Let’s make a distinction between planning for a successful creative business and ‘writing a business plan’. The two are not necessarily the same.
In my own experience, many people write business plans purely because they are a requirement of investors or funders. These business plans tend to be written without conviction and are then quickly shelved once the third party investor has accepted (or rejected) the plan.
Your creative business plan should be primarily for the business itself, a ‘route map for success’, setting out the objectives and steps to be taken to achieve its objectives. Ideally a good business plan should serve the business well as a working document – as well as to articulate to third parties the benefits of the business, return on capital invested, risk management and other concerns of stakeholders and partners.
But the business plan is not a sacred document. A business plan does not automatically guarantee business success. Many business plans present the details but fail to address the fundamentals. Any business plan must be based on the values and objectives of the entrepreneurs concerned and at its heart must be a feasible business formula.
A successful creative business is built on three things:
1. A clear definition of success shared by the owners, based on their vision and values. This becomes a compass to help them decide the direction of business development and the most appropriate business strategy. Know clearly where you are going.
2. An objective assessment and understanding of the competitive advantage of the business in relation to its rivals. In other words a focus on the particular goods or services the business can produce better than all (or most) rivals. Understand the competition.
3. Concentrating only on those customers who want the things at which the business can excel in relation to rivals. This means deciding which customers are NOT appropriate and positively avoiding them in order to focus resources in a laser-like way on ideal customers. Communicate effectively and strategically using the ‘3Ms of marketing‘.
In this way, creative entrepreneurs can unleash their creativity without compromise and achieve commercial success.
This unique business formula is the key. Get this wrong and compromise or failure will result. Get it right and the creative enterprise will have a great chance of both creative and commercial success.
This is an extract based on an article ‘Create Your Own Business Formula‘, which was first published as ‘Making a business plan’, a chapter in the book ‘Read this First: Growth and Development of Creative SMEs.’ (ISBN/EAN 978-90-810079-2-4)
For more information about vision and values, competitive advantage, business feasibility and business planning, read the book (and free eBook) ‘T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity’.
Strategic marketing is all about the big issues of choosing the right products, focusing on the right customers and devising business strategies to outmanouevre rivals in a highly competitive market place. For 63 Tips, Techniques and Tales for Creative Entrepreneurs, read ‘Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success’ in short 5-minute sections with action points on your smartphone by downloading the eBook now – or buy the paperback if you prefer..