Scale Business Impact

Module Three Description

In this third Module of Business Impact Accelerator©, you and your team will create a five-year business plan to scale the impact-driven business model you tested and validated in Module 2. If you’re aiming to raise flexible revenue-based growth capital, this Module will help you create a high-quality 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer to promote to women and HeForShe investors on your crowdfund platform-of-choice. 

You and your team will complete four Activities …

  1. Establish Scaling Plans
  2. Calculate 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer
  3. Create 10X Impact Business Plan
  4. Confirm Organization Readiness

… and produce seven Deliverables:

  • Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives
  • Scaling Action Plans
  • 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer
  • Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan
  • Cash Flow Pressure Test
  • Business Transformation Readiness Assessment
  • Case for Change Story

These Deliverables will enable you and your team to build a sustainable, high-impact enterprise that differentiates you from competitors focused only on maximizing short-term profit.

For each Deliverable, we provide step-by-step instructions and coaching tips for completion. We also feature a Certified B Corporation to benchmark and offer a list of resources to help you manage the transition of your enterprise from one stage of growth to another. If you have any questions, please contact us directly through this website.

Activity Description

In this Activity, you and your team will determine the amount of growth capital needed to scale the impact-driven business model you designed and validated in Module 2. You’ll do this by establishing Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives and preparing Scaling Action Plans.

Establishing a capital raising target is important because as you learned in Gender Wealth Strategy©, impact and crowdfund investing is expected to grow significantly through 2030. As one of the leaders of an impact-driven enterprise, it is incumbent on you to secure the flexible revenue-based growth capital needed to scale impact and fuel sustainable growth.

Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives will help you identify the key results to be achieved during scale-up. Scaling Action Plans will help you plan the financial and human resources needed to deliver on the scaling objectives.

Together, these Deliverables will enable your business or social enterprise to develop a viable growth capital plan and 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer that attracts the attention of women and HeForShe Investors on a crowdfund investment platform.

Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives

Required Materials:

To establish Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives, you will need to visit the Nonprofit Finance Fund website. You will also need the Deliverables created in Modules 1 and 2 of Business Impact Accelerator©.

To Do List:

There are three actions for you and your team to complete:

  1. View four short Youtube videos on the subject of growth capital and revenue-based finance.
  2. Download and review an article on the purpose and role of growth capital.
  3. Discuss the purpose of growth capital in your enterprise and identify 5–6 key results you want to achieve as a result of scaling your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Model.

Coaching Tips:

In Gender Wealth Strategy©, you learned that gaining access to flexible growth capital on friendly terms is a major barrier to the expansion of many enterprises, especially those led by women without 10X profit-driven business models (95% of the population).

But what is growth capital and what is the purpose of revenue-based growth capital in helping your enterprise scale its impact? These four YouTube videos will help you and your team understand the role of growth capital and the power of revenue-based finance:

As you watch these videos, listen for comments related to patient and flexible capital, access to capital, and the right financing vehicle. Please note the video from Michael “Luni” Libes (A Different View on Impact Investing). This is the same video introduced to you in Key Finding #5 of Gender Wealth Strategy©.

The Cypress Growth Capital video will give you an example of how one investment firm is using revenue royalties (another term for revenue sharing) to fund the growth of mature technology companies. Arthur Fox, one of the early pioneers of revenue-based finance is a senior advisor to this firm. You’ll remember Mr. Fox’s name from Key Finding #6 in Gender Wealth Strategy (“few entrepreneurs, investors, and educators know about revenue-based finance”).

The article from Nonprofit Finance Fund to download is titled Nonprofit Growth Capital: Building is Not BuyingThe author is George Overholser, former director of this social finance enterprise. Be sure to review the definition of growth capital on page 2 of this article: “Growth capital is an investment of funds from financial partners who join with management to build a sustainable enterprise.” Note this important comment: “Growth capital covers the deficits incurred en route to sustainability.”

Although the article is focused on nonprofit finance, Overholser provides a clear definition of growth capital for any enterprise, regardless of legal structure or tax status. Be sure to review the section explaining why it’s important to separate growth capital investment from operating revenues in your financial statements. Many enterprises co-mingle these funds, and it leads to poor cash flow management, one of the primary reasons for business failure. This is a good reminder for you to track accurately the inflow and outflow of growth capital, whether these funds come from owners, retained earnings, or revenue-based crowdfund investors (or ideally, all three).

Next, bring your team together and lead a discussion about these videos and article. Ensure all team members are on the same page about the difference between growth capital and operating revenue. This discussion will give you an opportunity to start identifying potential uses of growth capital to scale your positive impact.

Potential Growth Capital Uses

So, what expenses can you build into a growth capital budget and include in your 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer to women and HeForShe investors? Here are just a few examples:

  • monthly or annual subscriptions to business development or financial management tools like QuickBooks™ or LivePlan business planning software.
  • new hires to support scaling plans
  • outside consultants or technical experts to design and redesign systems, processes, workflows or tools
  • assessment tools and online business simulations to develop an entrepreneurial culture
  • capital raising costs associated with your crowdfund investment platform-of-choice (they typically charge between 2–8% of the capital you raise).
  • CPA costs to conduct an independent review or audit of your previous two years of financial statements
  • Legal fees of $5,000 for retaining CrowdCheck to conduct background checks and review of your governance documents, 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offering documents, and SEC Form C (reference first two Activities in Module 6, Fund Business Impact).
  • Marketing costs for planning and launching a successful 3X-in-10™ Growth Capital Campaign

After your team discusses possible uses of growth capital, identify (or confirm) the objectives or goals you want to achieve as a result of scaling your newly validated Sustainable 10X Impact Business Model. We recommend you establish a Primary Goal of “scale impact and grow sustainably after scale-up.” This sustainability goal is the “take-off” point described on page 4 of Overholser’s article and the “burn rate” commonly referred to in the world of finance and investment.

