Startup Strategy Framework

Startup strategy begins with a fundamental understanding of market dynamics and a systematic methodology that results in a well-defined product that can be validated for market fit.


Many entrepreneurs place a high value on taking action, but action without proper understanding to guide it can lead to disaster. Consider the analogy of throwing a ball toward a distant target. The act of throwing the ball hard is an important part of hitting your target but is not the only variable in the equation. You also must consider direction, gravitational weight as a function of time, and aerodynamic drag which slows the ball down over time.

All of these forces act upon the ball and need to be considered if you want to reliably determine the trajectory with which you must throw.  An experienced football quarterback may instinctively account for these variables when determining his trajectory but that instinct comes from years of experience and training.  For an athlete learning the craft, having a clear understanding of these variables will expedite understanding and improve decision making, both of which lead to a more reliable outcome.

Our Goals

With the odds of startup success at only 1 in 5 and so many young tech entrepreneurs unaware of fundamental market dynamics and strategy principles, we felt it was important to create a tool that made it possible to introduce core principles and provide an apply known best practices and strategies.

Much of what sinks a startup is predictable so why waist months of your time and thousands of dollars testing a failure that could have been anticipated? Our goal with SmarterStartup is to contribute to the collective body of knowledge that helps improve success rates among entrepreneurs, specifically by providing the concepts and frameworks that are lacking for opportunity discovery. With the tools we’ve developed, startup entrepreneurs and product managers can reaffirm the dynamics of the market they’re entering and develop comprehensive vision definitions that are ready to be prototyped and validated in the market.

Framework Overview

These concept models and applied tools comprise the SmarterStartup strategy framework. They can be used individually or holistically for planning and analysis.

Core Concepts

  • Business Model Archetypes - The 7 fundamental types of business “personalities” that underpin every business model.
  • 6 Market Dynamics - The 6 market dynamics that must be considered to evaluate opportunity and difficulties.
  • Value Creation Plane - An analysis tool for understanding the spectrums of value and identifying opportunity to create new value.

Applied Tools

  • Opportunity Discovery - A systematic approach to ideating and evaluating startup and new product opportunity.
  • Startup Scorecard - A simple applied scorecard for rating startup and new product concepts against the 6 market dynamics.
  • Vision Definition - An applied tool for clarifying and articulating a targeted value statement (elevator pitch).


Use & Licensing

The framework is free to use and made available via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.  You are welcome to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.  You can also remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.  We only request that You give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.