This is a guest post from Jessica Oman.
You’ve probably read more articles on how to turn your creative passion into a business than you can count. With all of this new knowledge, you’re feeling inspired to build a company out of what used to be a hobby – and show anyone who says art can’t be profitable that your business can thrive.
Even if your goals are clear in your own mind, you’ll struggle to reach them without creating a roadmap. For most entrepreneurs, that roadmap takes the form of a business plan.
Now a business plan doesn’t need to be that text-heavy chart-stuffed brick that sits on the corner of a corporate executive’s desk. It can be a vision board, a collage, a flow chart – whatever medium makes it most likely that you’ll return to it, read it, revise it and update it as often as you need to.
With a business plan that’s as creative and compelling as the art you produce, the starving artist mentality can be a thing of the past. Here are five ways a business plan can help your creative company succeed.
- A plan helps you put a value on what you produce. Too many artists and creative folk undervalue their work – and ultimately, their time. A business plan can show you what your company will effectively earn per hour for each piece you sell. This helps you figure out how much you need to produce to reach your income goals. If you have to work 110 hours a week to make a living…you need to raise your prices.
- Business plans make you accountable. Good ones do, anyway. If your business plan outlines clear, specific goals and objectives for your business, it becomes an amazing reference tool that you can go back to and revise as often as needed. A business plan can be a reminder of where you want to take this great little company you’ve created. And a kick in the butt when you start going off track.
- Planning gives you clarity about your vision. Running a business is hard work, and sometimes it gets overwhelming. When you feel like giving up, reviewing your plan using your company’s vision statement as a focus point can be really revitalizing.
- The plan keeps your business resources in one place. Losing track of your ideal customer? Re-read your market analysis. Not sure if your company broke even last month? Check your projections. Can you afford to hire a bookkeeper? Review your cost assumptions. They’re all there in the plan where they’re easy to update.
- Business plans remind you who you want to sell to. You’re building a business around your perfect customer. Not the person who “likes art” but doesn’t see why they should pay for yours. Not the bargain hunter who forgets to appreciate your skill. These people cloud your vision. If your plan defines your ideal customer clearly, re-reading that description will help you stay focused on your goals and see through the “customer clutter”.
Planning isn’t sexy, but the results it produces are. So, to get the most out of the work you’re putting in – and put the naysayers at rest once and for all – you do need a great business plan to guide you. Have you created yours?
If you haven’t written a business plan before, Jessica Oman and her company Write Ahead will help you. She’s a business plan writer, consultant, and trainer for entrepreneurs everywhere. Her free checklists for business launch and growth will help your company get from ‘idea’ to ‘open’ in record time – and you can grab those here.