It is not the BHAG you identified in your Vision Story of Sustainable 10X Impact (achieving that BHAG will take ten years or more). Growth capital investment is designed to get you to the point of being able to scale-up, operate sustainably at this higher level of scale, and then continue steady and sustainable growth for the rest of the ten-year investment period (and beyond).

If this Primary Goal isn’t coming into focus right away, read the previous paragraph and Overholser’s article again. We’ve seen more than a couple of management teams and boards struggle with the purpose and role of growth capital. In addition to this Primary Goal, think about the other results you’d like to achieve in the estimated 3–5 years it will take to achieve “take-off.” Use all of the documents created so far in Business Impact Accelerator© to identify and prioritize your 5–6 Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives.

Be sure to record these objectives or results on a flip chart and use this information to help draft Scaling Action Plans, estimate the growth capital amount you will raise, create a 3X-in- 10™ Revenue Sharing Offer, and develop a Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan.

Review Questions:

Before moving to the Next Step, ask these questions:

  1. Does everyone understand the purpose and role of revenue-based growth capital in scaling the impact of our business or social enterprise?
  2. Is the Primary Goal of “scale impact and grow sustainably after scale-up” clear?
  3. Did we establish 5–6 Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives to guide development of our Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan, 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer, and Growth Capital Campaign?

Estimated Time:

It will take approximately 3–4 hours (over 1–2 meetings) to discuss and clarify Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives.

Featured Certified B Corporation: 

Better World Books

Recommended Resources:

To learn more about revenue royalties and revenue-based finance, we recommend the following:

  • The Road Less Travelled: The Story of Revenue Royalties by Robert Steven Kramarz (available in the free resource Library of the Intelliversity website).
  • The Larry and Barry Guide to Understanding Royalties by Arthur Lipper (available on KindleUnlimited; other free articles and resources about revenue-based finance are available on the Pacific Royalties website).
  • Revenue Royalties: Why and How Revenue Royalties Will Become The Standard Finance Approach for Both Investors and Company Owners by Arthur Lipper.
  • The Realities of Funding a Startup by Michael Libes (part of The Next Step Series of books for business and social entrepreneurs).

To learn more about impact metrics (which might influence your scaling objectives), we advise the following:

  • IRIS (or Impact Reporting and Investment Standards; provides a database of metrics used by the B Impact Assessment and impact investors).

Next Step

Scaling Action Plans

Scaling Action Plans

Required Materials:

To prepare Scaling Action Plans, you will need to visit the McKinsey & Company website as well as access the Change Accelerator© toolkit and platform. You will also need the Deliverables created in Modules 1 and 2, along with Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives established previously in this Activity.

To Do List:

There are five actions for you and your team to complete:

  1. Download and review the 7S Analysis tool from the Change Accelerator Toolkit.
  2. Visit the McKinsey & Company website and listen to the podcast titled Enduring Ideas: The 7S Framework (published in the March 2008 McKinsey Quarterly).
  3. Review discussion questions in the 7S Analysis tool and identify key issues and resources needed to achieve the Primary Goal (“scale impact and grow sustainably after scale-up”).
  4. Use the Action Plan tool from the Change Accelerator Toolkit to prepare first draft Scaling Action Plans.
  5. Save a copy of these plans for the Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan to be created later in this Module.

Coaching Tips:

The 7S Framework and Model was originally developed by Robert Waterman and Tom Peters at McKinsey & Company in the late 1970’s (Waterman and Peters are co-authors of the classic In Search of Excellence). 7S is an analytical tool for considering the impact of new strategies and business models on organizational performance and effectiveness. Problems arise when these seven “pillars” become misaligned, either because of significant change in the external environment or because of issues not anticipated or adequately addressed by leadership and management teams (or both).

Plan a team discussion about the 7S Model. Start by downloading the 7S Analysis tool from the Change Accelerator toolkit and platform. Feel free to customize the discussion questions in 7S Analysis for your business or social enterprise. The aim here is to “think strategically” about key issues that could positively or negatively impact your ability to achieve the Primary Goal and BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) in your Vision Story of Sustainable 10X Impact.

In preparing for the 7S discussion, listen to a short podcast/interactive from the March 2008 McKinsey Quarterly. Lowell Bryan, a partner at McKinsey&Company, offers a brief explanation of the 7S Framework. Be sure to catch his comment about “blind spots.” Be open to the possibility that you and your team may have one or more blind spots about the enterprise you lead (e.g., the impact of growth on cash flow, organization readiness for change and growth, investment readiness, natural or man-made disaster, etc.).

Be sure to examine other tools in the Change Accelerator Toolkit that could help your team identify key issues in scaling-up your positive impact. Refer to the Recommended Resources section for a list of relevant tools.

It is important for you and your team to identify all of the tasks required to scale your 10X impact-driven business model. And, be aware your enterprise will have more work to do to improve and fine-tune business model “fit.” Testing and validating a business model with “early adopters” is one thing, but often, the real customer segment (or base) emerges later. This business reality sometimes catches entrepreneurial teams by surprise and contributes to the “cash flow roller coaster.” So, allocate resources for ongoing experimentation, testing, and validation of your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Model.

Stay focused on the next 3–5 years, as this is the estimated timeframe for reaching “take-off” and “burning through” the growth capital you raise internally or from investors externally. Be sure to consider all of the hard and soft issues related to scaling and develop estimates of the financial and human resources required to address these issues. Be very conservative in developing these Scaling Action Plans. It typically takes longer than expected, so factor in the appropriate amount of time and resources.

Regulation Crowdfund Investing Laws

You will need to keep your growth capital funding target to less than the maximum amount of capital that can be raised in a single year under Regulation CF crowdfund investing laws. The next Activity of Module 3 will walk you through the 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer and help you calculate the percentage of revenue your enterprise can afford to share with revenue-based investors.

