Did you write a business plan before starting your own creative business and do you think it’s necessary?
Yes, I created a plan. I worked on it over the course of 2 years. In my case I’d say it was necessary. When I worked for other people all I had to worry about was doing the creative work. I realized that being self-employed was going to require a skill set larger than that… I’d have to learn more about taxes, book keeping, cash flow, contracts, negotiating, networking, marketing, computer maintenance, retirement planning for the self-employed… Even with a plan I completely underestimated the time I needed to spend on unbillable labor related to operations.
Your business can be an asset that you sell off one day… but only if you are organized and you have everything in order. A potential buyer may not be able to get a loan if your business is a mess.
I never did because I never intended to start a business. Over the years, it just sort of grew from doing an odd after-hours job here and there into a part-time thing and finally to something that I’m doing full-time.
For someone starting out with the aim of a full-time profitable business, I’d say developing a business plan is very important. It would be a bit foolish to just blindly jump into something on the hopes that it might work while making things up as you go along.
There needs to be a plan in place with goals, strategies, financing and contingency plans. You need to figure out how much it will cost each month, where the customers will come from, how you’ll find them and, most important, how you’ll keep the cash flow going so more is coming in than is going out. For that matter, if starting the business involves a loan from a bank, you’ll likely not get that loan without a business plan that looks workable to them (I’m assuming the same is true for NZ).
Wrote a business plan for a brand i wanted to start, during my journey i branched out into something different. Recently i stumbled upon the business plan and i am thinking of how to restructure and get the plan running
I did write a plan. I didn’t have any outside investors nor was I looking for a loan. The main purpose of writing the plan was to force me to think through some things in terms of marketing, organization, and support. I would say it’s a worthwhile practice for people starting on their own if, and only if, you are completely honest. If, for example, it’s not enough to say that you’re going to market yourself online, what does that mean? How many other designers are doing that? What kind of work are they getting? What kind of money can you make doing so?
Those are great points to consider, so it needs to be specific. What do you think you’ve changed the most from your original business plan?
Also - did you write a Mission Statement and/or Vision Statement and/or Purpose Statement?
I wrote mine in the early 90s. Suffice it to say, a lot has changed.