Can You Complete the 15 Minute Business Challenge?

If you cannot write out the plan for where you are taking your business in 15 minutes or less, chances are, you do not have a plan!

If you don’t have a plan then you and your business are just floating through time and you are at the whim of the marketplace and all of your competitors! Basically, if you cannot articulate what you are building or why you are building it then how do you know what you are doing or where you are going?

For those that regularly read my posts, you know that Thinking Business has a very detailed business blueprint that you can download (from our Business Tools) and apply to your business. We call it the Thinking Business Blueprint. It takes you through all aspects of your business to ensure that your business model and strategy are defined clearly at all levels.

However, I was recently challenged by a client to come up with a simple, high level, tool that would allow a business leader to summarize their business and their strategy in one simple page. This one-page tool must be simple to implement yet powerful enough to capture the very essence of an organization. A leader must then be able to take the completed tool and easily communicate it to any and all of it’s stakeholders.

To meet this challenge, I have come up with the “15 Minute” Business Blueprint described below.

“15 Minute” Business Blueprint

The 15 Minute Business Blueprint is a simple tool for recording what every business leader should already know about their business. It is a tool for clarifying the purpose and strategy of the business and it doubles as a tool for easily communicating the same to anyone inside or outside the business. A screenshot of the tool is shown below:


It consists of the following six major components. Rather than define each component in detail, I have provided links to other articles on my site that already do that.

  1. Vision – This is a well-articulated, powerful and compelling reason why the business exists. Take a look at these posts for more details on creating your vision:
  2. Mission – This is a definition of what the organization does every day to achieve the vision. Take a look at these posts for more details:
  3. Values – These describe how the organization behaves as it drives towards its mission and vision. Review these articles for more details:
  4. Strategy: BHAG and the SMI KPI – Strategy is a huge topic but we are looking at the three most important aspects of it and we are choosing a 1 to 5 year timeframe. This timeframe is okay for those business in a more traditional market but it may be too long of a view for high tech businesses or startups where things change much more rapidly. So, adjust the timeframe to what make sense for your business.
    1. First, what is the organization’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG* (*registered trademark of Jim Collins and Jerry Porras). BHAG is a “monstrous stretch goal” that your organization must achieve to show progress towards the vision!
    2. SMI KPI is the single-most-important key-business-indicator. This is sometimes referred to as a critical success factor for your organization. This KPI must show progress towards your BHAG, it must indicate business health, and it must show progress towards achieving your vision. Take a look at these articles for some ideas on KPIs.
  1. Strategy: Key Strategic Elements – These are the factors that differentiate your organization from the competition. It is best to limit this list to between 3 and 5 key strategic elements. Take a look at this post for more details on the strategic elements that you should leverage.
  2. Strategy: SMART Goals – These goals are critical contributors to the BHAG. Essentially, if you can achieve these goals, you will achieve your BHAG. If you achieve your BHAG you are living your mission and one big step closer to your vision. Take a look at this post for more details on SMART goals.

Take Action

Take 15 minutes out of your schedule this week to download and complete the 15 Minute Business Blueprint (located on the Business Tools page). If you cannot complete it in 15 minutes, determine where your gaps are. Put a plan in place to fill the gaps and complete the tool so that you can easily explain it to your staff, vendors, customers, investors, or other stakeholders.

Once you are done completing the form, feed your experience back to the community of users here at ThinkingBusinessBlog by leaving comments below. So far, we have organizations in the following categories that are using this tool:

  • Not-for-profit
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Engineering
  • Business units within large multi-nationals
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Landscaping
  • Technical product sales
  • Client programs within engineering companies

Finally, take a look at these posts for more details:

  1. How to Build a Powerful Business Strategy
  2. How to Use Goals to Ignite Your Business
  3. Why Destroy Your Business by Flying Blind
  4. Why You Need to Download This Powerful Strategy Tool
  5. Why You Need to Optimize Your Business
  6. What Fuels Your Business May Be Killing It!
  7. 9 Warning Signs That Your Business is in Danger


All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey


What aspects of your business blueprint may provide value to other readers? Leave your comments below!


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One thought on “Can You Complete the 15 Minute Business Challenge?

  1. Besides the organizations listed above that have used this tool, the 15 Minute Business Blueprint was recently used by a JV as they strove to define themselves from their two founding businesses.

    The tool allowed them to clearly describe the similarities and differences between their founding companies while succinctly articulating the Business Blueprint for the JV itself.