Creating a business plan may seem like overkill, or just really boring, when you are running a small creative business. You think business plans are only for big businesses or flashy startups looking for investors and loans and whatnot.
It is true, a business plan is mandatory if you want investors to take interest in your business or when you are planning to approach a bank for a loan. Often, when you research business plans, the concentration really is in finances. However, that's not the only reason you need a business plan.
A business plan is an important strategic guideline of a business. It describes the future of your business, but also what's going on with your business right now. It helps with tracking your goals and finances. With a business plan you can figure out if your business or business skills are missing something.
Just like any other business, a small creative business needs a business plan. Doesn't matter if you run your business yourself, or if your business is just a little side thing, a business plan is extremely beneficial. It gives you clarity.
It helps you to keep your business going towards the direction you want. It also shows the weaknesses and strengths of your business, marketing, products and operations. Creating a business plan gives you an idea of what sort of a business you are running. When you dig into your business, it may surprise you.
If you have trouble with coming up with an actual business idea, toying around with a business plan can help with that too.
A well made business plan can help you find your focus, achieve goals, and aid at making your creative business thrive. It can help you understand your own business reasons and needs. It helps you at the times when you don't know what you are doing and why you are doing it. To remind you why you started this thing in the first place.
A small creative business plan doesn't have to be overly complicated. It can concentrate on things that are the most important in your business, not the things everyone else think are important.
Those things include, but are not limited to, description of what your business does and reason why your business and products exist, your values, an analysis of your target group and competition, description of your products, a marketing plan, plan of operations (such as where you conduct your business and what kind of resources you need), and financial plan.
Admittedly, most business plan templates and formats are a tad boring and cold. They are meant for very serious businesses and very serious business people. They don't have a very creative look and feel. That can be off-putting for a creative person like you.
Luckily your creative business plan doesn't have to be so stiff and formal. Especially if you are just making it for yourself, it can be in a more unofficial format and style. You can include things that you wouldn't necessarily include in a business plan you would present to investors or in a bank. You can make it look prettier and more creative.
It could include your business or brand manifesto too. Obviously, this depends on your manifesto. But a short and on point sort of manifesto could be part of your business plan, in some cases even the more formal type.
Writing a business plan doesn't have to be boring or unpleasant. As with marketing in general, you can think of creating a business plan as part of your creative process. You can use something like Creative Business Strategy Workbook to make business planning feel more pleasant and creative.
This workbook includes important questions about your creative business, and also a some about your strengths, motivations, values and more. It can even work as your own little informal creative business plan.
In time your business plans, as your creative business and yourself, evolves. A business plan is not meant to be something that's set in stone. It's recommended to dive back into your business plan, and perhaps create a completely new one periodically.
No matter what way you approach creating your business plan, don't overthink it and simplify everything.
Remember, your creative business plan is for you to find clarity and help understand your business better.