Start Your Business Planning Engines
If you could do that it's time to start your planning engine write it down stake claim to your business dream now that gets me to another piece of material that comes in the purchase pack and it's called powerful business planning business planning templates and each one of these write it down slides is in here and you can take notes and write it down because in the end if you do nothing but answer the write it down questions throughout this seminar you will have done your business planning and some of you might have your business ideas so well percolated you literally could write them now tonight on breaks whatever other ones are going to say I need to talk to so and so to get this one ironed out but if you just answer these questions you will have done the business planning you could quit right then and feel like your business is in good is on a fast track. The next thing that you khun d'oh is take the business plan workbook which we're going to go through in the final session tomorr...
ow and turn it into the whole business plan and this is the template for doing that but it's worth it as we go through these questions pull it out what is your business state claim to your business dream? What is your situation today and what changes are you moving toward my business today is the photography business, and I'm moving toward a product that focuses on women, you know, whatever that might be yours that might not be you might have already decided instead to develop something else, but if you could get that first one that's important second thing to right now is your milestone priorities and time frame. I want to start up by I want to quit my day job by and this I hear an awful lot of a lot of people want to quit doing it all at nighttime next to the kitchen sink, they want to turn it into a business. I want a first cut customer by this is a start up issue. I want funding by existing business, I want to develop a new product by I want profitability by a living wage by, and everybody should have this somewhere in there component, unless I'm off, you're up and running, and you're already paying yourself kudos, congratulations! You really have already overcome a major milestone passed a major milestone, but you should put in your planning. At what point are you going to pay yourself a living wage? Because until that point you're funding your business, become scaleable, buy, sell or transition by, and I'm really a huge fan of building a business that you can sell. And you can sell a business that has a port sales projection upward sales trans every year it sells a little more than the last here and upward profitability. Trance that's the first thing you need to have a second thing you need to have is a transferrable business that means a location that somebody come by and run with it might just be a website that isn't owned by you personally it's owned by the business she will be selling which we're going to get to it in the session on structuring your business if you wanna personally that's not a business asset you need to get you things and so you need to have a transferrable business which means all the assets of it are transferrable including clients or transferrable they're not married just to you they're married to what your business offers processes and procedures that air transferrable so um so you write down your milestones of priorities ultimately you want a statement that looks like this and that template it's it's on my here it's in the works worksheet that everybody can download currently I have a blank I want to blank to succeed in making this change I am planning to do this by this state this by this state this by this date no more than three planning milestones because you can only do so much it's worth it on a break tonight whatever work this out start thinking about it may not be your final answer. You may need to call a friend or a lifeline, but eventually I want you to get to this write it down your business description, your offerings, your target customer, the needs you address and solution you provide your distinct edge value and competitive point of difference and this is important competitive point of difference not just point of difference but competitive in two ways that it's better than what someone else offers and it's something your customer will want to choose we I or we and I have both because some of you really are a freelancer versus a business provide describe your offering in generic terms provide yoga services or how would you say it? I mean, you have to come up with that yoga training for described your target customers and that you've already done bushy who seek describe the solution you're offering delivers but in there in their mind set not in yours what did they buy? Why did they what what want are they fulfilling when they buy your service? Customers choose are offering over others because describe your point, your point of difference I mean, I would say I provide small business success planning to individuals and very small businesses, many of whom were starting up some of whom are in the growth stage who are looking for clarity about what to do and how to focus and how to quit being so overwhelmed they choose my offering over others because they kind of believe in the dummies siri's they believe that if I could write all those books, I mean, does know how to say it simply and simple simplifications what they want. I mean, that might be what I'd say, I would work on a more, but I want you to work up something like that coming down, too. What is your point of difference? Why would they choose you? And the next thing you have to write down is who you need to bring on board, who is the audience for your plan? And I get a lot of people, and I won't name names who call me and say, you know what, my significant other or my husband or whatever said call moderate because you've got to figure out how this is going to make money or whatever. So at that point, you know, part of who you need to influences that significant other so who's the audience for your plan, who do you need to convince both to get the support you need? And because you value their opinion and you want to give you them your plan and get their feedback? Whose help do you need to reach? Your milestones it might be alone. It might be shared workspace. It might be all kinds of things but you need to figure out who's helped you need and what does that target audience needs to know? And here are typical business