Startup Strategy: Building Your Strategic Playbook

, partnerships + bizdev at skillshare.

A good strategy is crucial to the success of your startup. You're operating at 100mph, with constrained resources, and a limited runway - being 100% clear on your company's direction will ensure you're moving the needle on long term goals while you stay focused on hitting nearer term milestones. 

Who should be taking this course?

This is an intermediate level course geared toward startup founders (or soon-to-be-founders) and anyone in a business development or similar strategic role. In other words, if you're kept up at night hashing out your company direction and vision, this course is for you. 

What will you learn?

Over the course of 3 weeks you'll identify, design and articulate your company strategy.

We'll cover what strategy is and isn't; how to translate it into a viable business model; how to identify your competitive advantages; and how to translate your strategy into an actionable playbook.

What will you do?

The course will very much be about learning by doing. Every week you'll workshop different project to ladder up to your finalized strategy playbook. 

  • Before Class: I'll share out case studies and other resources to prepare us for the workshopping we'll do in class and that week's project.
  • In-Class Feedback:  Class will begin with feedback from classmates on the previous week's project. Expect to give and get plenty of feedback from myself and your fellow students along the way!
  • In-Class Review: I'll review key learnings and takeways from the week's resources and open up the floor to Q&A. 
  • In-Class Workshop: We'll dive into the next phase of our project. 

What will you walk away with?

Your own fully baked Strategy Playbook and an understanding of how to rinse and repeat for any future ventures.

Prerequisites
This is an intermediate level course geared toward startup founders (or soon-to-be-founders) and anyone in a business development or similar strategic role. In other words, if you're kept up at night hashing out your company direction and vision, this course is for you.
Schedule
  • What is Strategy?

    Skillshare HQ

    407 Broome St Suite 5A
    New York, NY

    We'll clearly define what a good strategy is and what it isn't and talk through case studies that reflect both. By the end of this session you should recognize the formula behind any good strategy and be able to spot the red flags of a bad one. We'll also cover what the relationship between your vision and strategy should and shouldn't be.

    Pre-Class Resources: Read What is Strategy? (excerpts to be provided)

    Collaborative Project I: Create your company's Activity Map

    Jul
    12
    Thu, July 12th, 2012

    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

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  • From Strategy to Business Model

    Skillshare HQ

    407 Broome St. Suite 5A
    New York City, NY

    Building on Session 1, we'll apply strategic positioning to sketching a corollary business model. We'll define what a business model is and discuss the different formats a successful model can take. You should leave this session understanding which format best suits your vision and how 

    Pre-Class Resources: Read What Exactly is a Business Model and Reinventing your Business Model (excerpts to be provided).

    Collaborative Project 2: Create your Business Model Canvas

    Jul
    17
    Tue, July 17th, 2012

    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

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  • Identifying Your Competitive Advantage + Actionizing You Strategy

    Skillshare HQ

    407 Broome St. Suite 5A
    New York City, NY

    We'll discuss how competition should impact your strategy. If your position prepares you for it, competition is a good thing! Let's understand why and how.

    We'll also discuss different tactics for execution. To actually begin to operate on your strategy you'll need to figure out who the decision makers are in your organization, how the flow of information and feedback works and what the incentive structure looks like for everyone involved. 

    Pre-Class Resources: Read The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution (excerpts to be provided) and The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy (excerpts to be provided)

    Collaborative Project Final: Use this exercise to Define Your Edge and Build your Strategy Playbook. 

    Jul
    19
    Thu, July 19th, 2012

    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

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Abigail Besdin

partnerships + bizdev at skillshare.

I'm part of the Skillshare Team, working on Partnerships and Business Development. Pre-Skillshare, I worked on the Partnerships team at Meetup. And before ever landing in startup world, I was working towards a PhD in Philosophy, around meta-ethics. I dare you to read my thesis

Abandoning the PhD route, I still find myself incredibly interested in strategy and systems and love applying what I've learned about both to business (and TV). This course will focus almost entirely on the former.

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