Use the Action Plan tool from the Change Accelerator Toolkit to identify all of the financial and human resources needed to achieve “take-off.” You will continue to refine these estimates in the next several Activities as you create a viable 5-year business plan and pressure test a high-quality 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer.

Yes, the work you’re doing right now is challenging. On the one hand, you’re thinking about the ten-year vision of your business or social enterprise. Next, you’re planning the work required to achieve “take-off.” And of course, you still have day-to-day issues to manage. But, take a deep breath … you can do this!

Review Questions:

Before moving to the Next Step, ask these questions:

  1. Did we identify and prioritize all of the issues that will impact our ability to achieve the Primary Goal?
  2. Did we consider the impact of “soft” issues as much as “hard” issues?
  3. Did we identify all of the human and financial resources needed to scale our impact and grow sustainably after scale-up?

Estimated Time:

It will take approximately 2–3 weeks (over multiple working sessions of 1–3 hours each) to complete and review draft Scaling Action Plans.

Featured Certified B Corporation:

Cabot Creamery Cooperative

Recommended Resources:

To learn more about analyzing and assessing the impact of new strategies and change initiatives, visit Change Accelerator and download these tools from the Toolkit:

  • Force-Field Analysis
  • 4S Realignment
  • Systems-Structure Analysis
  • Current-Future State Analysis
  • Change Impact Assessment

We also recommend:

Next Step

Calculate 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer

Activity Description

In this Activity, you and your team will create a high-quality 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer for women and HeForShe investors.

Crafting a viable and high-quality offer is important because as you learned in Gender Wealth Strategy©, investors are searching for sustainable investments that deliver positive impact, and offer liquidity, a tangible exit, and competitive returns. As one of the leaders of an impact-driven enterprise, it is incumbent on you to create a 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer that attracts the right investors and secures their financial support.

This Deliverable will help you and your team calculate a safe percentage of revenue to share with crowdfund investors during the ten-year growth capital investment period.

3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer

Required Materials:

To create a viable and high-quality 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer, you will need to access the Business Impact Accelerator Library. You may also need to review key sections of the Gender Wealth Strategy© learning program.

To Do List:

There are four actions for you and your team to complete:

  1. Review the video by Michael “Luni” Libes titled “A Different View on Impact Investing” and if needed, key sections of the Gender Wealth Strategy© learning program (“A Failed System”, “Whose Needs Come First?”, and “Women’s Wealth System”).
  2. Access the BIA Library and review 3X-in-10™ Webinar Series, including the 3X-in-10™ Calculator.
  3. Use the 3X-in-10™ Calculator to determine the revenue sharing percentage your enterprise can safely offer women and HeForShe investors on your crowdfund investment-platform-of choice.
  4. Rank order different revenue sharing scenarios and incorporate this information into your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan, 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offering documents, and Investor Pitch Deck (discussed in Fund Business Impact, Module 6 of Business Impact Accelerator©).

Coaching Tips:

In the first Activity of Module Three, you identified objectives and plans for scaling the positive impact of your business or social enterprise. Now, it’s time to create a viable and high-quality 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer that will enable your business to raise the flexible growth capital needed to scale positive impact and grow sustainably after scale-up.

As you know from the Gender Wealth Strategy© Mini-Course and full learning program, there are several benefits for raising flexible revenue-based growth capital on your terms (instead of begging for money from lenders and investors focused only on their 10X-profit or 10X-exit):

  1. Attracting patient, mission-aligned investors with a compelling 3X-in-10™ Offer of “triple your impact investment in ten years.”
  2. Raising flexible and entrepreneur-friendly capital based on a share of top-line revenue (i.e., a revenue royalty).
  3. Gaining “breathing room” and time for scaling new, high-impact business models and value propositions.
  4. Making an investment offer you can deliver on without taking unnecessary risks (e.g., 50%+ hyper-growth every year).
  5. Staying in control of your enterprise with flexible capital instead of taking on inflexible debt or selling a percentage of your business to outside investors.

We created the 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer to help your enterprise “stand out from the crowd” with a compelling offer that provides investors with an opportunity to:

  1. Invest in a stable and sustainable enterprise led by women with impact-driven business models (or HeForShe advocates with business models that positively impact women).
  2. Receive liquidity (cash) in the form of quarterly revenue sharing payments (which provide the opportunity to invest in other high-quality Revenue Sharing Offers).
  3. Realize a quicker return on invested capital as compared to equity investments (e.g., as outlined in the 3X-in-10™ Piggy Bank video, “time-to-1X” is potentially 4.5 years).
  4. Potentially earn a higher rate of return if revenue growth is faster than projected.
  5. Safely exit the revenue sharing investment after the “3X cap” is reached.

As discussed in Gender Wealth Strategy, we designed our 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer after learning about the work of Michael “Luni” Libes in funding entrepreneurial start-ups with this form of flexible capital. If the team has not watched “A Different View on Impact Investing”, take the time now to ensure everyone has an understanding of the major differences between revenue-based financing and traditional debt and equity financing. As discussed in Gender Wealth Strategy/Key Finding #6:”Few entrepreneurs, investors, and educators know about revenue-based finance.”

Also, be sure the team is familiar with the 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Model. If needed, review contents in the WIIN learning program category titled 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing.

Just Six Numbers

In order to create a winning 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer specific to your enterprise, you need six numbers: (1) starting revenue base (use net revenue at end of current fiscal year), (2) estimate of your average annual growth rate during the next ten years, (3) revenue sharing (or revenue royalty) percentage you can safely afford to offer investors, (4) the amount of growth capital required to scale your positive impact and grow sustainably after scale-up, (5) investment multiple (3X), and (6) investment time period (10 years).

