When I started my first film production company about twenty-five years ago, I wrote a business plan for my fledgling company to try and encourage a loans officer from a big bank to give me money. I used the template he provided for me, and struggled my way through pages and pages of questions that I didn’t really understand. In the end, I created a sexy-looking corporate document that was light on real substance but heavy on gloss. It was also spectacularly unsuccessful; I didn’t get the money and the loans officer thought I was deranged for wanting to make movies as my profession. Go figure.
Even though the document didn’t get me what I wanted, the process of planning was thoroughly rewarding. It made the business seem real, more than just a dream in my head and a fuzzy idea of what might be possible. By writing down everything I could think of about my business, and putting all those ideas together into a narrative, it started to be more than a gleam in my eye and became a real-life business.
However, the 30+ pages of information was a chore, both to write and to read. Ennui set in pretty early and it contained an excessive amount of waffle. I longed for something shorter, more efficient, and more fun. It was definitely a process, and a document, that could be improved upon.
This year, when faced with the daunting task of having to write another plan for my current organisation, on top of the overwhelming amount of stuff that also needs to be tended to, I decided to try a simpler version. The result? Our completely fabulous one-page business plan specifically designed with the needs of creatives in mind. Download it here.
Our one-page plan was inspired by Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas, and helped along by its cousin, the Lean Canvas model. Ours is similar, but with some wonderful quirks specifically designed with creative practitioners in mind. Like those other fabulous examples, our Business Plan is also released under a Creative Commons license, so you can download it for free, use it as you like, and share it with others.
It covers the usual topics of a business plan, but also asks for some practical details (such as your structure, your website address and so on), and some unique elements just for us (questions about your health and wellbeing, and your Unicorn Projects). It includes loads of helpful instructions to help the process, and tops off the process with a 12 Week Action Plan (or Goal Matrix) to help you put all your brilliant ideas into practice.
Business plans are a bloody good idea, but they’re not usually talked about as something that creative people would want to engage with. With the Creative’s Ultimate One Page Business Plan, you can play with the process, take your time, pour yourself a glass of wine and really immerse yourself in planning for your creative business success.
Writing a business plan is a bit like therapy. It’s scary to begin with, and even a tad painful, but once you get into the process it’s incredibly worthwhile. Your plan will help you define your goals, understand what you’re creating, and forge ahead with a great passion and drive to make your dreams come true. You won’t regret it.