Venture Anatomy: A Systems Framework

The Venture Anatomy framework helps you see the big picture and understand all the different parts of business-type ventures, from "regular" Main Street-type businesses, to creative and artistic endeavors, nonprofits and community initiatives, and more.

Venture Anatomy

Staff
management

dots

Production

Distribution

Marketing

Promotions

Customers

Point of Sale

Social, email, ads

Product /
Service

Concept Design Pricing Budgets

Outside
funding

Financial
management

$

Profits

Overhead

+

Customer
Support

!

Customer
Feedback

Click on the pipelines to turn the flows on or off (it takes a second for them to start). Click on "outside funding" to show non-earned infusions of cash to your business.

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What Is Venture Anatomy?

Venture Anatomy is a method for developing organizational structure, based on an understanding of the functional moving parts — the systems — underlying all successful ventures. When you understand this basic anatomy, you’ll be able to see which systems should be a priority at any given time and can shift your resources accordingly.

The Venture Anatomy method is well-suited to small, independent enterprises, including creative projects, pop-ups and nonprofits. It is essentially a framework for any project that aims to connect with an audience and engage in transactions of information, money, goods, or other exchanges.

How to Use Venture Anatomy

This approach starts with understanding the systems at work in a well-functioning venture. At the outset, it’s less about absorbing rules for what you should do, and more about recognizing these “laws of nature” for typical enterprises.

Once you have an understanding of this conceptual basic anatomy, the next step is to start building the business model for your venture. You’ll outline functional groupings of tasks towards defined outcomes, and specify who in your business will be responsible for those tasks. These groupings could be called Teams, Departments, Groups or other names.

The Venture Anatomy method is also helpful when designing and developing collaborations and partnerships. Developing a common understanding of the typical moving parts of a venture allows the partners to divide responsibilities more effectively and focus on the systems where they have the strongest capabilities.

Venture Anatomy For Teams of One

In many cases, there may be just one person responsible: you. That’s fine and super common, especially in the early days of your venture. Even if all the systems are handled by you, you’ll benefit from learning the Venture Anatomy system in a number of ways:

  • You’ll have a clearer sense of what your goals are for specific activities, helping with efficiency and mental overwhelm.
  • You’ll be able to solve problems more effectively by knowing which systems are experiencing the pain points.
  • You’ll position yourself to be ready to hire help and be an effective manager.

Other Resources

Want to learn more about using Venture Anatomy to develop your business or strategic plan? An online course will be available in Spring 2024. Sign up to be notified when course registration opens.

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