By now, you’ve already decided that it’s time to start your own creative business. If you have a good understanding of your value, message, brand, and available resources, it’s time to get into your first business plan. Don’t worry! We’re going to go through an easy-to-complete one page plan that will help you strategize for your future creative endeavor!
Remember: This one page “plan” is meant to help you develop a business model around your art. A business model is a strategic plan for how your business will operate, and is based around what we discussed in the last blog. (Make sure to revisit this page if you’re not totally clear on your value, message, brand, and available resources.)
I’m going to present you with 8 questions on which your business model relies. Try to answer confidently and succinctly. Your compiled answers will create your first strategic business plan!
Based on your value, message, and brand:
Who is your ideal customer? Mention demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) and psychographics (their interests, their career choice, etc.). Is your target customer a person or a business? Be as descriptive as you can. If you think you might have multiple target markets, write down each one so that you can test out your expectations in the first few months of operating your business. Learn as much about your potential customers as you possibly can!
How are you going to communicate with your ideal customer? Think about what channels you’ll use to make them aware of your services. Channels can be: social media, website, traditional marketing like billboards, word-of-mouth through referrals, etc. Also think about how you are going to communicate with your customers once they are already your customers. How will you work with them? Maybe it’s online, over the phone, in-person, or something else. Don’t forget to think about which methods will help you share your value and brand most clearly.
How are you going to deliver your value to your customers? If you’re selling a product, how are you going to deliver that product? If you’re selling a service, how will the customer receive that service from you? What does the process look like? Customers will want to know what working with you looks like, so plan out your process strategically.
What skills do you need in order to create and deliver your value? Most likely, you already have the skills you need to create your art-based product or service. Try describing them. Also think about skills you will need in order to promote and deliver your value to others. You might need website-building skills, networking skills, etc. Try to think outside of the box here.
What resources will you need in order to create and deliver your value? You’ve already evaluated the resources you currently have. Are there any others that will help you to build the art-based business you envision? Think software, partners, space, etc.
What is it going to cost to create and deliver your value? You’ll need to consider materials, travel, your own labor, and more. Write down all of your expenses, so that you can decide on how much to charge your customers. Your prices should be higher than your expenses, so that your business can make a profit. (If you’re pursuing a growth company, you may need a large amount of money in order to start-up. We’ll talk about potential funding sources in future posts. If you’re pursuing a lifestyle company, costs generally come about for every new project you work on.) Understand when your expenses will appear and how you will pay them.
How are you going to make money? Will you have multiple product or service offerings? How much will you charge for each? How will you collect the money you’ve earned?
What does the competition look like? It’s crucial to understand what the competitive landscape looks like so that you can know if: your prices are attractive, your value and branding are truly unique, how others communicate with your potential customers, and so much more. Start with a Google search, ask around your creative community, and learn as much about your competitors as you possibly can.
So… that was a lot, huh? Don’t worry. Creating a strategic business model takes lots of time and thought, but these questions will help put you on the right path. Look at your written answers and see where gaps exist. This is where you will want to focus your attention before officially starting your business. You might want to get going right away, but these gaps can cause you to be unsuccessful in the future. If you want your business to succeed, building a solid strategic business model is key. It’s like they say: If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
This blog is going to cover each of these questions in more depth, so that you can do your best to prepare your art-based business. Follow below and continue building the creative business of your dreams!
P.S. You’re building a brand that’s going to last. Be patient.
P.P.S. Strategyzer.com’s Business Model Canvas is the method from which this one-page plan was derived.