wording it consider organizations products, services, markets, values, and concern for public image, and maybe priorities of activities for survival
          • Should be the length of a tweet—140 characters
          • Should include sufficient description that separates it from other organizations
        • Company Vision
          • A vision statement defines what the business will do and why it will exist tomorrow and it has defined goals to be accomplished by a set date
          • It takes into account current status of the organization and serves to point the company in the direction it wishes to go
        • Company Values
          • An organization’s values are guiding principles which apply across the organization and underpin how work is carried out
          • They are basic beliefs about what really matters which guide how things get done
            • Make values clear
            • Don’t generalize them
            • Make them committable
            • Use interview process to ensure potential employees have similar values
            • Enforce values
            • Communicate values
            • Put monetary value on them
            • Uphold values in good and bad times
          • Objectives
            • goals, keystones, etc
            • broadly defined objective that an organization must achieve to make its strategy succeed
            • the top categories for action in the company
            • typically 3-7 objectives
          • Strategies
            • The things that have to be accomplished to achieve the objectives
            • Should be specific
          • Tactics
            • How to execute
            • Measurement is the key to executions
              • If it matters at all it is detectable/observable
              • If it is detectable it, it can be detected as an amount
              • If it can be detected as a range of possible amounts it can be measured
            • Measure only what you will act on
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