In turn, this information will tell you: (1) how much flexible revenue-based growth capital your enterprise potentially could raise on a crowdfund investment platform, and (2) the potential financial return for your prospective women and HeForShe investors.

Remember, an IRR (internal rate of return) above the benchmark 7–10% range is considered a competitive return (see key finding #7 in Gender Wealth Strategy).

Keep in mind that you may be able to create other revenue sharing offers other than 3X-in-10™. For example, a viable 2X-in-5 offer that provides a compelling financial and social return might be a better alternative. Our 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Model is a starting point. You must make the final decision of what will work for your impact-driven enterprise.

Here are a couple of points to keep in mind as you begin working with the 3X-in-10™ Calculator:

  • Typically, 1–10% is the revenue royalty or revenue sharing percentage used by enterprises seeking growth capital investment.
  • Use 25% of net revenue as a “safe” starting point for your estimated growth capital funding target; as a rule of thumb, you will need gross margins of 30% or more (or be able to improve these margins with increased cash flow, higher prices, and improved cash flow management).
  • Make sure the 10-year average revenue growth projection is realistic (we advise 5-10% as a “safe” point to start; a good strategy here is to underpromise and over-deliver).
  • Use the net revenue you project for the current fiscal year as the starting base.
  • Calculation of the revenue sharing percentage is an iterative process; you’ll need to incorporate your projections of revenue growth and revenue sharing percentage into your pro forma financial spreadsheets and Sustainable 10X Business Plan.

If necessary, go back and review videos and materials from the Business Impact Accelerator Mini-Course and 3X-in-10™ Webinar Series programs. These learning programs will help everyone on your team understand the what, why, and how of crafting a 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing investment offer.

A Viable 3X-in-10™ Offer

As you begin to calculate the 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer, be sure you are not “making commitments” you can’t deliver (e.g., annual revenue growth forecasts for the ten-year investment period).

Remember, 10% growth every year for ten years is a significant achievement. In Gender Wealth Strategy, we pointed out the Bain Consulting study that revealed less than 10% of large corporations producing this level of organic growth over a ten-year period of time.

Plus, we don’t want to see you underestimate the potential negative impact this growth will have on the cash flow of your enterprise. Be conservative in your estimates and ensure delivery of sustainable results. The only downside of under-promising and over-delivering is that you “exit” investors more quickly with a higher rate of return!

This would be a good time to mention that you will be documenting your investment offer in two customizable documents: a 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Promissory Note and 3X-in-10™ Subscription Agreement. You can download these two documents from the BIA Library. We recommend starting sooner rather than later in familiarizing yourself with these two documents and drafting a draft promissory note and subscription agreement.

In Module 6, we’ll discuss these documents in more detail and introduce you to CrowdCheck and their related law firm, CrowdCheck Law. CrowdCheck drafted these templates for The Social Impact Foundation and will be guiding your enterprise through the due diligence process needed to (1) pass our Investment Readiness Check, and (2) promote a high-quality Revenue Sharing Offer to women and HeForShe investors on a crowdfund investment platform.

Review Questions:

Before moving to the Next Step, ask these questions:

  1. Do we all understand how the 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer works?
  2. Did we identify the six numbers needed to create a growth capital funding target and a high-quality 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer?
  3. How does this growth capital target compare with the resources identified in our Scaling Action Plans? Do we need to change or revise any of our plans?

Estimated Time:

It will take approximately 3–4 hours (over 1 or 2 work sessions) to establish a viable Revenue Sharing Offer for your business or social enterprise.

Featured Certified B Corporation: 

Plum Organics

Recommended Resources:

To learn more about revenue-based finance and  royalties, we recommend the following:

  • “The Road Less Travelled: The Story of Revenue Royalties” by Robert Steven Kramarz (available in the free resource Library of the Intelliversity website).
  • “The Larry and Barry Guide to Understanding Royalties” by Arthur Lipper (available on KindleUnlimited along with many other articles about revenue-based finance on the Pacific Royalties website).
  • Revenue Royalties: Why and How Revenue Royalties Will Become The Standard Finance Approach for Both Investors and Company Owners by Arthur Lipper.
  • “The Realities of Funding a Startup” by Michael Libes (part of The Next Step Series of books for business and social entrepreneurs).

To learn more about improving your cash flow to pay for the revenue sharing percentage (or revenue royalty), we suggest:

  • “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It … and Why the Rest Don’t”  by Verne Hamish (especially chapters 12–14 on Cash Flow). Note: the Scaling Up website offers some free tools, including The Power of One and Cash Acceleration Strategies that we discuss in the next Activity.
  • Cash Flow Story (website by the developers of The Power of One).
  • QuickBooks Resource Center (look for the Cash Flow section of this website to learn more about improving the cash flow of your enterprise).
  • LivePlan Business Planning Software (look for LivePlan Blog and free articles on cash flow management).

Next Step

Create 10X Impact Business Plan

Activity Description

In this Activity, you and your team will plan for the scaling of your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Model. You’ll do this by creating a Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan and conducting a Cash Flow Pressure Test.

Planning for sustainable growth is important because as you learned in Gender Wealth Strategy©, impact and crowdfund investing is expected to increase significantly through 2030. As one of the leaders of an impact-driven enterprise, it is incumbent on you to develop a viable plan that investors and stakeholders can trust.

Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan will help you create a high-quality scaling plan and realistic financial projections to achieve “take-off” and sustainable growth. Cash Flow Pressure Test will help you examine the impact of different growth scenarios on the cash flow and profitability of your enterprise during the time it takes to reach take-off.

Together, these Deliverables will enable you to create a high-quality business plan and build a sustainable, high-impact enterprise that generates enduring social and economic value.

Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan

Required Materials:

To create a Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan, you will need to access the Business Impact Accelerator Library. You will also need The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book plus Deliverables created in other Modules of Business Impact Accelerator©.

