DIY: Engineering Small Business Instructions

Follow these ESB steps to complete the whole project on your own

Resources and tools that constitute your business.

Purpose of the step

Build a strong understanding of what you have and how you utilise it for the business.

Resources and tools for this step

Take your time for observation and analysis. Usually, it takes at least a couple of hours, but if it takes a week there is no problem. You will spend this week understanding your business, and definitely, there is a payoff.

Take notes while you go through this step. The more notes you make, the better. If you hate taking notes, it is a great chance to practice in structuring scattered findings. I’m sure you will like the skill you will develop.

Process to follow

Start from listing what is employed in your business - human resources (people that work for you, partners), IT resources (computers, servers, general and specific software), office appliance and furniture (tables, chairs, printers), equipment, place where your products or services are made and sold from. Your website is also included in this list of resources. 

The last but not the least is the amount of money you can invest in your business - either funds you have on your deposit, or you can attract from others.

Now move to the tools or the way you make this all work for you. How you advertise is your tool (if it is Google Adwords or local radio or TV station, both are your marketing tools). The way you greet customers or how you manage people, how you communicate your advantages to potential customers is also your tool. How you plan your activities, production or service delivery is your tool as well. 

Your findings

Result of this step can be produced in 2 parts. 

The first one is What and Who that your business relates to or is made by or made with. Removing any of these What and Who would definitely make your business weaker. 

The second part is How this all is run. You cannot remove any of these How’s - there is always one or another way you do it.


Seems hard to differentiate resources from tools? If you are sure you use it or you know that without some certain component your business would not be as usual, list it either into resources or tools. Just make sure you have it on your list for further analysis.

Have a question on this step? Send your question below.

Evaluate your plans. Build vision.

Purpose of the step

Understanding what you are going to build

Resources and tools for this step

Some experience in business, or time to narrow down your plans if you have no experience.

Process to follow

If this is the first business in your life, please try to keep this step simple. Put your description into one sentence like ‘I’ll open a shawarma shop’ or 'I will be selling kitchen cabinets'.

That defines how your business will be understood by customers, competitors, employees, and of course, your family. Simplification approach will be quite useful when you would proceed with doing tasks from later stages. 

In case you have your business, your job is simple. Choose among fixing your business, expanding or growing it, or starting a side project. If any of those is true for you, this step will not make any trouble. Define your goal, and let’s move to the next step.

Your findings

Your result should be one sentence and sound like a plan to realize.


It was the most simple step and had to be separated from others because defining your goal is extremely important.

Have a question on this step? Send your question below.

Great minds think alike. Find businesses like yours.

Purpose of the step

Locating businesses of different sizes from the same market niche and identifying their features

Resources and tools for this step

Internet search engines, local classifieds, other offline and online sources. You may use email, phones, messengers to communicate. Also, you may find useful one on one conversations with business owners or employees, customers, partners of sought businesses.

Process to follow

New business starters without experience may find this step extremely complicated. Therefore please start with listing several businesses - up to 20 - in a niche where you would like to build your business. 

For example, if you are about to open a business of installing kitchen cabinets, similar businesses are the ones doing the same in your location or in other locations with probably similar features - similar population, or proximity to larger cities and similar population. Google them by a search keyword, copy and paste their website addresses into a spreadsheet for further data mining. 

For experienced entrepreneurs, this step should find out businesses - among the ones they know and well aware of and had no idea before - competing at the same niche and also find out businesses whose market is in other cities with comparable qualities like population.

Both experienced and inexperienced entrepreneurs should be collecting their findings in a spreadsheet, enter business names into the first column, add the features they found into other columns. 

What type of information should be added to the spreadsheet with similar businesses? Try to find out years in business, number of employees (structure, quality and quantity of workforce), number of products or services offered, office or sales point location (size, type, proximity to major traffic like central streets, places near to bus stations, large malls, etc), annual turnover, number of websites under the same business, marketing and sales resources and tools. 

Your findings

Up to 20 businesses selling the same products or services with a detailed list of features.


