If you run a business (or would like to), do you have a written business plan? Do you refer to it often? Or does the question make you cringe? This post will explain how to create an easy but effective business plan – that’s actually even fun!
Did you know that the concept of Professional Parents first came about when I had to write a business plan for my marketing degree? Back then (in 2008), when I was studying towards a Bachelor of Business in Marketing & Tourism, we were taught that business plans needed to be extensive and thorough, and the examples and assignment we were given was around 30-40 pages long. Now if you are working for or creating a large (international) organisation, it’s important to consider and record many of the structural, marketing, legal and financial aspects of your business in depth. If you are requesting financing from a bank and perhaps investors, you may well need to put together an large document like this.
However if you’re a busy Professional Parent with a small business, this isn’t practical or even necessary. It is still important though to take some time to plan, and writing it all down and referring to it regularly can have a huge positive impact.
So, where to start? If you google “business plans”, there are literally millions of links with thousands and thousands of templates and suggestions. Wikipedia gives an interesting overview defining a business plan and Entrepreneur.com has many helpful articles about business planning.
But if you’re a busy Professional Parent balancing family and work, you are not likely to have lots of quiet time to read through and analyse all the options out there, so let me save you some time. After several years of trying out many different styles, I’ve found what I think is the perfect way to create an easy but effective business plan. I highly recommend Business Model Generation. Download a free preview PDF by clicking in the image below (links to the official Business Model Generation website).
Within the PDF download, you will find a very easy but effective business plan template called the “Business Model Canvas”. This is an appealing and deceptively simple-looking way to create your business plan, no matter how small or large your business is. I’ve been using this for my own business Zestee Social Media for several years now, and also for my non-profit communities, Professional Parents and Dutch Australian.I’ve recommended, shared and demonstrated this model to many others and have received plenty of positive feedback from those adopting it.
Even better? You can learn about the concept in under two minutes via this video:
What do I love most about it? Though it’s a deceptively simple-looking one page plan, it’s been thoroughly researched and represents all the important aspects of your business that you need to consider. It also gives a quick visual overview – which you can then later develop into a more lengthy document if necessary.
I’ve also seen more and more people in the business community using and referring to it. Last week, I attended a networking workshop and a representative from Shell shared that they use it, proving to me the last line in that video above, that it’s suitable for businesses from very small to large!
Take a look at the full website Business Model Generation for more information and to buy the book. I’ve had the book for some time but have to admit that I’ve barely read it (yet!) – the free PDF file explains most of what you need to know. If you’re a natural marketer, you may grasp the concepts quickly, but if I’d still highly recommend getting a copy to delve into when you have the time, and I’ve also bought their next book Business Model You about reinventing your career, and their new book Value Proposition Design also looks interesting. Now just to find the time to read them before I hear “mama, mama” (well they’re at school at the moment…)
Do you have a business plan? Have you heard about the Business Model Canvas before? Do you or would you use it? I’d love to hear from you in a comment.
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