The Business Plan
The website of the Small Business Administration stresses the importance of developing a Business Plan, a 3-5 year projection of the future of your business. It should include the following components: Executive Summary, Company Description, Market Analysis, Organization & Management, Service or Product Line, Marketing & Sales, Funding Request, and Appendix.
Taking a look at this page (here) and also reading an e-book from a beyond successful freelancer, I think that business plans are a great idea. It gives you focus, and helps to secure financing for your new business. I was going to write a Business Plan, but then I stumbled upon The Business Model Canvas one rainy October morning.
I’m going to try something different. While reporting on an event, I happened to meet one of the Founders again for the company I mentioned in my prologue. The company’s name is covello, and they were sponsoring this particular event on entrepreneurship. The event was a couple of months back, and the Founder M. Cole Jones explained a type of business plan more geared towards entrepreneurs—The Business Model Canvas.
So I will take this serendipitous encounter one step further and first thank covello for the template--thanks M. Cole and Michael. Second, I will use it to develop my company in the way that they suggested that I should.
Created in 2008 by business theorist Alexander Osterwalder, the Business Model Canvas offers a more real-time template for startups such as Turns of Phrase. Really, I found the real-time approach helpful since I think that the template allows for adjustments along the way. Already I've made one--this blog series. So I can't expect that there won't be more along the way.
One reason for writing a business plan is to secure funding for your new venture, but my expenses are low compared to others’. A laptop, printer, and paper are inexpensive compared to leasing an office for a year, for example.
So given my unique circumstances, I think that a short-term projection in the beginning stages might just be better because too many unknowns exist that might need to be adjusted. Why not use a plan that allows your business to evolve?
The Business Model Canvas includes nine focus areas: Key Partners, Key Activities, Value Proposition, Customer Segments, Customer Relationships, Key Resource, Distribution Channel, Cost Structure, and Revenue Stream.
One benefit of this business model is that it allows a company to “iterate”. I would like to devote a blog post to this entirely so that I can have a stronger understanding, but I remember the concept vaguely from math. Iteration is where an answer continues to be plugged back into an equation until the equation produces the desired result, or as close to it as possible. (Source and example: here)
In entrepreneurship, iteration allows you to test your product out with the market and then adjust accordingly until your business is where it needs to be in terms of supplying the right product.
So my “product” is content, quality content that people want to read and are inspired by.
One more thing I appreciate about the plan is that it’s visual. Just looking at it, I feel like I’m looking at a puzzle, actually putting the pieces of Turns of Phrase together.
Well are you ready?
Now I’d like to unveil The Business Model Canvas for Turns of Phrase. I’ll also include a link at the bottom of the template I used. Maybe it will help you too.
- Business Model Generation Website, http://businessmodelgeneration.com/book/order
- Wikipedia Article, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Model_Canvas
- "Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything" by Steve Blank, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2013/05/why-the-lean-start-up-changes-everything
- Small Business Administration, https://www.sba.gov/writing-business-plan