Where Science Meets Art

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The entrepreneur brings the art, and LDA brings the science

Is entrepreneurship an art or a science? Is it nature or is it nurture? And does it really matter? There is much written about these questions and you would be right to say no one has the exact answer. It does matter though. It matters because an entrepreneur needs to back up their instinct with facts, analysis and a business-specific strategy. If you look at the reasons startups fail only 5% cite burn-out or lack of passion. The other reasons are business-based; they can be overcome by the science of creating and managing a business, not just by the art of ‘thinking outside the box’.

LDA’s approach is to bring together three key elements to provide a rich environment within which the entrepreneur can create, manage and scale their business. These three elements are: knowledge, strategy and people. The diagram below shows how the LDA platform uses iPlaybooks to deliver knowledge and people (Associates) to the development of a business-specific strategy.


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In sport a Playbook contains all the possible plays and strategies used by a team. Each play is honed to perfection. They are proven and they are repeatable. Each play executes part of the goal of the Playbook, namely to win. Business has taken this concept and applied the principles of ‘proven and repeatable’ to everything from marketing to innovation.

LDA and our Associates use the same principles to create interactive Playbooks that link together learning and doing. Build knowledge, learn from proven methodologies, and implement that knowledge to create and execute a business strategy based on much more than a “good idea”.

I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.

Confucius 551 to 479 B.C.E

How the LDA Solution works

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The illustration above shows the online environment we have created for entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur builds their business knowledge via the Knowledge Bank and the Skills & Operational iPlaybooks. This new knowledge feeds into the Business Master iPlaybook, where our Associates guide the entrepreneur through the stages of creating and executing a strategy specific to their business venture idea. Our Associates further support the entrepreneur through the ongoing management of the business if needed.

The Business Master Playbook

This is where knowledge, strategy and people come together. This is doing. The Business Master Playbook creates a unique business strategy using five key interactive playbooks that the entrepreneur works through for their specific business.

The entrepreneur can work alone or they can call on Associates to guide them through the process. They can also bring Associates into their planning to assist with specific areas, such as industry knowledge, scoping the market or developing a winning business model. The right people at the right time. What you need, when you need it.


Business opportunities are either found or they are made. Entrepreneurs will focus on solving a need or creating a new need from unseen possibilities. Either way all the passion in the world won’t make someone successful unless they can capture and exploit the opportunities in their chosen field.

LDA’s Opportunity iPlaybook enables the entrepreneur to answer three important questions - is the market attractive; is the industry attractive; and can we deliver? This is about the size of the market but it is also about the environment that affects that market; factors such as technology, regulation and social trends are just as important as “is the market big enough” Working through the Opportunity iPlaybook you will research your chosen market in a way that brings a breadth and depth of clarity to the nuances that affect your market. Armed with this knowledge you develop a strategy to maximise the market opportunity as you continue through the Master Playbook iPlaybooks. 

And remember, our Associates can guide you through the Opportunity iPlaybook step-by-step or they can help you with specific areas of the iPlaybook. What you need, when you need it. 

Ability is nothing without opportunity

Anonymous (often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte)

Ideas & Testing

With the opportunity clearly defined the entrepreneur needs to turn their idea into a product that exploits that opportunity. Don’t assume because you think it’s a good idea the potential market will feel the same way. Remember, 35% of startups in the UK fail because the market does not want or need their product. Here the entrepreneur is focused on customer development and customer validation. Using the market to test and develop the product that will capture an opportunity to its fullest.

LDA’s Ideas & Testing iPlaybook centres around the concept that startups are not smaller versions of large companies but instead something that exists to find a repeatable and scalable business model; so you can grow your business and become a large company. A business model basically describes how a company makes money, for a startup this model needs to focus on repetition and scale. The key to this is the customer and the product. This iPlaybook will enable you to discover who your customer really is or should be; validate your product with that customer; create customer demand and finally plan to transition your startup to a scalable business. This level of focus will save you from becoming one of the 35% of startups in the UK that fail because the market does not want or need their product.Good hey?

