or if you’re here for the first time, then just Welcome!
In my last post, I talked about what a business plan is, and why you need one if you want to run your own business as an Artist… or rather, as a Productive Artist.
A business plan has to be about more than just a nice blank sheet of paper to jot your thoughts and ideas down on. It has to take you on a journey, and ask you the tough but stimulating questions you need to be able to answer in order to create a Productive business. That’s essentially what I will help you do in my upcoming book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan.
Think of it in terms of having a strong foundation for your house before you start building. You need to have a strong business foundation before you can build it into a success.
You need to lay down the building blocks, brick by brick, in the order that gives the next brick the best chance of sticking down after it. That’s why I’ve constructed a simple step-by-step process, a guided journey through my signature Seven Questions that you must be able to answer in order to build a Productive business that is fulfilling for both you and your customers. These Questions, or “Quests” on your journey, make up the very backbone and structure of my upcoming book, which will walk you through each of them in turn, as follows:
Quest 1: What Is It?
Before you can figure out the “who” or the “how,” you need to know the “what” – what your offerings (i.e. your products or services) will be. What do you want to create and contribute to the world? And what customer needs or problems do you want to solve with them?
Quest 2: Who Else Is Selling It?
Once you know what you are selling, you can identify who your competitors are – who is in the same corner of your market, or selling similar products/services, or filling the same customer demand – and dig into them to understand your whole target market and what competitive advantages you have.
Quest 3: Who Will Buy It?
Knowing who else is offering a similar product/service will lead you to better identify who your target customers are, who are looking for that very product/service. You’ll want to get really specific on who they are, and their preferences and purchasing habits, so you understand how best to market your offerings for their benefit.
Quest 4: Who Will Help You Build It?
Once you know what you’ll be building and if it’s worth building, you can figure out the best process for building it – and identify who you will need on your team to help you make your dream business a reality.
Quest 5: What Will It Cost?
Once you know what you’ll be building and how you’ll be building it, you can break down the costs of building it all – your business as well as the production, marketing and distribution of each of your offerings. This Quest requires just as much creativity to envision and forecast the most cost effective way to achieve your ideal results.
Quest 6: What Is It Worth?
Once you know how much it all will cost you, it’s time to realize what it’s all worth – to you as well as to your customers and the market. This means developing your pricing strategy for your offerings, as well as identifying your mission and vision as a creative entrepreneur, and what your definition and goals for success are.
And last but not least, Quest 7: How Will You Achieve It?
Frankly this Quest is the most important, and often absent, part of the business planning process. By this step, you’ll have a complete plan for your business. But now you need to actually put that plan into action and make it happen. So this Quest is about laying out your Action Plan with actionable, measurable steps that will help you achieve the success you envision and reach the goals you’ve set for yourself, so that you can hit the ground running.
And there you have them – my simple yet indomitable Seven Questions, or Quests, that will lead you to entrepreneurial success as a Productive Artist.
Do those sound doable to you? Does writing a business plan now seem (perhaps even a little) less intimidating and more worthwhile?
I’d love to hear what you think about this business planning process I’ve designed, and the journey I hope to take you all on with my impending book. So please comment below and tell me how this all sounds to you, if you have ideas on how to make it better, or if you still have unanswered questions burning in your mind. Then subscribe to my email list, and get ready for the release of my Business Plan book coming in less than two months!