9 Experts Reveal Their Best Business Plan Creation Secrets!
When I first entered the world of entrepreneurship, I was a little taken-aback by the idea of creating a business plan. For someone who identifies with the right-brain, creativity-bursting, papers scattered, and artistic type, it was so hard for me sit down and actually crunch out a left-brained, Excel-rigid, and wholly official business plan.
Then I attended a woman’s entrepreneur event for the most successful business ladies in Orange County, California (I’m not saying I was one of the most successful ladies there…I certainly wasn’t, but I definitely wanted to learn from them)!
Five ladies gathered up on the stage and were asked by our host what their business plan process entailed.
Almost all of them said that they had not created a business plan when they first started their businesses.
I was shocked. Looking around, I knew I wasn’t the only one. But then, as each of these ladies spoke up on that stage, it dawned on me: They all DID have business plans when they first started out, but these business plans just didn’t look like the official, boring templates you can find through any Google search. Their business plans were composed of vision boards, mind maps, goals written down on restaurant napkins, journal entries, etc. They didn’t follow the protocol and create plans that they’d probably never look at–they created plans that fit who they were and their lifestyle. But because they didn’t look like the standard legal business plan, these women never thought they had created business plans!
It was a valuable lesson, and it made me wonder: How do other creative business owners write their business plans? So I asked them (these tips are GOLD):
1. My “business plan” is a 1-page Mind Map. (And it totally works for me and keeps me focused and inspired and energized. It’s taped to the wall next to my desk.)
–Cara Gubbins, www.caragubbins.com
2. When creating your business plan, include time-out, play-time & time for Self-Care strategies in your business plan from the start. After all, the freedom to create your OWN business is a beautiful thing.
— Elena Lipson, Your Divine Self-Care Mentor, www.elenalipson.com
3. I like setting an income goal and then reverse-engineering: figure out what I have to create and how many and which products I need to sell to achieve my goal. Of course you can (and should) adapt along the way. Like with any plan. But this way I get uber-clear on what needs to be done and I also prove to myself that there IS a way to reach any goal. Then I go and make it happen
–Hannah Mang, www.hannahmang.com
4. I’m a big fan of creating a strategic plan – – you focus on where you want to BE in 5, 10, 15 years and then figure out where – and who – you need to be now so that those those goals become a reality.
–Krista Lang Martin, www.kristamartin.com
5. Set your sales goals and be willing to adjust. Very often when we are planning things, we are in “our heads”. But once you get out to the market and start talking to people, you might need to be open to some serious readjustments. And that’s fine! Just go in from the beginning knowing that you might have to tweak it and be open to the change.
–Malla Haridat, www.mallaharidat.com
6. Instead of thinking of your business plan as one large document, think of it as a small chain of documents that will help you as you build the business, and help others (e.g., potential funders) get what you do. This keeps it from being overwhelming.
–Erica Noelle Duncan, www.the-pathfinder-program.com
7. I like to meditate and channel the info after creating the end result I want. So I start by creating a clear end-goal, then meditate on the hows, write ’em down, set up ’em up in my calendar, and knock ’em out one at a time. Then I enjoy a cup of coffee.
–Erin Ashley Kerti, www.spiritualmechanic.com
8. I used to do the old fashioned word document, but have moved to using evernote. This allows me to have it with me at all times, make it an actual working document and then break it out into revenue sources!
–Andrea Travillian, http://www.takeasmartstep.com
9. A business plan needs to work for you. If you aren’t going to submit it for financial backing, then create the best possible motivation plan for yourself. Even if you have a legal business plan, create another one just for yourself. Add pictures as you would to a visualization board, use markers, use the computer, add quotes, and above all, review it every month. A business plan is not separate from the rest of your life; it is PART of your life and therefore, has to fit in with who you are. If you’re a creative type, a standard, legal business plan won’t motivate you.
–Sophie Chantal Boselly, www.sophieboselly.com
Which tip do you like best? What are your tips for me? Share them in the comments section below!