Do it with a friend.
Yes, look around your circle of family or friends and see if you have someone who knows you well, whose opinion you will trust, who can get inside your head and see where you’re coming from but who will be totally honest with you.
If you can select from someone you know that’s great but if it’s a choice between someone who knows you and someone who knows a bit about business, go for the business experience. It is really easy to get emotional about a business plan so an outsider with an objective view can be a great help. Don’t imagine it’s just being over enthusiastic about business that’s the problem, often its lack of confidence and self-doubt that means what should be a great new business, remains nothing more than a good idea.
So once you have your planning buddy selected it’s time for some brain storming. It’s really worth finding time and place where you can concentrate without interruptions. Have a good supply of coffee or a bottle of red whatever helps you feel relaxed but focused.
We looked in part #1 at creating your avatar now it’s looking at your products or services.
What are you going to do with your business, do you solve a problem? Avoid some pain or bring some pleasure to your clients? See this BLOG post for more on Pleasure V Pain. Preferably you will have at least three products set at three different price points, GOOD, BETTER and BEST. I will write another post looking at pricing in more detail because it’s an area that causes a lot of confusion. For now though let’s get clear on what precisely you’re selling and why your avatar will want to buy it?
Using photography for an example, almost everyone has a quite capable camera built into their phone which is always within arm’s reach. So why would they buy a photo from you rather than take their own? Years ago it was the quality of the photo that made the difference, the sharpness, the colour saturation and so on. Now that’s no longer a big deal so why else will someone pay you? Do you offer studios lighting that they don’t have? Do you offer props and styling to create an image they couldn’t create themselves? Do you do Photoshop work on the finished images that they can’t do? Put yourself in the clients place and ask the question, why should I pay the extra cost of your photos over my own?
You just have to be really clear about the benefits you can offer. If you aren’t clear, it will come across in your voice and your words and you will be struggling to convince anyone to do business with you. Worse, you’ll be feeling like you have to SELL yourself, rather than people buying from you. Not a nice place to be.
Focus on specific benefits, you can’t say mine is “better” or “higher quality” you need to know how specifically its better and what benefit that is to your client.
How then are you going to deliver your products or services? How will you package them? What will they look like? What will they cost you to produce and how much will they sell for? Accept that you might not know precisely, answers to these questions but fill out what you can with as much clarity as you can.
What resources will you need to create and deliver these products? What does your business physically look like? Where do you work? What resources do you have now and what do you need to get? How will you find your clients? How will they find you? How many do you need?
How’s the coffee supply going?
Let’s go back to the fun bit, look at this exercise not as a chiselled in stone royal decree of how it has to be, but rather a dream or a vision of how, if you could wave a magic wand over your future, this is what would happen and this is what you have faith to believe is possible for you to achieve.
If it is unbelievable for you to conceive, you may not go for it. Make it a stretch for you but definitely, but not unbelievable.
Again, get creative; maybe create a visual presentation or vision board of what your business and its products will look like. If you can’t enjoy thinking about it and make that fun what’s it going to be like working at it? Think of the planning like you might plan a holiday, get brochures with lots of photos, and imagine it as if it’s done. This is just a plan not your last will and testament. There’s plenty of opportunity to make changes and revise along the way. If you let it get serious that’s often where people hit the wall and the process stops.
If you want a hand with any of this planning session feel free to contact me.