To Do List:

There are five actions for you and your team to complete:

  1. Review the Business Plan Checklist and Investment Readiness Checklist in the BIA Library category of the WIIN learning platform.
  2. Review the table of contents in The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book and become familiar with the Plan As You Go website.
  3. Identify 2–3 team members to draft a Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan over the next 4–6 weeks (or schedule that works for your enterprise).
  4. Incorporate your 3X-in-10™ calculations into the draft five-year business plan and verify accuracy of all forward-looking financial statements.
  5. Review the five-year scaling and growth plan with the entire team and ensure all items of the Business Plan Checklist have been addressed.

Coaching Tips:

Former general and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower famously said: “The plan is useless, but planning is essential.” We wholeheartedly agree and offer these four reasons for creating a high-quality business plan to scale your impact-driven business model:

  1. Clearly communicate your business strategy and growth capital needs to women and HeForShe investors and other strategic investors (e.g., leaders of philanthropic and community foundations).
  2. Reduce the risk of business and investment failure (e.g., 40% of new ventures fail by year three and 60–80% of strategic plans fail to deliver on one or more key objectives).
  3. Describe how your business or social enterprise will change and transform itself to deliver sustainable results and impact during the ten-year investment period.
  4. Develop business and financial acumen within the entire leadership and management team.

To start, review the Business Plan and Investment Readiness Checklists found in the Business Impact Accelerator Library. Examine these documents as a team. You’ll see a direct connection with the Deliverables you’ve been creating in Modules 1–3 of Business Impact Accelerator. Then, identify 2–3 team members (including yourself) to draft a Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan over the next 4–6 weeks. The time frame is approximate as it will depend on the availability of staff and the quality of your current business plan and financial statements.

Download and use the Action Plan tool from Change Accelerator to organize this important assignment. Be sure to set aside time on a weekly basis to “touch base” and check progress. Ensure the planning team has access to all of the Deliverables generated so far in Business Impact Accelerator, as well as the 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer created in the previous Activity of this Module.

Business Plan Requirements

The Business Plan Checklist explains requirements for each of the eleven sections. Aim to keep the main part of your plan to 25–30 pages (plus or minus). The five-year pro forma financial statements go in the Appendix, along with other supporting documents you feel are essential to “make your case” to women and HeForShe investors on your crowdfund investment platform-of-choice.

We recommend everyone in the planning team as well as larger leadership or management team purchase a copy of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan by Tim Berry. Mr. Berry has a website called Plan as You Go that also provides supporting information. Review the Table of Contents in this book and go to any section that is of interest at any time during the planning, writing, review, and revision process.

We recommend you consider using the LivePlan business planning platform. This tool is offered by Mr. Berry’s firm (Palo Alto Software) and provides a number of advantages (e.g., benchmarking against organizations of similar focus and size). Also, the software will help you learn about and focus on key financial metrics used by investors, especially the angel investors who will be attracted to your 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer and its potential internal rate of return (or IRR) of 15–25%. Plus, this feature of LivePlan will increase the financial and business acumen of your team.

If you do have a current business plan, you may need to rewrite a few sections or reconfigure some content to align with the Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan ChecklistOur template is a bit different than conventional business plan templates because an enterprise driven by sustainable 10X impact is a much different entity than one focused only on maximizing short-term profit. This is the reason why we include a few more sections that what is typically required in pitch decks or investor-focused business plans. You’ll appreciate this when women and HeForShe investors respond positively (and quickly) to your high-quality Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan and 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer.

Near the end of the planning and writing process, select 1 or 2 individuals to be the final editors and polishers of the five-year plan. You will need to integrate your 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer into the plan, along with your growth capital budget and itemized list of needs. Then, proceed to the Cash Flow Pressure Test, the next Deliverable in this Activity of Module 3. You’ll address the results of this Pressure Test in the section of your business plan titled Financial Performance (and possibly in the Appendix as well). After you’ve conducted the Cash Flow Pressure Test, schedule a time to review your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan with the entire team.

And remember, you may need to “iterate” between the business plan and 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer during this time. This process is not perfectly linear.

Review Questions:

Before moving to the Next Step, change coaches should ask these questions:

  1. Did we adequately address all questions of the Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan Checklist, including the question of positive impact on women?
  2. Did we address and resolve any issues that surfaced in the development of this plan, including pro forma financial statements for the next five years?
  3. Is this a plan that will capture the attention of women and HeForShe investors in the WIIN 10X Impact Forum and on our funding portal-of-choice?

Estimated Time:

It will take approximately 4–6 weeks for you and your team to create and review a Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan (including pro forma income, balance sheet, and cash-flow statements).

Featured Certified B Corporation:

Sinnova Tek

Recommended Resources:

To learn more about business plans, business planning, and accounting software, we recommend the following:

  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan by Tim Berry (check out the Plan As You Go website).
  • LivePlan (look for LivePlan Blog at the bottom of the main menu).
  • QuickBooks (look for Support and QuickBooks Resource Center at the bottom).

Two additional business planning software systems you may want to check out are BizPlan and BizPlanBuilder. They offer many free resources and articles about planning, cash-flow management, and business development. BizPlanBuilder also sells other systems focused on marketing and sales, human resources, and safety (as does Palo Alto Software)

We also recommend:

Next Step

Cash Flow Pressure Test

Cash Flow Pressure Test

Required Materials:

To conduct a Cash Flow Pressure Test, you will need the five-year pro forma financial statements developed for your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan. Also, you will need to visit several websites that have information on improving cash flow and cash flow management practices.

To Do List:

There are five actions for you and your team to complete:

  1. Review the pro forma financial statements created for your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan, including balance sheet, income statement, and cash-flow statement.
  2. Conduct “what-if analyses” by examining the impact of several revenue growth scenarios on key cash flow and profitability metrics of your business or social enterprise.
  3. Share results with the team and determine if there are any changes to be made in the five-year business plan and financial forecasts.
  4. Evaluate opportunities for improving the liquidity and cash flow of your enterprise, including raising prices to cover the revenue sharing percentage to be offered to women and HeForShe investors.
  5. Incorporate Cash Flow Pressure Test results in your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan.