plan audiences you and those in your close circle of support I would bet that most freelancers and most small businesses this is the major audience for the business plan close circle of support board members, advisers or partners that's the next one and I am a really firm at that kind of having a board of directors or a board of advisers even if it's just very, very informal we always when we had the ad agency quarterly we had what we call the board meeting and we had our accountant, our attorney and one mentor attend and it held our feet to the fire. It kept that meeting very professional and it was amazing it built the agency by having that commit but to having a board of advisers in bend, oregon, where we used to live, there was something called opportunity knocks and it was pierre advisory boards where they would kind of gather around interests and have a facilitator and ten people would come once a month and again accountability so typical business plan audiences are board members even if not in a corporate sense and lenders or investors and certainly your business team and this is your business team may not get your full plan they may get only your executive summary but they need to know where you're going and what's in it for them if it's you and your inner circle the purpose is to gain focus support define your strategies and state stay on track um the messages my idea is feasible I have the capabilities projections and my strategic plans air strong if if this is your audience that's what your message needs to be feasibility capabilities projections, strategic plans strength if you're trying to talk to advisers and key partners they need to be convinced that growth will be achieved so your message needs to be the business has strong capabilities, opportunities growth in action plans so all of sudden action plans become very important growth in action plans if its funders if you're going for loans whether it's from an in law or a bank or a a venture capitalist or angel they have to be convinced of good long term financial prospects that's where you absolutely have to have all those financial projections not just for this year but out into the future and they need the message needs to be the business has strong capabilities, opportunities and financial management you absolutely cannot go to them with a piece of paper with some figures they need to see income statements, balance sheets pro form of projections they're not going to pay any attention to you is this true born situation was someone working with right now she's purchasing or hoping to purchase a long established business in the ocean? The area it's a restaurant and the owner has run as a cash business and he on ly collects receipts until about one or two in the afternoon and then after lunch or he doesn't do it so there's no financials to go over there's nothing you know, tangible to review so you know there's that and there's some other considerations that are making their challenge for her to buy the business but you absolutely need numbers that that are accurate and you can use to make a good decision about how you're going to grow your business how you're gonna launch a business so if you're going to acquire business and those of you our do it yourself managers I mean you can use quickbooks or quicken as a starting point I still use I you haven't used quickbooks on quicken because I can have multiple accounts under it but get it already and then give it to the accountant and then from there she works magic and turns it into the rial reports but you can do a lot of this it doesn't mean you have to have huge oversight there overhead every month in the counting you could do a lot of yourself but not if you're not collecting the money you know you gotta wonder they quit their receipts at noon hot that kind of business I mean anyway managers and key staff this is a major focus of a business plan and the purpose is to gain by in they want to see strong strategic plans and an important rule for them. They need to know here's where we're going here's, how it affects you here's, how you play an important role and ideally here's how you're rewarded so and you may not give them everything depending on what level of team player they are, you may give them only a summary, but keep in mind who is the purpose of your plan and we'll talk about in the final session that you end up customizing your plan by making the executive summary I have a different message depending on which audience it's going to go to where we are now you have laid your business plan foundation, you've set your starting point by the time you do everything we've done here using the materials set your starting point no, the changes you're aiming for your milestones and time frames given thought to your business idea and whether it still needs refinement in testing decided what you sell and to whom and I really am in a stress that again though what you sell because ideally you don't want to just sell time anybody who can add a second stream of revenue, which is the next session, I think we're talking about business models if you can have a second stream of revenue that's wonderful because when you get sick and you can't build that day, your product khun still sell if I want to take a vacation, these books are still in bookstores creative live you can still punch to buy. Please think about buying this anyway and targeted audience. You need to convince that's where we are right now, so we have time for questions online in audience. What are people saying? We've got some great questions actually one of our freelance audio audio from the photography world over the video while they're joining us, as they often do in creative, like welcome to all of you. Thank you for your questions if you want to go back through some very quickly, so that might get this right. I am nicki bie, I think that's how you say I am going to be a saying, she's, a freelance photographer, is it best to have board members of business team advisers? If so, what is the best way to find and obtained in support of these people? You know there are meet ups, you can look for meet ups in your area, you can go to the chamber you can go, teo, this is presuming that she wants to meet within a geographic area, but do you think even having those people is the best idea when you're starting out when you're building? I do, yeah, I dio I think particularly look, particularly when you're a freelancer it's really easy to get isolated and isolation isolation