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Powerful Business Planning

Lesson 4 of 20

Custom-Tailor Your Business Planning

Barbara Findlay Schenck

Powerful Business Planning

Barbara Findlay Schenck

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Lesson Info

4. Custom-Tailor Your Business Planning

Lesson Info

Custom-Tailor Your Business Planning

Business planning causes a lot of questions, which is why a lot of people don't don't do it. I always say them I think when people hear the word business plan, they get this sort of gasp of attack, frankly, they get the same thing with the word marketing plan and it feels very onerous and they don't do it, and they feel guilty every time the term comes up, and so this session is the set, this segment of the course is about business plans, really what goes into them, what planning you need to do to make a business plan possible and how you need to customize that planning for your own business. And the first thing I want to start with is questions and answers um, and I'll start with the one I get the very most often what is the difference between a business plan in a marketing plan? And do I really need one of both? A business plan tells how your business will succeed or if you're seeking funders, it really tells how you're going to sell the concept of your business to those who support ...

you need a business plan, sells your business basically a marketing plan tells how you will sell your products, how you will get and keep customers, and because a business is not a business if it doesn't have customers in revenue ah, marketing plan is really the backbone the heartbeat of the business plan but you don't put your whole marketing plan into your business plan your business plan has a component called marketing plan that summarizes how you will market primarily we will use online outreach around the seasonality of our purchases are big emphasis is here and here and we will offer these kinds of promotions that maybe the extent of what you put in your business plan but you on ly can get it down to that because you did a full blown marketing plan and tomorrow I give you the steps to do marketing plan in ten steps so that's the big thing difference from business plan a marketing plan if somebody asks you one sells your business the other tells how you sell your products and the second one is essential to make the first one work. What questions does anyone else have that's my question we've got quite a few coming in from online um we had firefly that just said I know that writing out of business plan is actually scary for me it means I actually have to have a business I do want one I do want it to be profitable it's been pretty much a hobby up until this point but I always put business planning off because I'm afraid I don't have the time for a full time business there's the fears that air coming along with that and you can't answer that question without doing a business plan because of business plan helps you assess how big is the opportunity that your passion can fuel and can it make money? And how much? Once you know that you can decide, can you turn it into a business, or should it continue to be a hobby? My father collected stamps his whole life that wasn't his business, it was his hobby. He enjoyed doing that. Um I, of course wanted to write stamp collecting for dummies, so what? We never did, but but the thing is on ly a business plan can answer that question, so I'm very glad that person's here, I hope a lot of people who are kind of kindle ing a passion as a side hustle, wondering, could it be their means of support? I hope those people will stick with us and do the business planning to make the decision. Is this a worthwhile next step? Reactions to the break of simon, thank you all for taking the time while we were off the air briefly there t follow that through. Cedric was in switzerland mentioned briefly briefly earlier they're saying they're looking for millions in siri's a type funding the level of detail of the projections that investors sorry, sorry sometimes three takes moves as I'm actually reading it's apologies for our apologies. So they're saying they're looking for a type of syriza type funding the level of detail of projections of investors demand on the amount of writing about the competitive landscape the markets myriads of spots analysis it's overwhelming to them I'm fully convinced of the value of planning and it's normal that people investing money in the company know but it's really that fear of finding the investment that's really throwing them off I think a politics that I didn't do that justice I'm sorry the script minute as I was reading you did it justice in and so did cedric because it is an onerous task to prepare a plan strong enough to cause venture capitalists to want to give that kind of money and often in order to get it you need to prove that you have not only a fabulous idea that can monetize for long term health and success but that you have players on board who they are willing to invest in and this is where it is often worthwhile to find a couple of business partners who sit on your board former business investors who can sit on your board and contribute to your plan so that you can say those people are on your team that business plan requires a management team and uh board description that is as powerful as the financials and amazing financials that you don't just do on your own you're looking for millions in syria's, eh? You almost need a venture capital consultant that is really beyond the scope of what we're talking about today for most people it doesn't mean everything about business plans is it useful to him but he needs to take it like quantum leaps forward and I have a sense that switzerland is probably a good