Coaching Tips:

In his QuickBooks Resource Center article, 3 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Cash Flow, Jimmy Daly writes: “82% of businesses that shut their doors cite a poor understanding of management of cash flow as a primary reason.” And, you’ve learned from the Strategyzer Blog post, Why Companies Fail & How to Prevent It, the top reason investorfunded startups failed in a study of business failure was “running out of cash.”

It is essential you anticipate the positive and negative impact that revenue growth will have on the liquidity and cash flow of your enterprise. Otherwise, you might find the “cash flow roller coaster” to be a stressful ride. As we described in several sections of Gender Wealth Strategy©, growth (especially hyper-growth of 50%+ per year) can negatively impact the ability of your enterprise to forecast and manage cash flow.

Your 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer is built on revenue growth projections that you and your team must deliver on during the five years of scaling-up as well as entire ten-year investment period. One way to stand out from all the other crowdfund investment campaigns is to show prospective investors that you pressure tested the impact of different revenue growth scenarios on key cash flow and profitability metrics.

The LivePlan business planning software will help you quickly perform “what-if” analyses. But you may also benefit from the assistance of an outside financial resource if you do not have access to internal staff. Typically, these professionals will be able to conduct different “what-if” analyses to ensure you and your team are forecasting practical growth targets.

The Pressure Test

The Cash Flow Pressure Test we’d like you and 1–2 other members of your team to conduct is straightforward. You’ve previously identified an average annual revenue growth rate for the ten-year revenue-based investment period. In this test, we’d like you to evaluate what would happen to cash flow and profitability if your revenue declined by that same amount for three consecutive years. Then, do it again by doubling the amount of decline for three consecutive years. And then, one more time.

For example, if you’re projecting a 10% average annual revenue growth for the ten-year investment period, we’d like you to examine what would happen to your cash flow and profitability if revenue growth declined by 10% for three straight years. Then, double this amount to a 20% decline for three straight years. Then, one more time, test a decline of 40% for three straight years.

If you were working in a business or social enterprise during the years 2008–2012, then you will remember the devastating impact the Wall Street Meltdown and Financial Crisis had on businesses and communities in the U.S., Canada, and world. And now, how about the negative short-term and long-term impacts of the Covid-19 global pandemic?

Perhaps you or someone you know may have experienced this “pain” firsthand. As one of the leaders of an impact-driven enterprise, it is incumbent on you to plan for the future – good, bad, or ugly. You and your team must anticipate and be ready for all three scenarios.

On the other side of this Cash Flow Pressure Test, look at doubling your growth projections to 20%, and then 40%, and then 80% for three consecutive years. What happens to the key cash flow and profitability metrics of your enterprise under these scenarios?

Ironically, it’s the unrelenting pressure of growth (especially hyper-growth or growth greater than 50% per year) that causes high-flying enterprises to “crash and burn.”

In their book Growing Pains, Eric Flamholtz, Ph.D. and Yvonne Randle, Ph.D. describe this phenomena and outline solutions to manage the transition of your enterprise from one stage of growth to another. In Module 4 of Business Impact Accelerator, we’ll introduce you to the Paradox of Growth developed by Bain Consulting (“growth creates complexity and complexity kills growth”).

Improving Cash Flow

After completing the Cash Flow Pressure Test, you’ll include and discuss results in the Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan. Before you do that, however, meet with the entire team to review test results. Is there anything in your 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer, five-year Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan, financial forecasts, scaling action plans, or overall strategy that requires revision or adjustment? Are there opportunities to improve the short-term liquidity and cash flow of your enterprise (e.g., raising prices in order to cover the revenue sharing percentage you are planning to offer investors)?

This issue of cash flow management is so critical to achieving your Primary Goal of scaling impact and growing sustainably that we’d like to draw your attention to three websites that will help you improve cash flow and cash flow management practices. The three resources we recommend are:

  1. QuickBooks: click on Support in the main navigation bar and look for Resource Center at the bottom, then click on Cash Flow; a variety of articles, guides, tools, and videos are available free of charge (be sure to check out the article on the Stagger Chart which will help you and your team improve forecasting skills).
  2. Scaling Up: look for Tools in the main navigation bar; then Cash; look for information on The Power of One and CASh (Cash Acceleration Strategies); more information on The Power of One is available in the book Scaling Up and at the Cash Flow Story website.
  3. Cash Flow Story: look for Key Concepts in the main navigation bar.

By conducting these pressure tests and improving the management of cash flow in your enterprise, you will be able to safely afford the revenue sharing percentage in your 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer and reduce pain of the “cash flow roller coaster.”

Review Questions:

Before moving to the Next Step, change coaches should ask these questions:

  1. What did we learn about our financial situation by conducting these “what-if” scenarios?
  2. What steps do we need to take to improve our cash flow and liquidity?
  3. What longer-term actions do we need to consider to ensure we can effectively manage our cash flow under different revenue growth scenarios (positive or negative)?
  4. How is our team and the organization doing on the Change Accelerator Project Dashboard?

Estimated Time:

It will take approximately 4–6 hours (over several sessions) to conduct these Cash Flow Pressure Tests and discuss implications with the entire team.

Featured Certified B Corporation:  

Danone North America and Danone Canada

Recommended Resources:

To learn more about cash flow and financial management, we recommend the following:

To learn more about business plans, and business planning and accounting software, we advise the following:

  • The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan by Tim Berry (check out the Plan As You Go website).
  • LivePlan (look for LivePlan Blog at the bottom of the main menu).
  • QuickBooks (look for Support and QuickBooks Resource Center at the bottom).

