Writing a Business Plan, Part 2

Last week I wrote about the first page of an author’s business plan. The first page can be a simple business plan that provides the basic information like your name, type of plan, and mission; the purpose which includes what you want to accomplish; and then the goals you want to set. Today’s blog provides the detail to those goals. For each goal, you will want to include the following information:

1. Deliverables
2. Measuring Results
3. Timeframe

For each one of the above items, you can list them separate or together. You can include as much detail as you want or provide high-level information.
My business plan is for five years. My goal is to publish four books within the next five years. I consider each one of those books a goal. For example:

Goal 1: Publish Book 2 in eBook and print form.

My deliverables include: Write the manuscript, edit the manuscript, hire a professional copy/content editor for the final edits, create the book cover, format for eBook, format for print, assign ISBNs if needed, write the blurb, upload for eBook, upload for print, create and manage a budget for publishing the manuscript.

My measuring results follow each deliverable. For example, my first deliverable is to write the manuscript so my measuring result is to have the first draft of the manuscript completed. My second deliverable is to edit the manuscript so my measuring result is to edit my manuscript until satisfied that it is ready. I continue the same approach for each deliverable.

The timeframe will follow each deliverable and measuring result. The first draft of my manuscript will be completed by April 30, 2014. My edits will be completed by June 30, 2014. Again, each deliverable that has a measuring result will have a timeframe for completion.

I will repeat Goal 1’s deliverables and measuring results for Goal 2, Goal 3, and Goal 4. My timeframes will be different to reflect my five-year timeframe. Other goals that I have listed include sales, marketing the books, building readership, and advertising. Each goal will follow the same pattern as above.

Good luck!!

Writing a Business Plan, Part 1

Business plans are a great way to set goals for business or personal use. You can customize the plan to fit your needs. You can be as professional and detailed as you want or be simplistic based on the audience that will be reading the document. The purpose of a business plan is to make you think about what you want to accomplish in the next one to five years and how you’ll go about it. The document can be used to acquire a loan or investors, to let stakeholders or employees know what’s expected, or it can be a personal contract that only you will read. First, know your audience and complete the plan accordingly.

Example: My business is writing. I want my business plan to be simple yet detailed. I want a plan on how to grow my career as an author. The audience is for me only. I don’t need a thirty-page document to explain to a bank why they need to loan me money; however an agent may be interested in knowing my plan if I chose that route.

The following is for a simple yet detailed business plan for a writer or author. If you’re not a writer or author, you can customize the titles to fit your needs. You’ll get the drift.

The first page of the business plan should be the summary that provides the set-up, the purpose, and high-level goals. If the information can fit on one page, you’ll be able to post it to a wall or board as a reminder of what you want to accomplish. Here’s an example of what to include for the first page:

Business Plan
• Name: This is you or your company name.
• Author’s Pseudo Name: This could be your name, your company name, or DBA (Doing Business As). If you have a publisher, you may want to write in the publisher’s name. If you don’t have a pseudo name or company name, omit or leave blank.
• Address: Your residence or company’s address.
• Date: Today’s date or the date you finalize the plan.
• Type of Plan: A typical business plan is for five years. This can be a one-year, two-year, or XX-year plan. A few writers from my group chose a one-year plan in order to concentrate on writing and publishing one book.
• Mission: Why are setting out to do this work? What’s important to you or what do you value?

Purpose
• Type of Writing: This includes whether it’s fiction and the type of genre or if it’s nonfiction and the subject.
• Number of Stories to Write or Publish: What’s your high-level goal? If the business plan is for one year, are you set out to publish one book? Do you want to write four novellas?
• Main Story Theme: What will be your brand or how are your stories going to tie to each other.
• Unique Value: What will make your stories stand out from similar stories already written and published?

Goals
Write down at least five high level goals that you want to accomplish. If you want to write and publish four books in five years, each book would be a goal. Other goals may include networking, marketing your book, or selling your book. Just remember to be realistic.

This one page is enough for a simple or napkin version of a business plan. Next week we’ll continue to add more detail to the business plan.

Lessons Learned: Networking Basics

Networking is an important part of anyone’s career, especially those in the arts and entertainment industry. I was thinking about my family and how we have an author, an actor, an artist, and a musician in our folds. Even though the same principles apply to all of us for networking, we learned in different ways.

The author: Beth M James. I began to draw in readers long before “Gitana – Life Plan” was published. I attended classes to hone my skills and talk with other aspiring novelists. I became friends with those in my class, other writers, authors, and readers through groups and conferences. I also created my online presence, like this blog. I started my network before my career even began.

The actor: Nathan Dean Snyder. My nephew started in theater performing Shakespeare plays at the college he attended. After college he auditioned for commercials and TV shows, getting small parts here and there. By meeting other actors, they helped each other out by announcing who had auditions and where to go. He then co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in the movie “The Sigil.” He started his network by expanding his career from theater, TV, to movies—both in front of and behind the camera.

The Sigil Poster

The Sigil Poster

The artist: Pamela J. Snyder. My sister paints beautiful works of art on copper and on canvas. She attended classes with some well-known artists and became friends with other artists in the Sacramento area. She rented out space in two different galleries to sell her work. They took turns managing the stores and talking to customers. She then joined forces with two other artists to open their own gallery. During open houses, they could easily see 200 people a night. She started her network by combining forces with other artists.

Pamela J Snyder

Pamela J Snyder

The musician: Dean Snyder. My brother-in-law sings and plays guitar for enjoyment rather than as a career. Still, his story connects to networking. He volunteered to sing and play guitar at the gallery for one of my sister’s open houses. People loved him. They asked if he had a CD they could buy or if he’d play at one of their events. My brother-in-law politely declined their offers (nor did he have a CD to sell), but the potential was there. By helping my sister out, he had the opportunity to build his own network. He started his network by helping someone else.

We each had different ways to start our networks, but we had one common component as well. We had the support from people like us…other authors, actors, artists, and…musicians artist (okay so Dean’s doesn’t match but his story was a little different). I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my writing and author friends. Listen to your support group. Learn by what they do. And, help your friends out as well. Your network will grow.