place to be if you want to have a monday just a sense reggie you had a question? Yes, so it's I guess it's a two part question one I sort of fell into being a business owner because I was fictitious lee doing business under another name I needed to open up a bank account that required a d b a which required a business reviews so on and so forth. So first of all, I just kind of fell into being a business owner, but then with my success things change. When I started in two thousand eleven I had a very different mission and I was being driven by something that is not even in my offering right now. So if you create a business plan, how can you leave room for spontaneity and the changes that come up in the room to grow in different directions the way we always did it is we had a business plan, a budget model basically that said, ok, if if everything we've planned for works, we're going to hire these people here and we'll have this much revenue at this point and then we said if we don't have that much revenue at this point these hires will become or this piece of equipment purchase will become delayed or whatever so that we had a plan b and we also had and if huge opportunities these air the points where we will consider huge opportunities um you can't just zig and zag your business plan to every opportunity but when a major opportunity with a short time frame it appears you have to be willing to adjust your business plan the question then is is it within the sphere of influence of your business does it enhancing not harm or confuse those who believe in your brand and does it not cannibalize other earnings and business plans are adaptable? What aren't adaptable? What isn't adaptable is the need to have a profitable bottom line and so as you adapter business new opportunities you just have to say sit down and do a mini plan for that opportunity will it monetize how soon will it monetize what will it cost in the in the inner room? Where will that money come from? Will it harm my existing business financially? Will it harm my image or the brand belief people have in my business? Us and if the answers are a string of yes as you proceed that's the beauty of small business it's responsive it's not like hurting cats tio to make the next step. Would you agree, warren? Your consultant? Yeah. Think something you have to have is a willingness to experiment with your business. I have a customer client who has a scavenger hunt business. And when he started out there were doing a different hunt and every and a different time in a different neighborhood every weekend in san francisco. Right? And so the time and effort to successfully get the turnout that was needed didn't work. Sonny shifted to maybe doing it by monthly. And then, you know, after a period of time, he shifted again to where he's now just doing corporate hans, which makes more sense from him from a financial point of view. So you have the core business, but those that are willing to experiment, try things different, come up with different offerings. Um, are the ones that will be successful and those who consume ple if I even complicated ideas, this is a simplification. Going for a corporate client is actually a much higher step on a financial ladder. And yet, it's, simpler and more replicable. So you're looking for that, too, right? Yes. So they get repeat business, but the thing is, you kind of have to go through those growing pains you have to go through that. Learning process to see what works, what doesn't work and then you make a decision about the direction you want to go in and that's what he did and we started something a couple years ago yesterday was wednesday called the hump day email yesterday was wednesday and you know, that worked for a while but he wasn't getting the traction he wanted with it so he didn't do any more I mean if something's not working just changes very easy to do it's not like you're a major corporation that you have a number of hoops to go through before you make something happen you're the you're the driver of your own destiny so you can do what you need to do is that an informed decision? Does that answer your question? Yeah okay, we have more feedback from the break assignment I am nicki bie said I started a part time photography business in two thousand seven two thousand thirteen I started full time and was able to sustain however I'm worried that years of not planning and thriving off of passion alone has hindered me, she says. I feel overwhelmed and concerned that I'm working to live and that's all I have to make some changes just unsure of where to start I would say start by looking at what is working best if she's feeling overwhelmed it's probably because she's trying to pursue too many options into few hours in the day so I'd say what is making money what kinds of jobs what kinds of clients which are easiest to get which are easiest to keep which are easiest to serve in which our most profitable and start to funnel your business toward those there comes a time when you have to decide which clients there are or lines of business or too expensive to continue with and to start doing some winnowing you may have brigitte you may have determined it was certain kinds of yoga classes um even one on one you may have determined at some point did you did you ever have toe I have a different experience my one on one creates a lot more profit so I would actually I like to increase that and decrease the public classes that pay le okay so it's an interesting growth in that direction we'll have to talk about scale ability on the you know I don't think anybody who has a business and in fact it's making money has done anything irreparably harmful the issue is how do you move forward and that's what we're going to talk about with determining what's profitable