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For those of you who have it already, I wanted to take a few moments to talk you through it. It is fairly self-explanatory, but let me give you the run down on how I use each of the sections and the impact it has on my business.
The Home Base
This is where you put down your business name, or if you have a big project going on your can use this document for that too. Under the name you list out your values. These are the core motivators for your business or project and drive what makes this work important to you.
They might be direct by-products of the services you provide. For example one of my core values is EDUCATION.
In contrast they might also be things you need to get back from the business. Another one of my business values is continued learning. I not only want to foster the education of those around me but I need to have committed time and energy to focus on my own continued learning in order to feel good about my business and my work.
Products and Services
This is where you list out all the things you currently have for sale and those that you would like to be offering. This is anyway your business or project brings money in so it will be things like the products you make and the services you provide but it might also be affiliate sales or blog advertising sales.
Try and list in the What I Want To Offer section of at least three new ways to bring money into your business.
The How Do I Want To Do Business is meant to get you thinking about the transaction itself. DO you want to be doing custom orders with 40 hours of email correspondence, do you want to have a pay now button or do you want to invoice clients? What should your standard invoice payment period be? Think about ways to improve what is happening now.
Obviously this is looking at the people who engage in your business and who you do work for. Try to be clear on exactly who your Ideal Customer is and hone in on what really makes them tick.
If you haven’t heard much about an Ideal Customer before why not check out Episode 3 of The M Word. Russ and I discuss the topic for 45 min including the different ways each of us researches our customers.
This is again a simple enough question but it isn’t always easy to answer. I certainly find the focus of my WHY changes from time to time.
This is the reason you do the work you do. What lights you up about it? What makes you stick it out on the tough days? What keeps getting you out of bed every morning?
Be sure to include a list of some of your passions that you may or may not be feeding through your business. They might be travel, painting, gardening – anything really that excites you. Listing these out can often lead to ways to bring these passions into the business fold.
So often in small business the money stuff become a sticky subject. You aren’t making enough to keep the partner happy. You feel yucky about charging for the work you did. You don’t know what it means as an artist to make money from your work. You wish you had more money to build your business. Etc etc etc.
We creatives can want to scream at the idea of a money conversation and all too often stick our head in the sand over all things related to money.
Now is the time to pull your head out of the sand and have an honest conversation with yourself about where your money story is at right now, and where you would like it to be.
Once you have set some goals around the money you would like to see coming in over the next 6 months, 1 year and so on, you need to work out how many items in your current offerings you need to move to make that happen. If that is not the money you are making now what actions can you take to get you from here to there.
The BIG Vision
This is your chance to dream. Be wild. Put on paper those crazy big dreams we are sometimes scared to say out loud, even to ourselves.
Think about what you would do in your life and business if money and time where no object.
It is amazing how powerful committing these big scary dreams to paper can be. Sometimes you can pull out bits and pieces of these and achieve them much faster than you would consider possible.
Fill this out and stick it to your wall. The magic of good business planning is that it encourages inspired action. If you put this up on the wall in your home, workspace or studio you will be reminded daily of the gaps between where you are today and where you want to go. You will start to see the steps you have to take to bridge the gap and hopefully you will be inspired daily to take those steps, no matter how small, in the direction of your goals and Big Vision.
I fill one of these out about every two to three months and it goes up on the wall in replacement of the last one. Somethings change, other things stay the same. The point of it is the answers stay relative and top of mind.
Have fun with the process, don’t let it overwhelm. Instead let it reignite the fire in your belly and help you get more focused about the actions you take in your business.
If you have ANY questions please post them below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh and if you want the template now all you need to do is sign up to my Love Letters for Creative Entrepreneurs list and get your free download. Click here to sign up.