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Powerful Business Planning

Lesson 2 of 20

Business Idea Considerations

Barbara Findlay Schenck

Powerful Business Planning

Barbara Findlay Schenck

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Lesson Info

2. Business Idea Considerations

Lesson Info

Business Idea Considerations

Where ideas come from who here is still developing an idea okay, so two out of four people in the audience are still developing an idea my guess is that probably carries through because I've learned this about small business whatever one is facing in fact others facing whatever an audience is facing that's pretty much what the arena is facing what idea are you working on? I'm working on an idea that combines a portrait round I'm a photographer office so that combines portrait and art I would like to work with women who have survived breast cancer and um create a book for them that's a testament to their transformational journey and that would be through porches, portraiture of them and their families and working in my plant pattern designs also so that element of the art and having to her three packages that the women could choose from how far along is this idea this is in its infancy so I got the idea maybe a month ago then this is perfect timing this is perfect timing and if I unders...

tand it right from reading your website and I read a lot it's not that your website didn't communicate clearly it's that I may not have been printed completely you take plant parts and almost deconstruct them and turn them into art ok ok good and so that would be so it does tie to your existing business yes it does because this is something I want to talk about along the way and that is sometimes people have a business that's doing ok or at least has the potential to do okay and the next thing they open another business and really what they do is cannibalize their first business and so what you want to do is be sure that what you're opening either fits into the arena of the business you have or it really is capable of standing on its own because the last thing you want to do is break what isn't broken to create a new idea that may or may not fly your business idea well I have a small business that is called our beauty dot us and it's uh but it needs to grow and I need to figure out where to put my energies uh in the past sometimes I've been overwhelmed by the combination of hobby and business and giving over eighty hours a week to amazing projects and things that I wouldn't take back but it going forward I would like tio they continue to be in a cash positive situation when you say it needs to grow financially or because opportune I think it actually needs a focus like it needs to be I need to understand what what I want to do with it business planning good for you okay, so there's an example of people with really good ideas that need to do the testing do the feasibility do the financial projections and then do the testing which we're going to talk which is to go out and talk to customers talk to skeptics talk to people who are willing to not just say cool idea, which is what friends say but who are willing to actually put their you know, let you know will they buy it? We'll talk about that where ideas come from, they come from customers that's probably the number one idea that where places come from, you know, were dumped for dummies there was a man clear back I really don't know when the brand started, but he was in a bookstore and he heard someone looking at all the computer books and said, I just wish there was a dos for dummies and he wrote it he wrote dos for dummies and a group called I d g published hungry minds was the first one hungry minds published it and bookstores didn't even want to carry it because they thought it was disparaging to the customer and publisher convinced bookstores. But it came from a customer and it really resonated with customers it's for smart people who are dumb in a topic who consider themselves dumb in a topic and want to know that the book they're buying assumes they have no knowledge but it came from customers comes from opportunities created by change by improving on established ideas a lot of businesses, in fact are iterations of established ideas but not just bills and whistle iterations but true value added generations um by transforming or adapting existing solutions probably the ipad ipod fits into one of the's too that there were music cassettes and there were mobile devices and all of a sudden they came together like that's this one combining solutions into new offerings by transplanting ideas from a different marketplace I considered in the book my wonderful co authors give the example of top is restaurants I mean that's a total transplant somebody was in spain and said this is cool and the next thing you knew they came here now not every idea transplants you have to really do your research to make sure but transplanting is a wonderful way to dio anew because that's where ideas come from what makes an idea good is it addresses a want nader point of pain and that's what, for instance with the book for breast cancer survivors you really need to work with one of the things that's does it really it would be a wonderful creative product. The question is does it address a real consumer need? Will they really want it? And I'm not no judgment here it's just the first thing you need to decide want neither point of pain and and, you know used to be people just said want need need what need? Does it address? But I wrote a wonderful book called why we by which I love by paco underhill and he talks in it if, in today's economy, economy people bought on ly what they need, the economy would collapse, we now really solve wants we saw want address points of pain, so make sure that you really there is a want out there or need make sure it offers something new or meaningful e different otherwise, I call it a me too offering the on ly way of me to offering works is to be so heavily marketed, an expensive proposition that it bumps the existing solution out of the way, or to be cheaper to back breaking budget breaking propositions. So you really want something that's meaningful, lee different? Not just different a chicken jumping out of a box in a conference room is different, but it's not meaningfully different, so you want something meaningful different? Can it generate sales and profits? And, boy, you really have to give some thought that this one and does it sync with your interest missions, mission strength and image? Because if it doesn't sink with your image, you're really into a second business if if what people believe about you isn't elastic enough to have them think, ah hah she's now offering that, then then you're starting yet another business, and as one who wrote branding for dummies, I'll tell you, building one brandis hard building two brands is even harder procter and gamble that does it because there are branding company, and they have staffs of people that know how to brand. But for most people, building one brand is hard enough because when you're even building one business brand, in fact, you're building two brands because you still got your own brand. I've got big, strong and I've got my own name