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.

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