The Enlightened Business Plan
Category : Business | 1117 views | 2006-10-13 15:35:04
B is the beginning of business plan and it doesn't matter whether you are starting a brand-new business or have been in business for 20 years you still need a solid Business Plan. Come to think of it, chances are that if you have been in business for 20 years you probably need to revise your business plan and make it so that it works for you rather than you working for it.
When people hear the word business plan they automatically think YUCK. Business plans are only for the bank so that they can get money or that it is a make work exercise in Business 101. Wrong! A good business plan is your road map to success. It is the course you set so that you and your company are on the same page and going in the same direction.
Have you got one?
If not, why not?
Some guidelines to creating a successful Business Plan:
1. Devote quality time to create it. This is something you should schedule and not be interrupted.
2. If you have staff, have your key employees and/or partner(s) with you when you are developing your business plan.
3. Give a detailed description of the business and its goals.
4. Discuss the ownership of the business and the legal structure. For those of you that have been in business for some time, this may mean changing the structure to a more advantageous one. Just because you have done something that way for a long time does not mean that you must continue doing it that way forever.
5. List the skills and experience you and everyone who works with you, bring to the business. Sometimes you will be surprised at the under-utilized potential that you have there.
6. List the skills and knowledge that you need to learn/hire/sub-contract that will make your operation run smoother, more efficiently, and more profitably.
Here are some key questions to answer.
1. What service and/or products does your business provide?
2. What needs does it fill?
3. Who are your potential customers?
4. Why will they buy from you?
5. How will you reach your potential clients?
6. Where will you get the financial resources to start your business?
a. If you are already in business, how much more capital will you need to expand your business?
What are the parts of the plan?
1. Description of the business. Who are you serving and what you are providing?
2. Marketing. How will you reach your clients - what type of advertising?
3. Finances. Create a balance sheet and an income statement. Or look at the one you have and see where you can improve.
a. Figure out your monthly break-even plan. List all your costs, fixed and variable, add what you want to earn, and from there you will know what you need to make to break even.
b. From your break even, you divide it by how many photo sessions you approximate you will be taking (i.e. 1 fashion shoot a day, or 10 portrait sessions, or 1 fine art print sold per day etc,) to give you the figure of what your average sale should be. Or divide the break even by the average sale you think you can make and the result will be the number of sessions you need to take. This will let you know if you are being reasonable with your projections. It will also give you goals that you will need to achieve.
c. Set goals for the different aspects of your business.
4. Management. Who is doing what? If you are a one-person show, can you do all that jobs that are necessary? A better question would be to ask, what jobs should you hire out?
5. Competition. See who your competition is (even if you don't think they, they are still making money)? What do they do that is the same as you and what do they do that is different from you? What do they charge? How do they advertise? Is it effective?
Why is the plan important?
1. It is your roadmap.
2. You can take this to the bank to solicit financing - it shows that you have done your homework.
3. You can bring it to an investor for the same reason as above.
4. It acts as a great communication tool; it will clarify the plan to yourself and your employees.
5. The mere act of setting goals and objectives helps you in planning and achieving.
Now that you know what is involved at making a business plan, let's look at how to get this done. Okay, okay, let's get real, how many of you are going to go through with these steps? For example, step five might take an hour, how can you schedule this? In Enlightened Tripod one, we talked about time management and working on the one thing that you know will move your business forward today. Making a decision about when to schedule the time to do each step, is huge step forward in making a decision that you don't want to make.
Creating a business plan is a big job, break it down into tiny little steps and tackle one step at a time. We have found that many of you need a little help with these steps. Not because you can't do it, but because many of you will not do it. Most people do best when they have a person that they are accountable too, like a coach. With the coach you get much more than what you find in the books and c.d.'s, you get supportive, honest structure, combined with practical experience.
Chuck has his Fellow of the Professional Photographers of British Columbia (F/PPABC), which is the highest award honoring photographers in British Columbia. He is one of few photographers in Canada who has earned the prestigious Master of Photographic Arts degree (MPA). As well, Kodak has presented him with two of their Gallery Awards for Excellence. He was the youngest photographer to be invited to join the American Society of Photographers. He feels particularly blessed having been able to study with some of the finest photographers in the world: Josef Karsh, Arnold Newman, Monte Zucker, Jason Hailey, Frank Cricchio and his father, John Groot.
Email email@example.com www.chuckgroot.com, www.successfulphotography.com