I have just revisited my Right-brain business plan, and I am amazed at how much this has helped me plan my business. I started using on Jennifer Lee’s book "The Right Brain Business Plan" a couple of years ago. Back then, it was purely theoretical.
My life has changed, and now I’m full time self-employed and loving every minute. And I thought it was probably time to re-visit my plan.
The concept of the right brain business plan is for creative people (supposedly Right Brained thinkers) to get their heads around the problems of going into a successful business. Businesses require planning, businesses require an understanding of the bottom line, and having a strategy.
Jennifer Lee’s Right brain business plan book, allows creative types to work in their naturally creative way whilst still working towards a sensible achievable business plan.
Deep down I think the way we can all achieve more, and use our brains more effectively is to use both sides of the brain. But when you consider how “left brained” and activity writing a business plan is; spreadsheet on sales and expenditure, net and gross profit, legal issues etc etc. It makes sense to be more creative in the planning stages, before you get to the formal written part.
There are lots of techniques to use, Jennifer is a particular fan of collage, but you can use all sorts of visual stimuli to help you understand what your real business values are.
The right brain business plan isn't a walk in the park though, you really have to drill down and work out what it is you're offering your customers, who your customers are, and how you are going to manage the moolah! You have to do considerable research; no SWAGs allowed (silly wide-assed guesses).
My business plan incorporates a variety of techniques. I began with an accordion book collage, my first collage was created two years ago and I've stuck with the basic principles I created then. However almost everything else in my plan has now been re-vamped.
I have to consider my core values; what really makes me tick in business. I have to consider who my ideal customers are and how I should speak to them. How should I get the word out beyond spending lots of money on advertising; there has to be a more creative way to find out where my customers are and how I can send them a clear message.
You have to be really specific to with your business plan, no vague ideas allowed! I have to make sure I have all my action steps in place and a date for when those action steps will be achieved, that way I increase my chances of success considerably.
I also have a section on ‘milestones’. When will I be able to celebrate those little victories when I have achieved what I set out to do.
Like all business plans you have to face up to the reality of making money. You can be creative in the way that you make the money but you still have to to address the problem of spreadsheets.
My business spreadsheets and business accounts do not appear on my visual business plan board but they are addressed in the book and I found it extremely helpful to approach them in a creative way. It keeps me inside my comfort zone when I'm feeling least comfortable!
My big Right brain business plan board also begins to cover Jennifer's second book “Building your business the right brain way”.
I have mapped out my Entrepreneurial ecosystem. This again looks at my core values, it looks at what I offer my customers, and how I can attract them. It also makes me consider how I can be supported by other experts in my field.
It also helps you plan your year ahead, sometimes thinking in terms of the seasons can be extremely helpful if you're selling creative merchandise. Mapping out Mothering Sunday, Valentines day and Bonfire night are all opportunities to reach your customers with seasonal merchandise.
Sometimes you can get lost in the myriad of things you have to do as a solo entrepreneur. The Right brain business plan helps me prioritise what I should be doing and when. It stops me getting lost. It's not so much a plan, its a map! Its a visually stimulating, inspirational map that can keep me on track.