Sometimes you may find your business idea unique - it is not a problem. If you did not find any similar business of your desire in your town, you should be expanding your search to other places with comparable characteristics. Please keep in mind - among 7 billion people there are certainly some entrepreneurs doing the same business you want to build. You just have to find them.

Have a question on this step? Send your question below.

Find similarities, and group the businesses

Purpose of the step

Grouping businesses into categories by size.

Resources and tools for this step

Your spreadsheet from the previous step.

Process to follow

Your spreadsheet is your work environment for this step. You have to read the data you collected and categorise the findings. For example, you may find out that some of the found businesses can be attributed to one group according to several features, and the rest of the business will be grouped into another.

Usually, we recommend looking for businesses against size features. For example, you may find businesses of almost the same size as your own business, and some will be 5-10 or more times bigger than yours, some may be smaller 2-5 or more times.

You should have 2 or 3 groups of businesses arranged by size, and you will find interesting that businesses in the same group will also share some other features for the workforce, turnover, and equipment.

Your findings

This is the major part of our method - we call those similarities within size based groups dynamic stability features. It is the quality of the business within a size based group to have similar features of similar or comparable power.


Please pay attention to the difference in size - this is where you should be starting. Size of the business is a combined quality that comprises of annual sales, market share, number of employees, and other features specific to a certain industry.

Have a question on this step? Send your question below.

Build the ideal model of your business

Purpose of the step

Identifying a set of features of an ideal business

Resources and tools for this step

Time, and your analysis from the previous step.

Process to follow

Open your spreadsheet where you have made your analysis for about 20 businesses and made several major groups of them.

Which of these groups is closer to what you have or you are planning to have? For example, there can be 5-7 common features within the group, and your business has most of them. You should find the group you can reach with the least effort - if you are building a new business or fixing an existing one. If you are growing the small business to the next level, there should be 2 groups to look at - the one for stabilizing the business, and the next one - a bigger one - to have in mind.

For instance, your analysis resulted in 3 groups as recommended - micro, small, and midsize entities, and your business is closer to the businesses from the ‘small businesses’ group. You may have fewer groups, it's fine.

Now that you identified the group where you should be heading your business, you should be defining what the common features are for these businesses.

List the qualities you noticed in most of them, or you think are important for this group. Give a row in your spreadsheet as if it is a separate business, name it Exemplary Model, enter the features you identified. 

You do not have to choose the features seen in ALL of the businesses in the group. Choose the qualities found in MOST of them - probably, you may have been unable to find that feature in all of the entities in your analysis.

Your findings

A combined set of qualities for an exemplary model in your industry. The model is good enough to operate in the size category where your business will be upon completing your project.


Though some of the features may seem insignificant, put some effort into collecting them.

Have a question on this step? Send your question below.

What stands between your business and an ideal one.

Purpose of the step

Understanding the gaps between your business and a set of features from Step Five.

Resources and tools for this step

Your spreadsheet and notes you have made analysing businesses

Process to follow

An exemplary model from the previous step is what your business should become as much as possible when you complete re-engineering your small business. To make it happen you need to know what you lack compared to the model. 

Start from the features in the model, compare to the resources and tools from Step One and find the gaps. 

It could be the number of people working for the business, or a website that is different from yours in many ways, or the location in a more - or less - crowded area, or a couple of very experienced salespeople, or a talented engineer, or the number of clients served, or more advanced and/or powerful equipment.

The list of features or qualities is always specific to the industry your business is from, and the set that works for one business does not necessarily work for another.

If you are opening a new business without experience, the result of this step is what you should be creating and collecting to the extent comparable to the exemplary model. 

If you were fixing some issues with your small business, this step will most probably is the answer to what has been wrong.

If you are initiating a new project within a business, this step in particular and ESB in general will save plenty of resources.

Your findings

The results of this step may well serve as a business plan. Unlike business plans, defined gaps are real as well as sample businesses you analysed.


You may find interesting that relying on the industry (niche) specific data and acting upon something that works is less risky than expecting everything would work out just like you dreamed of.

Have a question on this step? Send your question below.

Plan building the business as it should be.

Purpose of the step

Create a plan for filling in the found gaps between the model and your business.

