Answer the tough questions a.k.a.The Business Plan
(and then be ready to change it if you have to)
I’m not a very big fan of business plans, but before even starting you brand you need to know where your going and what your plan is. Do it yourself and make it fairly quickly! Don’t drag it out for a whole year, cause the market could change or someone might have the same idea as you and get to market before you… The business plan should be fun and a part of the creative process. What you put in it will be your base, that you rely on for the near future. The process is as important as the outcome because once you’re done, it will be obvious what your strengths and weaknesses are. It will help you see the problems you can possibly avoid.
It’s an effective way to force yourself to answer the tough questions: Who is your customer? What is your niche? What is your brands reason of being? How much money do you need to get going and operating, etc. This is great if you need to present your idea for investors and show that you have thought your business through. Even if you intend to run your business without external funding it is good to do a loose business plan, to know what your focus is and to keep the full team on the same page. All of you will have the same clear reference. Of course you will learn things along the way, and of course you will change your mind but the main plan is set, you know what you need to do. Without a plan how will you know where to go?
Without a plan how will you know where to go?
Since I’m a very visual person I have a lot of pictures and sketches in my business plan. You can have an inspirational one if you want to, no need for the boring word document version. Just make sure it covers all the information you need, to have a clear vision and goal. When the rough times come and you doubt yourself, cause these times will come once in a while, you will have something to go back to and remind yourself of what the point of this whole thing is. It will help you stay on the right track.
BUT, and here comes the big but… Keep it light! A super duper detailed plan won’t make sense. Once you encounter for ex a change in the market, your plan is gonna go out the window. You need to stay loose on you toes, have your fingers on the market/customer pulse and be ready to shift and change if you need to. Who said you can’t change along the way? Remember, there are no “rules”:-)