how you could grow the business in a sustainable and scaleable manner and how you could do more of what works and that's what this person probably needs to focus on especially in photography photography is a wonderful creative arena that is uh just bulleted by competition and free options that give the people that used to buy photographs low cat, low cost options and and that has caused an enormous need for change and one of the sessions tomorrow one of the strategies is planning for change and the photography arena is undergoing those who sell photo services you would know tara undergoing enormous change and you absolutely have to adapt well maris stella mummy mummy saying for their break assignment their concern is that they have never successfully planned and executed anything of meaning but some but somehow they have a very good business which is driving she's saying I want to grow but the feelings of failure and shame are so crippling but I can barely answer more than two questions short of medicating don't go medicate I feel that I can't get through the process much less execute the plan wasn't the beginning part that her business is successful in spite of planning is part of this so I would maintain that it's not that she hasn't planned I would maintain she knows how to make money which is the most important part of the plan which is the business model and that she may not have ever written down but that she's done the important planning some people instinctively our bottom line people they say it's got to make money and if it doesn't make money I'm not going to do it and that doesn't always bode well for enormous creativity, but it bodes very well for business success. My guess is this person isn't giving them enough themselves enough credit. Now, the point is, they possibly feel out of control of their business, and that was one of the starting points that some people just feel a little out of control. They feel their business is out of control, either it's growing too fast, it's growing in directions that are just haphazard and so stick with us. Stick with us as we go through the strategic session and start narrowing the path that you're going toe travel. But if you've got a business of successful, don't beat yourself up well, we thank you for all those who shared who took part in the break assignment. One last question. I think they'd be really important to us before we just dive into this next section. It's actually come from water and wine. Love the sound of that. They're asking can you just elaborate? Barbara on the differences between a business plan on a business model let's get that squared away before we get going? They answered a question that I in fact was wrestling with over the asking question I was wrestling with over the break and that is the business model doesn't come up until the next session and I'm kind of sorry it's not in this session because it's so fundamental to a business plan but this session is about what is a business, what needs to go into business planning what goes into your business plan and a broad brush of the business model the next session is the business model in detail what the business model is is how where's the money it answers the question where's the money it answers it by saying, what are you selling? How do customers approach the purchase which gets into your distribution channels? They buy it online, they buy it through my shop they buy it directly by, you know e mailing me they buy it through my distributor and it answers the question of how much it will make for your business and we go into detail of the business model in the next session but there's a lot of talk about really a business plan is an effort to search for a business model and if you don't know how your business makes money and how it collects money and how it builds profitability than you do not have a business model and you absolutely have to join us after lunch good question. The other questions I get a lot of us are their best and worst times to start a this is this a good time to start a business? Um whenever there is a market need that you can fill that involves customers that you can reach it's a good time to start a business a lot of people wonder is a recession is economic difficult time when when there's an economic upheaval or difficulty is that a good time? Sometimes that's the best time to start a business in that a lot of times talent is available unless expensive leases are available less expensive and then then you hit a time when the economy is recovering and everything gets more expensive is that a good time to start a business? Well money is more available for consumer spending so it really comes down to do you have a good idea? Does it fill a meaningful niche and need in your customers mine can you produce it profitably and get it to customers? If so it's a good time to start that business the other question is does a freelancer need a business? Do I need a business of business plan? Do I need a business plan if it's just for me I think the solo preneurs who works in an office by themselves needs a business plan more than anyone else they need to know what they're trying to accomplish and I don't care if you write it on a napkin I don't care if you write it on one piece of paper or the judds jotted into the notes on the planning templates I want you to put in writing what is it you're trying to accomplish how you're going to try to accomplish it and that gives you something mid year when an opportunity comes up to say you know what? I'm willing to walk from this strategy because I can reach this goal better with this new opportunity you can change your strategies but you have to have strategies to know whether you're changing them somebody had a question is there a short version