and I have to manage them both don't ask me to start a third business so here's, the real test and you standing up on stage. Brigitte, you said this it's, really? How do I turn this passion into profitability? Not because she's materialistic her passion, in fact, is the opposite of materialistic, but because she knows that to be successful for those she's trying to serve, she needs to have her business survive, and it will not survive if it runs out of money or doesn't make money, or she's giving it all away for free to the point that she breaks down one way or another. So a great business idea converts passion to profitability business idea considerations you have to know, what is your idea? Is it a business? Is that a product is in a new marketing area a sales channel a strategy sometimes that's the idea for the business plan we are going to take this whole product and put it online. Bridget and I have talked about her moving from not moving from her studio but in fact offering some products that could be become training products that replicate her offering far outside of her studio my saying it right and therefore her in some ways becomes a new sales channel in some ways it becomes a product of sales channel and a strategy so and other times it's just a brand new idea yours might be a product idea but what is that idea you're working with? How does or will it make money and how much who are the target customers and how will you reach them if they're difficult to reach when we had the ad agency of ike tell you how many well meaning clients would say you know who you guys should pitch, you should pitch so and so and you look and you go serving that client would be so cumbersome and they're not going to want I mean what we're going to be to use a bad term spitting in the wind I mean because they're in the back the backlash on it is not going to be easy they're going to understand we're not convenient to them so can you reach them what resource is will you need? Well, you need a different location when you need staff. Will you need equipment when you need other and other? I was going to put funding. But then I thought let's put it on is its own. What expenses will you incur? And can you afford that? You have to put your business through those tests. You have to ask how long before revenues will cover expenses. And where will that interim funding come from? Is the idea profitable? And scaleable? Does the idea aligned well with your strengths, does he, uh, idea line well with your mission with market interests. And are you enthusiastic about the idea? So, tara, what would you say? Your ideas come up? Do you want to go through this whole exercise with, make sure. So what would you say? Innocence. And I know this is catching you off guard, but you've been thinking about it. So what is my idea? My idea is to provide a tangible product, two survivors of breast cancer that will give them acknowledgement and a gift. Ok, and will it make money? I don't know. Um, I need to see if obviously how much I need to charge and how much they're willing to pay how much? They're willing to pay okay you know who your target stores are they would they only be within your area I think I will start with that I think there's a lot of breast cancer survivors here okay so you would have to do the research though to make sure how many in fact not breast cancer survivors but breast cancer um patients because you want to keep some as they're going through before they move the servant to the survivor categories that are not necessarily I actually want to document visually there their journey through the whole thing through an interview process okay so you need to get those numbers and it sounds boring but you need to get those numbers to make sure that there are enough of them because of very very small percentage in fact we'll convert and okay what resource is will you need um I will need a studio space I don't have one now and no ok I will need a hair and makeup people um and I will need a a book publisher that it's fairly easy to come by in fact though these are individual books you they are and expenses you're gonna have to work that out how long before the's air the questions you're gonna have to answer because each of these books is a one time sale yes there's no repeat business there's referral but no repeat business in this arena um is the idea scaleable you think about that unless you start a business doing this then it's just you doing it? Yes, and probably wanted a time yes. And what do you do now with the time you would be doing right now I'm developing new designs, new work and my plan and does that sell and make money? It does give the hospitals and could you keep doing that while you do this? Yes, there are only eight hours of that that's true? Yes, actually that's a good question and I also have a four year old. Okay, so do you see how this works though you have divorce yourself to these questions doesn't align well with your strength? Yes, if I could've answered meth, um doesn't align well with your mission. Yes, yes. Doesn't line well with market interest. Have you talked to consumers? Not yet. Not consumers. What a horrible way to put it in patients are recipients of your love in this project. But are you enthusiastic? Yes. Okay, so these two you're sure of there are a lot of question marks and really that's where the work needs to be done before you settle on an ideal warren, does this sound like the kind of thing you work walk through people through? Yeah, I mean, one of the things that you mentioned at the beginning is you know, and this is the first question I always ask to go to a customer is what, what, what you're playing, what your goals, what do you want to achieve? You know, within the next six to twelve months of your business? Because then that helps that they could guide the discussion in terms of the direction you want to go, what you want to prioritize and how you want to develop the business, and I think something else that barbara mentioned and analyzed with what regime mentioned when she was on stage, you talk about the limitation of time, and they're being only eight hours in the day, and in your yoga studio, you do one on one that's, not a very good use of your time. If you do group sessions that's, a better use of your time, you do video, you have a much larger audience, and then you're studying toe leverage your time, so robbers livers your time through her, her classes here to her books. So it's looking for those residual income streams? So if you do have a child, or if you do have some other commitments above and beyond your job, you're still getting paid, even though you're not doing the actual work for you if you want, I think a tool kit, like a similar to how in the dummies books, there's, a tool kit and dvd where people can put together their own archives, I feel like people these days get really confused about their archaeology with photos, especially in this particular generation right now, because we have so many different things, we have cassettes and photos and all these different kinds of content. And if you could publish a book where people could and it's a book that people could give us a gift to somebody who is overcoming breast cancer or dealing