does two things number one way to become an obsessive workaholic or you put off work depending on your personality and it's very easy to lose focus, and when you have others that you're interacting with, you actually say, you know what I'm going to do, I am going to contact five prospects every single day and one of them I'm going toe plan to put on my lead generation list, I'm going to convert one two elite every week, then the other person consider you how'd you do on that very easy not to follow through on the not fun stuff like contacting prospects or whatever? So yes, I think it is very worth it to reach out, begin with community organizations begin with photography clubs where professionals go of the ad club in almost every community has an ad club or something like that that any creative would fit into and go and find people like you and say you want to meet up and give each other inspiration masters imaging says that I've been doing a lot of research and I want to start an online business and they say you should have at least three places online to sell your work such as your own website, ebay at sea things of that nature is this advice accurate? And also where would I find information to further my plans in canada? Well, the canada, even my books are all right, I'm kicking canada absolutely. In fact, I think there's and canada has a good s p a they have a very good small business administration and small business services. The idea of multiple places for sale is a good idea. It is a good idea in that in more places that people confined you. However, you need sites that you control because you don't know where you'll land on somebody else's site, so you definitely want your own website or block or both a facebook business page, not your personal page of business page because you can control it. Ah linked in business page in addition to your personal page and then you want affiliations from etsy. Teo on amazon marketplace to it ebay place you have to decide where your customers apt to go toe wanted by, um and and I would really look at affiliate relationships as well, you know, commission junction is a good web site to go to and see what affiliates you might be able to reach I have an affiliation with amazon, so when people click on any of my books on, uh, my website, they go straight to amazon, amazon takes care of everything, and I get it's a very minor four to six percent, depending how many books are selling, but also anything else they buy on that visit. Anything else they buy, they buy a television nobody ever has, and I would get the six percent because they entered through my affiliation, so consider affiliates, I think the advice is sound traffic. I think we're going to come to our students in just a second if they have any questions I'd like to share with barbara, I'm just gonna go with a question from melt or mel p perhaps it is mel piece saying, I'm a photographer, I'm extremely passionate about making it in the photography industry, but because they don't see any other career for themselves, so good luck, mel, I'm sure you're going to make it with that passion, but they're saying every day, every night, I think of ideas to help set me apart from my competitors, it's almost driving them crazy. I still don't have that golden idea what your suggestions for making it in an overcrowded market? Well, he's on the right track differentiation and often differentiation, come by narrowing focus and a lot of people when they're trying to make a living broadened focus because they think they can sell the most to the most number of people by solving the most number of needs and that's the opposite of differentiation or gaining trust. So you have to decide what you're best at, and it may be that this foot up mel mel pease business, maybe, in fact, very diverse, he does everything from school photos to weddings to artistic shots, commercial photography, whatever you don't have to quit doing any of it, you have to decide which is going to be your specialty, which you're going to focus on and little by little transition toward. But differentiation is the key and a million ideas. The night is not the answer. The answer is to I call it reverse engineer, I got the term from a wonderful man that I interviewed for a mess and talk to customers. What would you want from me? Talk to your best customers. How would you like me to sell? How would you like me to provide service and adapt to their needs? Because they're the ones that are going to buy from you versus what you dream up in the middle of the night, which may or may not be meaningful to be different, you want meaningfully different I hope that helps keep writing in mel if if I can help you I don't know melting go, laura guys, I'm sorry we got mel you know who knows nicely milk form lp any questions from any of our students? Anything they'd like to ask barbara this particular point appreciate that you were talking to the top of the show outlining some of the challenges that you see in you know, this is something you want to share with bob at this point, I think that concept of focusing is also very important I have a million ideas as well and the concept of products and things that you can sell beyond you are beyond your hours. And I guess one of my biggest questions about that is how do you decipher and I'm sure we'll look at that but which products they're which ideas are the one toe move forward with because some of them take investment, some of them require different time, you know there's a wonderful term low hanging fruit it's worth it to say what do what is the easiest to produce that has the shortest timeframe between contacting a kind client and getting a payment start with that when in doubt go with the one that's easiest to produce has the most potential buyers and causes has the least time frame between interest and purchase. Often small businesses are in a small business owners are inventive people and we pride ourselves on being able to dream up great ideas and drum up enthusiasm and what we don't pride ourselves on is narrowing focus because it's almost antithetical to what we love about this inventive but that's why business planning is so important it forces that narrowing down and saying, where is the low hanging fruit? I would say start with what you can sell locally because that's going to be the easiest what you conceal to your existing clientele or within your local market what can you produce their first and then move it out because grandiose plans very few things