of determining business viability and what I mean by that is I have had a lot of ideas and this year I've decided on my words are focused and intense so um I want to be able to quickly relatively quickly uh test an idea so is it following the same staff or would that be a different process? It isthe it's all in the same thing that we had in um the idea section those same set of slides the on ly thing additional to it is the business model in the next session you have to put pen to paper and say can I produce it profitably? Can I sell it profitably in that cannes is reaching customers so expensive that it would not be worth it and will they buy it in a decent enough time frame to fit the window? I have to bring this thing to market and yeah there's a fast fact the fast track is focusing you used the word on what your idea is and then testing it out with to find out our consumers really interested will they buy it learn a little bit about what they will buy it for and how often and then plug that into your business model to do the financial test to say can I make money doing it? And I think that's really where a lot of business plans fall apart people they just end up on faith thinking that it will that it will fund itself and even you know the road to business success is jammed with businesses that are operating without a map taking wrong exits running out of gas um so um keep asking questions throughout but I'm going to go into the anatomy of what goes into a business plan now I already told you not everybody needs to write a business plan if you answer all the questions in the templates you still need to know what's in one because this guides your planning an overview of what your business is doesn't aims to achieve over the planning period everybody needs to know this what your business is doesn't aims to achieve over the planning period does anybody any of the four of you feel brave enough to say what you're hoping to achieve over your planning period? Is anybody's planning that far along? I'll give you mine I mean last year I'll give you mine last year because it worked I wanted to get my business is a business success advocacy and I wanted to get the information to broad swaths of people for free and I didn't know how I was going to do it I wanted it wasn't a business model issue because the books are my business model and creative life came about I mean it is a funny thing when you put it down you're more apt to get there so just over the planning period this year what do you want to do? You want tara you want to explore your book idea and find out is it feasible and in what form is it feasible? And you know what? You excuse that up here and explain to us what it is so I know you know what it is and what you wanted to achieve who you wanted to serve now you're down to what is a feasible application of it lauren you're less sure aren't you of what you want to achieve this period I feel fairly certain yeah I want to use my creativity to highlight these female entrepreneurs who hand make beautiful products on and bring them to a larger audience I already have a wholesale license already byproducts from them and sell them to my community, my community, my immediate community and also online and I just I just feel like more people especially people who are battling autoimmune issues or cancer issues they want to clean their life they don't want to put harmful things on their skin they they're listening you know and I just want to reach I want to help these female entrepreneurs the same way you're helping small businesses brought in their message and is it scale? Is it profitable right now? Is it working or do you need to work on the business model it's profitable in that it sustains itself? I don't I don't fund it but I do fund it with energy I'm not I'm not you're not paying yourself a salary off of it I'm no but I am glowing with natural beauty and tons of tons of amazing things I feel like it's a viable rewarded I am rewarded health wise and I don't know I did I'm learning a lot I really feel like like that's the that's the goal is to bring it to more people and then to have a profit more later when we get into one of the sections actually the financial section deals with regulations and you made up that is are there regulations you need to uphold in terms of security of product in that type thing no there are the fda doesn't even regulate in the united states which is what one of the reasons why this business is so exciting it is better than something with integrity very interesting overview that's the first thing you have to know really it's an important thing to settle on what your business is doesn't aims to achieve and then your business environment and I go into details on each of these in just a minute customers marketplace competition conditions in your case for instance lauren for conditions I'd say are there conditions in terms of it would be more successful if there were well this is marketplace conditions but also referral conditions do you need wood referrals helping so yeah, some of my clients are in whole foods some of my clients are not some of the more on lee sultan independent retailers and so I think some kind of a contract like the one you're talking about with amazon where there's a can yak and condition so marketplace conditions then the strategy that you're going to follow to achieve your goals a description of your products capabilities people organization in business model and this gets back into the swat analysis that again I'm gonna get warned to help a little bit with and then financial condition forecasts and budgets and an action plan that's really all that anyone needs to do in a business plan to have a sense of where they're going.

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!!