We also suggest:

  • The Art of Startup Finance (free 10-part video series from the Kauffman FoundersSchool).
  • Growing Pains: Building Sustainably Successful Organization by Eric G. Flamholtz, Ph.D. and Dr. Yvonne Randle, Ph.D.

Next Step

Confirm Organization Readiness

Activity Description

In this Activity, you and your team will confirm the readiness of your organization for growth, change, and transformation. You’ll do this by completing the Business Transformation Readiness Assessment and creating a Case for Change Story.

Confirming readiness is important because as you learned in Gender Wealth Strategy©, 40–60% of strategic initiatives fail to deliver results and 50% of businesses fail by their fifth year. As one of the leaders of an impact-driven enterprise, it is incumbent on you to assure investors that your organization is ready for investment and ready to deliver sustainable results.

Business Transformation Readiness Assessment will help you diagnose the current health of your business and organization development efforts. Case for Change Story will help you communicate the strategic direction and vision of your business or social enterprise.

Together, these Deliverables will enable you and your team to confirm and improve organization readiness to embark on a ten-year journey of sustainable growth and impact.

Business Transformation Readiness Assessment

Required Materials:

To complete the Business Transformation Readiness Assessment, you will need to visit the TransformationReady website.

To Do List:

There are five actions for you and your team to complete:

  1. Visit the TransformationReady website and review About the Assessment, including sections titled How It Works and What is Business Transformation?
  2. Take the free confidential assessment focused on the readiness of your business or social enterprise to manage change and lead a business transformation initiative.
  3. Open the TransformationReady Results email and review your assessment profile, including a comparison of your scores with averages for various industries in the TransformationReady database.
  4. Print your assessment results directly from the website page or record scores and suggestions for improving your organization’s readiness.
  5. Discuss and analyze results from the Business Transformation Readiness Assessment and incorporate any “next steps” into Scaling Action Plans, Case for Change Story, or other change management activities.

Coaching Tips:

In the military, readiness assessments are a way of life, especially if a combat or support unit is getting ready for deployment. Yet, in many business or social enterprises, leaders and managers often assume that because they are “in charge,” everyone in the organization is ready, willing, and able to move forward on a major strategic initiative or project.

During Mark’s career as a Certified Management Consultant™, he referenced and used this video–“They’re Not Ready”–from the motion picture The Last Samurai to drive home the point about readiness. We won’t tell you what happens in the next scene of this compelling movie and story. Needless to say, it doesn’t turn out very well for the young soldiers when they have their first (and last) encounter with an experienced army of samurai warriors.

To help you avoid this negative result in your enterprise, you and your team have access to the online Business Transformation Readiness Assessment (BTRA) from Emergent Consultants, creators of the Change Accelerator© and Rocket Manager™ platforms. BTRA is a free, confidential assessment that takes five minutes to complete and will help you gauge the health of your current organizational change and transformation efforts. It consists of 30 questions focused in six areas: (1) Governance, (2) Urgency, (3) Sponsorship, (4) Engagement, (5) Alignment and (6) Sustainability.

Visit the TransformationReady website and review About the Assessment and the two sections titled How It Works and What is Business Transformation? Then, click on Take the Free Assessment. You’ll need to enter your name and contact information in order to receive results by email.

In minutes, you’ll receive a TransformationReady Results email with your assessment profile. Open the link and review your scores in each of the six areas. A short analysis is provided for each section with 1–2 suggestions for improving readiness. Scroll down the screen to see how your results compare to average scores from companies in the TransformationReady database. Go ahead and print the web page or record the scores and improvement suggestions prior to meeting with your fellow team members.

Are You Ready?

Next, facilitate a discussion about TransformationReady results with your team. Go around the room and capture scores on a flipchart pad for each individual in each of the six sections of the assessment. Calculate a team average for each section and compare your scores against the averages of companies in the TransformationReady database.

Look for wide variation in scores and if one is found, ask team members for more information (“tell us more”). Use active listening skills to assess if your enterprise is truly ready to move forward in launching the scaling plans in your five-year Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan and/or raising flexible growth capital on a crowdfund investment platform. Do not make the assumption everyone is “on-board” or you may replicate the experience of the young soldiers in The Last Samurai.

Continue to use the BTRA, along with Change Accelerator Phase Health Checks, to gauge the current level of organizational readiness for growth, change, and transformation. Note that “readiness” is not something to be achieved once and forgotten. As you grow 5-10% or more each year during the next decade, expect to see readiness levels increase and decrease. The BTRA and Phase Health Checks will help you recognize “early warning signs” and take proactive action.

Review Questions:

Before moving to the Next Step, ask these questions:

  1. What opportunities do we have for improving our level of readiness for organizational change and business transformation?
  2. Was there a wide variation in our individual assessment results or are we in agreement on our strengths and weaknesses in the six areas of the assessment?
  3. Is this team ready for the changes and transformations that will take place in the next ten years?

Estimated Time:

It will take approximately 1–2 hours for you and your team to complete, discuss results of the Business Transformation Readiness Assessment, and make decisions on “next steps.”

Featured Certified B Corporation:  

King Arthur Flour Company

Recommended Resources:

To learn more about strategic change and transformation, we recommend the following:

  • Emergent Consultants (look for Transformation Resources and a free newsletter, journal, and white papers; Emergent is also the creator of Rocket Manager™, an online management development program we highly recommend.
  • Growing Pains: Building Sustainably Successful Organizations by Eric G. Flamholtz, PhD. and Yvonne Randle, PhD.
  • Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges, PhD. with Susan Bridges.
  • Getting Your Organization to Change: A Guide to Putting Your Strategy into Action by Dennis T. Jaffe, PhD., and Cynthia D. Scott, PhD., MPH.

