Business Plan. Creative Genius.
Rather than being an oxymoron, these two ideas are what can firm up your business foundation and actually give you more creative freedom as an entrepreneur. The truth is that a good business plan and strategy make you more creative – not less. Without a plan, you are stuck being reactive all the time. You don’t have control of your business or your calendar. It’s a feast or famine cycle. A solid plan gives you the freedom to go create instead of fussing with the planning day in and day out.
Why It Is Hard to Get Past “Go”
Putting together a business plan and outlining your strategy generally aren’t the fun part of business. And who wants to focus on the parts that aren’t fun? You want to be out there with your customers and clients. You want to be bringing in the money and creating your products.
Still, you know you need to do it. So, on a rainy afternoon, you sit down with a copy of “Business Plans for Dummies” and templates downloaded from various websites. It’s time to bust out your plan and be done with it already. Then brain freeze hits. This isn’t from a carton of Ben and Jerry’s – this is good, old-fashioned writer’s block. You start to panic a little. The words and templates look like a foreign language. Now what?
It’s time for a mind meld that gets your business brain and creative brain working together. I’ve got 4 ideas that you can use as your own to make this happen. Find one or a combination of several that combine your creative skills with the way your brain works. Then, be sure to include key items such as revenue, specific products or programs, suppliers, marketing and the back office pieces.
Idea Starter #1: Speak It
This is where you use the power of your voice, not your hands, to get started. Here are a two ways to make this happen – pick the one that works the best for you.
- Call into a recorded line. If you have a conference line that you can record on already in place for your business, use that. If not, you can sign up for an account with one of the free conference call services. Afterwards, have the MP3 recording transcribed so you will have a recorded version and a document as well.
- Have a friend or colleague interview you and take notes. They do need to be a good notetaker, but that’s it in terms of qualifications. They don’t really need to understand your business although that’s a nice bonus.
Once you are over the hump of the initial writing, it can be much easier to edit and add your own flavor. You can highlight, makes notes and even use it to with one of the other Idea Starters below.
Idea Starter #2: Draw It
Drawing can unleash not only your inner creative but your inner child, too. You might be surprised at what the kid in you will dream up! There are a low-tech and high-tech options to draw your ideas.
- Low-tech: Grab a sketch pad or a blank artist’s notebook. Pair that with colored pencils, markers and your imagination to draw your business plan in a way that flows out of your ideas and goals. Order and organization are less important than getting everything down in a way that works for you.
- High-tech: Go to a mind map website (Google “mind map” and plenty of options will come up) and use the software to help you create your plan.
Idea Starter #3: Vision Board It
You can use a vision board for nearly anything – not just goal setting and inspiration. In this case, you can create a vision board that brings in all the elements of a strong business foundation. Use dynamic and inspiring pictures, images and words that reflect where business is now and where it will be growing.
Idea Starter #4: Piece It Together
Do a word cloud that brings all your key elements into one place – artistically and even beautifully. Usually you see these with simple nouns and adjectives that are describing a person, place or event. Yet, what gets included in your cloud is only limited by what you want to put into it. Create an overall one for your business, do one for each component of it or even do both!
These four Idea Starters can be the key to unlocking your creative genius when it comes to finally getting your business plan and strategy done. Do you know which one you are going to use to make it happen?