Resources and tools for this step

Comparison results from the previous step, your favourite project management or task tracking tool (or a notebook).

Process to follow

Try to plan how you work on acquiring the necessary resources and tools, give yourself enough time to get everything done. Focus on the purpose of your project, keep in mind that this is a project of building a business with real models to look at.

Use any task tracker or project management tool you know, or you can add your tasks right into an Excel or Google spreadsheet. Set deadlines, start working on the project.

Your plan helps you understand what to do and why you do it, providing a systemic approach to building a small business in a chaotic environment.

Your findings

A realisable project of transforming the small business into the exemplary model or for creating a new business.

Have a question on this step? Send your question below.

ESB In Use: Some Sample Tasks

How Tasks From Your Plan May Look Like

Once you complete ESB planning process, you will have series of task within the project.
We have brought some examples for how these tasks may look like. 

We have created a model out of sample businesses in 5 cities from 2 countries. Our analysis included 17 businesses, 3 of them were close enough by the total amount of investments that our client can afford.

Project: Opening a middle-class furniture showroom in a city with about 2 mln population. No direct sales, only home decoration projects based. No similar businesses in the same city.

Sample tasks from the project: showroom location, brands presented, website structure, partner activities, organisational structure, Google Ads and Yandex Direct settings.

A model of this business was made out of sample businesses in the same city. Unfortunately, we were invited when the peat-based soil production equipment had already been here. Nevertheless, we managed to plan the rest of the transformation process.

Project: Opening a peat-based soil production facility in a city with 12 mln population. Retail and wholesale. Delivery. Up to 10 direct competitors.

Sample tasks from the project: the number of trucks of specific volumes, website structure, Yandex Direct settings, sales automation.

This model was made out of sample businesses in 4 cities from 3 countries. Our analysis included 10 martial arts centers, 3 of them were found to have the same amount of resources.

Project: Fixing a business of the martial arts coach in a district with 150K population of the city with 10 mln population.

Sample tasks from the project: training frequency and length, number of disciplines, number of coaches, new client categories, major marketing channels.

We created the model for this business out of sample businesses in 3 cities from 2 countries. Our analysis included 20 design studios, 4 of them became the basis for building the exemplary model.

Project: Transforming an ultra-small business to small business for a freelance designer living in a city with 2 mln population. Several subsidiaries of internationally well-known companies, about 50 local competitors of the same size.

Sample tasks from the project: sales department, sales and marketing activities, office location, product mix, hiring plan, bank loan

ESB Worksheet: Steps With Sample Data

The Way You Work With Data During The Project

Step One Sheet

A sheet for Resource and Tool analysis for your project with sample data

Step Three Sheet

A sheet for data collection on similar businesses with sample data

Step Five Sheet

A sheet for creating an exemplary model with sample data

Step Six Sheet

A sheet for defining gaps between the business and model with sample data

Still unsure you're doing it right?

If you have initiated ESB analysis for your project or existing business but you fee you still have too many questions, please book a free consultation.

You should keep in mind there can be no discussion without an appropriate understanding of the method, therefore please be so kind to fill out the worksheet for steps 1 to 6 - this is the only requirement for us to guarantee we have mutually available knowledge of your situation.

Please move all of your findings and analysis you have made so far into the worksheet and email it. We’ll get back to you within 24 hrs with a unique booking link where you can choose a convenient time slot for yourself.

Briefly, the process looks as follows:

  1. Fill in the worksheet with data
  2. Email the worksheet as instructed at Contacts
  3. Receive a link within 24 hrs
  4. Visit an online meeting
Engineering Small Business by Bakhtiyor Khuja

©2009 - 2020 IP Khujaev | Registered as Individual Business Owner Under RegID 310774609801381

Disclaimer of Liability

Engineering small business method and its components are provided as is, without author's responsiblity and/or liability for unauthorized use of ESB and its components.

ESB Method

Engineering Small Business by Bakhtiyor Khuja or ESB is the first systemic approach to small business development based on real life examples from specific niche.

ESB Worksheet

A worksheet with steps and sample data included for you to go through the ESB project