Next Step

Case for Change Story

Case for Change Story

Required Materials:

To create a Case for Change Story, you will need the Change Accelerator platform plus your Vision Story of Sustainable 10X Impact and Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan.

To Do List:

There are five actions for you and your team to complete:

  1. Download and review the Case for Change tool from the Change Accelerator© Toolkit.
  2. Form a small group of 2–3 team members (including yourself) to develop a draft Case for Change Story.
  3. Review and polish the Case for Change Story and presentation.
  4. Schedule a series of “town hall” meetings with managers and frontline teams to present the Case for Change Story.
  5. Review feedback from these meetings and identify ways to build employee engagement and support for your scaling and growth plans.

Coaching Tips:

In this part of Confirm Organization Readiness, you and your team will build on results from the Business Transformation Readiness Assessment. You’ll create a presentation for other managers and frontline teams to explain the major changes coming to your business or social enterprise.

Without doubt, your managers and employees have taken notice of the work to assess, improve, and plan for the scaling (and potential funding) of your enterprises’ positive impact. It’s now time to share the key elements of your vision and strategy before finalizing scaling plans and launching your crowdfund campaign. You and your team need to realize this activity is more than a one-way series of communications. If you’ve been using the ACT™ Model and Change Accelerator Phase Health Checks, then you know how important it is to prepare people for change. Reference the Business Impact Accelerator Library for the six change infographics if you or team members need a quick reminder.

To start development of your presentation, download and review the Case for Change tool from Change Accelerator©. Next, form a small group of 2–3 team members, and create a Case for Change Story. Follow instructions in the tool and prepare a draft for the entire team to review. Note that much of the Case for Change Story already has been developed in Modules 1–3 of Business Impact Accelerator©,

Be sure to incorporate your Vision Story of Sustainable 10X Impact into the presentation. Discussing the “strategic destination” is important to give your enterprise a sense of direction (remember Proverbs 29:18?). As well, be sure to discuss the upcoming 3X-in-10™ Growth Capital Campaign you’re aiming to launch, including an overview of the benefits of revenue-based growth capital.

This small group can present the Case for Change Story to the entire management or leadership team and ask for feedback and improvement suggestions. Depending on the size of your enterprise, this team might be involved in “cascading” the presentation to their departments and frontline teams. Use the 3:1 rule of thumb for the presentation – three minutes of presentation/discussion for each slide shared. This will provide 45 minutes of presentation with another 15 minutes for questions from employees attending “town hall-style meetings.”

Communicate Honestly and Directly

Be very clear and direct about each of the Case for Change Story elements, especially “expectations.” If you tell employees you want their feedback, then you must be ready to receive that feedback and “close the loop” by following up on each and every suggestion or comment that is provided (whether given in person or provided anonymously).

The Change Accelerator Toolkit has several other tools that may be of benefit in preparing for your presentations:

  • Communications Strategy
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Manager Enrollment Plan

At the conclusion of these meetings, tell employees your door is open to any and all conversations about the changes coming to your business or social enterprise. Be sure to mention you’ll keep them in-the-loop as your crowdfund investment campaign preparations near completion. You may wish to conduct another round of town-hall meetings to review over the specifics of your Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan and 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer, including the do’s and don’ts of advertising and marketing your 3X-in-10™ Growth Capital Campaign to prospective investors (more information on this in the Module 6 Activity titled, Promote 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer).

We do not recommend using a survey after your presentation to assess results. A better approach is to engage directly with employees in small groups or one-to-one. This principle of Management by Walking Around (MBWA) is critical at this early stage of change to assure employees that you and your team will lead them safely through each phase of this ten-year journey of growth, change, and transformation.

Review Questions:

Before moving to the Next Step, ask these questions:

  1. Did we create a realistic and compelling story of our future plans?
  2. Did we make a positive impression and open the doors to ongoing conversations?
  3. Is everyone in our enterprise ready to scale our positive social and environmental impact?

Estimated Time:

It will take approximately 6–8 hours to create, review, and polish your Case for Change Story.

Featured Certified B Corporation: 

Galileo Learning

Recommended Resources:

To learn more about leading change and communicating vision, we recommend the following:

  • “How to Lead Change Management” (YouTube video).
  • Design a Better Business (book and website; look for the 5 Bold Steps Vision® Canvas, Cover Story Vision© Canvas, and Storytelling Canvas).
  • Leading Change by John Kotter.
  • Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter and Holger Rathgerber.
  • Who Killed Change? Solving the Mystery of Leading People Through Change by Ken Blanchard, John Britt, Judd Hoekstra, and Pat Zigarmi.

Next Step

Module Three Review

Module Three Review

Module Three of Business Impact Accelerator focused on these Deliverables and Outcomes:

  • Scaling and Growth Capital Objectives (identify the key results to be achieved during scale-up)
  • Scaling Action Plans (plan the financial and human resources needed to deliver on the scaling objectives)
  • 3X-in-10™ Revenue Sharing Offer (calculate a safe percentage of revenue to share with investors during the ten-year growth capital investment period)
  • Sustainable 10X Impact Business Plan (create a high-quality scaling plan and realistic financial projections to achieve “take-off” and sustainable growth)
  • Cash Flow Pressure Test (examine the impact of different growth scenarios on the cash flow and profitability of your enterprise during the time it takes to reach take-off)
  • Business Transformation Readiness Assessment (diagnose the current health of your business and organization development efforts)
  • Case for Change Story (communicate the strategic direction and vision of your business or social enterprise)

So, how did you and your team do? Were you able to complete all of these deliverables and generate these intended outcomes?

Now, on to Module 4 and Generate Business Impact!

Published by Mark Livingston

Mark Livingston is President of The Social Impact Foundation and creator/author of the WIIN Learning Platform. He is also a Certified Pickleball Coach and Teaching Professional at Coach Mark LLC (www.coach-mark.com).

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