And remember, our Associates can guide you through the Ideas & Testing iPlaybook step-by-step or they can help you with specific areas of the iPlaybook. What you need, when you need it. 

You win by trying. And failing. Test, try, fail, measure, evolve, repeat, persist….

Seth Godwin - Entrepreneur and Author

Business Model

With the opportunity defined and a valued product developed the entrepreneur needs to understand how to penetrate the market in a repeatable and scalable way. Get this wrong and competitors will leapfrog a superior product because they have the channels to market sewn up or their cost structure honed.

LDA’s Business Model iPlaybook takes you through how to map nine areas that make up a business model - customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners and cost structures. Remember the business model is about how you make money; and there is never just one way to do that. All of the areas you look at will have multiple solutions. What you are aiming to do is find the unique combination that will unlock your business potential and enable you to outcompete others in your market. 

And remember, our Associates can guide you through the Business Model iPlaybook step-by-step or they can help you with specific areas of the iPlaybook. What you need, when you need it. 

Startups don't fail because they lack a product; they fail because they lack customers and a profitable business model.

Steve Blank - Entrepreneur and leader in the Lean Startup Movement

Acquire Resources

In the end it all comes down to money, right? Wrong. It comes down to  phased business development planning that attracts investment based on results. In other words ‘working within your means’. This approach allows the entrepreneur to work within their current means whilst also demonstrating a clear return-on-investment model that attracts future resources before they are critical to the operation and scaling of the business.

LDA’s Acquire Resources iPlaybook will help you look at ‘resources’ in a different way. You are a huge resource - who you know, what you know and what you can do are potentially your key startup resources. Of course we will look at money but in a way that keeps to the core principle of ‘what you need, when you need it’. Planning the phases of your startups’ development using our iPlaybok means you can map your future resource needs onto the results you intend to achieve. 

And remember, our Associates can guide you through the Acquire Resources iPlaybook step-by-step or they can help you with specific areas of the iPlaybook. What you need, when you need it. 

Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors.

Chris Dixon - Internet entrepreneur and investor

Manage & Execute

Get the management of the business wrong and ‘execution’ could be more gallows than glory. Here the entrepreneur needs to create user demand whilst building the structure most suited to fulfilling it. This is about people, strategy and operations. What people will you need and when? What will your internal and external processes look like? How will you measure business performance? What sort of culture do you want to create?

LDA’s Manage & Execute iPlaybook will enable you to answer these questions, and many more. The manage and execute phase is where a lot of startups can come undone. Imagine you are an online footwear retailer but you have no policies or processes in place to manage customer returns. You will soon find yourself with unhappy customers that are unlikely to return. Now imagine the same company but with a 30-day returns policy, free returns and curated product suggestions based on a customer’s self-selected profile. Here we have happy returning customers, selected by you during the Ideas & Testing phase, that fit with your business strategy. This iPlaybook will help you feed all of the strategic plans you have made during the previous phases into operational plans that fit, from company vision to customer relationship management. 

And remember, our Associates can guide you through the Manage & Execute iPlaybook step-by-step or they can help you with specific areas of the iPlaybook. What you need, when you need it.

No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder
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Skills & Operational Playbooks

These Playbooks are designed to be digested as and when needed. They focus on business processes, falling into three main categories - operating, managing and supporting a business. As such they cover a vast range of topics, from social-media planning to legal business structures.

They are concerned with the day-to-day running of a business and its future; once there is a business strategy built on the robust framework provided in the Business Master Playbook, the entrepreneur must ensure the business has the elements needed to execute the strategy, and continuously evaluate and adapt the strategy as the business grows.

Knowledge Banks

Think of knowledge banks as a curated internet. Want to know how to find and select an accountant that understands startups, or perhaps what export regulations exist in Vietnam? The knowledge banks have the answers, and no one will have to spend hours trying to find them or disappear down online-rabbit-holes.

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When you bring together the knowledge, strategy and people that we provide, and combine it with the passion, perception and creativity that comes with being an entrepreneur, a formidable business can be created.


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