with breast cancer and with your tips is a professional photographer, how to do this and then they can hire you as a consultant if they want to. This is a very interesting point, what she's talking about it and I really want everyone who sells time by the hour the vast audience online to think about this, how can you turn it into a product, a product that, as antonio, one of my dear friends told me, you need something that they can click to buy. Now, as soon as you have that you have the makings of a scaleable business e want toe lauren's point I mean, where she just mentioned is having other people write your book essentially is what that ideas, which is great, and there's other people who have done that we put out a request for contents you know, people sending in their pictures, their memories, their whatever and then you captured the best of the best and then you put them in a book format and salad or as that's one way and then the other way is you give them the kit that becomes their assembly and near the catalyst for enhancing that into this beautiful product versus handling every anyway thank you for doing that and letting us walk through sort of what needs steady wade you'll be back up here I'm sure thank you thank you thank that's brave it isn't easy toe late your dream out and and have the weight of reality laid over it sometimes we call that a lead blanket but it's not because really this is a beautiful idea what it comes down to is how do you make it profitable and scaleable the first test is will it attract customers? Can you sell it? Does it solvent and addressed one who are the customers and are they growing in number? How do they currently solve the want or need that your offering addresses and will they select your offering instead? Are they are they changeable and will they pay your price? How soon how often how much will they buy? Ideally what you want is soon, often and a lot and if it's once and a long time frame to purchase and they'll buy one at a time they really have to think twice about the business costs because it costs six times more, and nobody's ever disputed this figure six times more to get a new customer than it does to resell to an existing customer. So if you are selling a product that you only sell once, it better be very profitable that's. Why infomercials work because they work with very, very, very high margin items that can afford the cost of getting the buyer wants. Is it financially feasible? Will it generate revenue or cut costs? Sometimes all you need to do is cut costs to be profitable. What could be a new process or procedure? Or, you know, as lawrence suggested to you, turning it into a product, that sort of system eyes is the process so that it cuts the cost of it. Will it grow in scale will cause, and what scale means is a two least what I think scale means is cost fall and profitability rises with sales volume. Do you have the capabilities? Does it align with your strength and interests? And can you convince a skeptic it's a good idea? And really it's worth it for all of us to have a skeptic later, I call it a devil's advocate in one of my dear friends told me once the devil needs no advocates, but I think in business planning it's not a bad idea, at least find a skeptic and see if you can overcome that skeptics concerns and then you have to test it. Research the experiences of competitors find something like yours, and you know what? Don't hesitate to call them. I see you have a customizable product for such and such. I'm thinking about doing something. Could I ask you ten questions? I often send e mails to people. I won't keep you more than ten minutes, but if you could just I think me help me through these three questions people loved to be helpful. They don't love to have the time wasted and it's very gratifying that somebody will want your so research. The experiences of new petters interview leaders in your business arena um, interview customers truly asked him. Is this something you would want that's what brigitte did um and and you found it worthwhile? Um, ask a mentor to help you assess it asked her have others ask um so that you'll get some blunt feedback because people are really, really nice this is worldwide switzerland, this is trust me, everybody in the world is nice nobody wants to hurt anyone's feelings they want to tell you you're great ideas a great idea you want to know how to make it a greater idea and ask the devil's advocate and then decide are you ready to commit to the idea? And this is an important decision and my son uses a great term that I'm sure you all here all the time because it's more of this time than even of the business time ten years ago failed fast if it's not an idea, walk from it, walk from it or put it into your long range plans, which you're going to see in the marketing plan. That tenth step is long, great long range tech plans. There are some things that you say all this year I am going to work on this idea to decide can I do it next year? But sometimes there's just one idea that isn't ready to roll and if so, either shelf it or put it on the back burner and let it simmer with your love and input. Do you have confidence in your idea even if it needs more testing, a refinement, candid generate sales or cut costs? Are you confident it can contribute to profitability? This especially if you already have a business? Will it not erode the strength of your business? Are you confident it could grow in scale if it can't grow, and it can't scale well, then it's. Just a passion, it's, a passion and that's. Ok, do in your spare time. But don't do it in your business time at the expense of what is currently succeeding. And are you confident you can fund or obtain funding for the implementation period?

Class Description

Tens of thousands of new small businesses are started every year -- does yours have a concrete plan in place to ensure it succeeds? Join marketing strategist and small business advocate Barbara Findlay Schenck for an introduction to fast-track business planning.

Throughout this course, you’ll learn how to write and implement a business plan by clarifying your goals: how much time you have to devote to your business, how many people need to buy your product, and how much money you’ll be able to make. You’ll also learn how to set up your business legally and legitimately -- without dipping into your personal finances. Barbara will also cover the marketing and finance skills every small business owner needs to know.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a smart, strategic plan for starting, managing, and growing your business.


a Creativelive Student

Really looking forward to this course with great anticipation to learn how to put a comprehensive business plan together for a full-time & part-time wedding & portrait photography business, what are the important steps involve to create a business plan and what all should be included in such plan, when or if you should amend your business plan, should you have two business plans (a simple plan & a very detail plan).

Christina Majoinen

This course was great. I'm at the very beginning stages of creating my business, and this course really helped me to think through everything I need to plan for.


Great class!!