by Janine Fitzpatrick
My idea of a "business plan" is to make some pretty stuff, display it attractively where the public can see and hope like hell it sells. Unfortunately, the bank manager doesn't class this as any sort of plan. The thought of compiling spreadsheets, estimating cash flow, and designing an executive summary of my business idea brings me out in a cold sweat. Which usually means I relegate it to the too hard basket and continuing blundering on with a lot of "big picture" visualisation and very little attention to detail.
In The Right-Brain Business Plan, by entrepreneur Jennifer Lee, counteracts the creative person's aversion to all things financial by crafting a step-by-step guide to get you focused on a plan of success for your business.
Lee ditches the finance-speak of standard business books and adopts an easy-to-read style, peppered with hints and tips on running a successful business and examples of how individuals have created their own right-brain business plans.
You are given permission to have fun with creating your business plan - the first step is to get out the old magazines, scissors, glue, crayons and stickers and go all visual.
The scary terminology is dispensed, competitive analysis becomes a business landscape, the elevator pitch is replaced with engaging in meaningful dialogue, the executive summary is re-termed hearty highlights, and the financial plan is a moola map with moola goals.
At each stage there is a creative activity to spark your imagination on what your business will look like, who your customers will be, how much cash you need to make it a viable concern. You splash all these thoughts into collages, posters, brightly coloured planning sheets. It helps to turn a dry subject into something much more fun and thought-provoking.
About now you are thinking, that's all very nice, but my bank manager is likely to experience a cardiac arrest if I lob into his office with posters, mind maps and tear sheets. It's OK. Lee ends each chapter with a left-brain checklist to keep you on track to be able to speak the language of the logical when it comes to that time. One last chapter is devoted to showing you how to convert all your beautiful work into a format that will win approval from the accountant types.
The information Lee presents is not new, however she has repackaged it into a format that is user-friendly and enjoyable. The hands-on activities force you to thinking more deeply of what your business can be. Working through each stage of the business plan would give structure and cohesion to your ideas. It would be a useful resource for those just starting out in a creative business, but also for those who might have hit a bit of slump in their business and need to reinvigorate their thoughts and strategies.
The Right-Brain Business Plan is published by New World Library.
Janine Fitzpatrick is a former radio producer who has had a stop-start career. Over the years, at the bequest of the mortgage-holding bank manager, she has worked in an assortment of industries. There was education, media, public relations and sales to name a few. A book-lover from way back she has reviewed books for the ABC Mid North Coast Morning Show and the Hardie Grant Book Club. In a blinding flash of midlife crisis, while lamenting the lack of creativity in her life, she did what all wannabe writers do and started a blog, Shambolic Living. Here readers get to feel far happier about their lives when they experience the chaos of hers. She is coming to terms with being the mother of two teenagers, has given up on the dream of a tidy house and still plans to write a book one day.
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