start huge very, very few things so think about what's easy what you could easily get to customers what's profitable and move it forward great comments on twitter from a naomi now and we have to weigh thanks for joining us name you know he's saying the part that scares me most about business planning is the money stuff she highlighted money and then she said there you don't have to say that properly but she says I see quickbooks less in my near future well known I guess well, I think we have a quick books course coming up next week on created life that tv is going to be in the chair for them one on ken boyd is our instructor for that wants to join us for that week on creative I've put it on your calendar cocktail that into what bob was sharing mr because it's actually it's a j curve when you use a quickbooks type account trying to do it yourself, figuring out where everything goes and of course like that I don't know if it's two days, three days, whatever but it over those few days you will win back the time so quickly in using the program, just getting it set up once and for all and then after all, it's so easy you put in ut and up comes utilities I mean it's, it's all well, you all know how prompts go but it's just so fast and you can just keep everything itemized and suddenly you're actually capturing your costs. You're capturing the cost of the magazine that you subscribe to online or in print version that supports your business and all of a sudden that becomes a tax deduction that you wouldn't have thought of if you just paid it out of your checkbook and kept going. And it is a three day course and it's a kind of a shameless creative life promotion but what's great about it. We do offer each segment in segmented pieces, so if you don't need the whole course and you do end up wanting to purchase that, you can just download the hour or two hours that are effective for you, I just noticed actually animal artist is also in that we're asking the chat room. How do you keep track of your business dollars? You have us another great way. Great way. Do we dio catherine out loud says for non artistic creative I'ii operation strategy consultants how do you begin to develop secondary income streams beyond the product? I'ii engaged consulting with organizations. So I think what she's talking about his repeatable business versus and additional streams of income so she wants to develop a secondary stream of income beyond what she's already doing. It sounds like okay, when you have a consulting business the first thing if if you can figure out a way to make it a repeatable purchase that's the first I think you want to do because then you have a client rather than a customer, you have someone who comes every single month or page a retainer or whatever. But beyond that you could do presentations that becomes a product that actually becomes a new business development opportunity as well. Presentations on show up and learned that ten things you need to know about business organization in one fell swoop the other thing you could do is rep products. When we had the ad agency we brought in an organizational expert among the things I mean she this was back when you still did physical which wasn't that long ago physical day timers and she sold all that stuff she outfitted all of our desks with organizational that I'm sure she made a nice markup on so selling products that you get a markup on becomes something versus creating a product again that's low hanging fruit I mean you order it you sell it you get the commission or the markup on the price so those are things I would consider and we do talk about different streams of revenue in the next session and joe is asking us about online media and on social media but actually online business media things like linked in the business pages is that a good way to help build your business have you had experience no you're on linked in but have you experience I've had a good wonderful experience with linked in in that um I get calls from media based on it you want you want to have a good linked in page and you want key words key words work on linked in so mine are branding selling marketing starting you know business success advocacy that type thing and it's also it's become the role adex nobody has remember role itics I mean no no you none of you all do your all too young but it becomes how people find people so yes I think it's very important I think even if you don't use it you need it because people it shows up on your first page of results people put your name in most people before they meet someone socially or in business look them up online and your linked in page your facebook page, your own page to the very top and you've gotta have a google plus profile even if you don't use it because it's so optimize herbal I don't get too far ahead because I know we're going to talk about how to customize your business planning later on today and there's a lot more to come more etcetera but lots of people asking about just pricing services, laura d c w was saying, how do you hone in on that sweet spot to know how much they charge for your services? And melanie is asking you if you constantly change your prices can that bad to your customers that you develop will grow it can particularly if you have great sales I'll just wait for the sale. I always say the soft drink companies I don't know that they built allegiance to their brand as much as two whatever price for six pack we just go out looking for that, you know? So you were going I'm not going to go into pricing right now because we're going to go into a deeply in a human lsd players we can't break assignment because we have two minutes to break um bring back one doubt or worry or question about why you need a plan. I want to start the next session, because business plans are like snowflakes. I actually have snowflakes in here somewhere. No two are alike. They are the most customizable of business efforts, and I want to hear is much as I can about all of your interest. Really pay off your attendance with personal counsel or consulting or coaching, and I can only do it if I know your concerns. So bring it back, bring back no question is too dumb. Any question you have another small business has to whether it's what's the demonstrated marketing plan in a busy this land, we will get to it later. But any question you have, let me know that's, how we're going to start the next session. So assignment, bring back one doubt, or worry, or question about why you need a plan.