The Creative’s Business Plan: Who says it’s 5 years?

Thinking of starting a business or you’ve taken the first steps in building your business?, you’ve probably been told that you’re going to need to produce a 5 year business plan. Well guess what, you don’t need to at all. The bank or investment companies may ask you to produce one and if they do then don’t loose too much sleep over it, they generally flick through it - if I’m honest I think they’re just checking you can read & write. I wrote a 5 year business plan, probably about 5 years ago, and I’ve never looked at it since the day I wrote it. 

Planning is very important, it provides you with aims and goals and helps you set targets, it keeps you focused on what you need to implement into your business to be successful. But why does it have to be a set number of years? It could be weeks, months, years, or decades, each individual and business is different. 

Make your business plan personal to you and the business you want to create, research how other successful businesses in your area have built their plans, you may want to spend hours creating a fully planned document or you may decide setting short precise goals with facts and figures is more appealing for you. Remember those tests you did at school, where they tested if you were a Visual, Auditory or Kinetic learner, well whatever you were/are try implementing that into your plans. 

Ensuring a business plan is written, drawn, designed or recorded on your own terms will make it relevant to your business and it won’t be daunting to look back at it and evaluate your success. The plan should address the issues you feel worried about and eventually give you the answers to build a profitable, honest and high quality business. 

Remember that a business plan can change, many things can effect the direction you take in business. Personally things like buying a house, moving home, having a child, marriage, money issues or family bereavements can cause you to re-evaluate your business plan and in business your interests in the creative industries may change leading you to restructure your plan. 

Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t achieve everything you set out in your plan, I can say from experience that if you work on the negatives and failures in your business you will create a successful and thriving business. If you don't achieve all your goals, make another action plan, inviting someone who knows you and the business well to sit down with you (over a beer/glass of wine is a superb way) and help you discuss why you didn't achieve those goals and what you need to do to over achieve them next time. 

Keep your eyes peeled next week for tips on what subjects to include in your creative business plan.