The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success

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Jennifer Lee helps creative types make a living doing what they love by using - rather than stifling - the imagination and intuition that make them creative in the first place.

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Chapter 1: Starting from the Top

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The Skinny on the Righ-Brain Business Plan Process and Structure

Every right-brain entrepreneur needs a Right-Brain Business Plan. And a Right-Brain Business Plan needs a creative, innovative approach and will walk you through the basic building blocks of your very own visual map for success.

Think of this book as a friendly companion that will guide you through the creative planning process. You’ll get lots of passionate inspiration along with practical information.

While this book focuses on right-brain techniques, it’s still organized in a left-brain way. (See? The two types of thinking really do go hand in hand.) Although I’ve suggested a structure to follow in which each chapter builds on the one before, know that your planning process will probably be nonlinear at times. Feel free to work through the chapters sequentially, or focus in on certain topics, or skip around as you evolve and refine your plan. Make it work for you.

Developing your business plan doesn’t need to take months and months of agonizing, researching, and writing — at least, not with this right-brain approach. If you prefer to dive in and get things done within a condensed time frame, and you spend a day or two on each topic (chapters 2 through 8), you can have a plan within a couple of weeks. Or, if you prefer to space things out and have more time to reflect, you can cover one topic per week and complete your plan in a couple of months.

 

Chapter 2: Crafting Your Business Vision and Values

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Where Is Your Business Headed, and What Do You and Your Company Stand For?

Your work, like that of most creative entrepreneurs, authentically expresses who you are. You set up shop because you want to do things

your own way and make your unique impact on the world. Your creative business reflects your vision, values, and voice.

Your vision is the big picture of your business (and your life). It’s where you see yourself heading and includes how you’re making a positive difference, what success looks and feels like to you, and what makes life and work ripe with fulfillment and meaning.

Your values are what you hold as most important to you. Values are your lifeblood. Values are what make you tick. Many solopreneurs honor their personal values through their work, so your business values may be based on your personal ones.

Your voice is the unique way in which you show up in the world. Your authentic voice helps you stand out from the crowd. If your vision is the big picture you’re painting, and your values are the colorful paints, then your voice is like the beautiful brushstroke you use to bring your vision to life.

 

Chapter 3: Painting Your Business Landscape

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It's a Big World Out There —
Where Do You and Your Business Fit In?

As a creative entrepreneur, you could happily spend all day in your studio painting, at your computer writing, or otherwise completely immersing yourself in your meaningful work. It’s your love of what you do that drives you. When it comes to crafting a business plan, though, you must also ensure that your passions intersect with what people are willing to pay for. You can have a great idea, but if there’s no market for it you won’t have a successful business. And, even if there is a market, other businesses are out there competing for the same dollars in your potential customers’ wallets.

This means that, in addition to pursuing your passion, you need to understand the relevant business landscape. This is the big-picture view of your industry and where you fit in.

Several different elements make up your business landscape. You’ll be looking at both external and internal elements.

The external elements are outside your control (no matter how much you’d like to control them!):

 

Chapter 4: Getting the Word Out with Marketing

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Find and Connect with Your Perfect Customers

When it comes to talking about your business, would you rather lay low than toot your own horn? Many right-brain entrepreneurs would rather let their creative work speak for itself than actively spread the word about what they do. Unfortunately, this means they limit their exposure to potential clients, which in turn can stunt the growth of their businesses. And that’s definitely not what you want here, right?

You may be a rocking graphic designer or wedding photographer, or you may knit the most adorable wool hats, but if the right people don’t know about the amazing work you have to offer, then how are they going to buy it? That’s where a solid brand and brilliant marketing come in. These help you get the word out about your business in an intentional and targeted way. Even if you’re already promoting your business, do you know what’s working for you? Which of your marketing efforts are most effective? Are you spending too much money and not getting the results you want? Are you reaching the right people?

 

Chapter 5: Managing the Moola - Color by Numbers

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Develop a Financial Plan with Fun and Flair

Well, my right-brained friends, let’s be honest; we’re at the point in the process where creatives might suddenly feel an urgent need to do laundry, walk the dog, or take a nice long nap. Yep, you guessed it. We’re headed into the dreaded numbers! But wait; don’t go running for the hills. Sure, the financial part of the business plan can seem scary and intimidating to many of us. However, one of the most thrilling and rewarding aspects of running your own business is making a living doing what you love. Instead of passively receiving a paycheck from a soul-sucking rat-race job, you get to feel the pride of turning your creative passion into profit and to appreciate every hard-earned dollar. Now, that’s something to stick around for and get excited about. So, let’s talk more about bringing home the bacon. I swear it won’t be as yucky as you think!

You’ll be surprised to know that your right brain is actually an asset when it comes to your finances. Your left brain will help you pinpoint your specific expenses, but your right brain will be able to discover the bigger picture and patterns, especially when you use visual aids. Plus, your right brain sees past the numbers to connect with how your earnings can help you honor your values in work and other aspects of your life. Your right brain knows that your creative business is not just about making money — it’s also about finding meaning and enjoyment in pursuing your passions.

 

Chapter 6: Corralling Your Creative Cohorts

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Build a Creative Playground of Business Support
So You Don't Have to Go It Alone

As a creative, independent spirit, you may be used to doing things solo. No one else can do it quite like you can, right? Doing what you love should be the core of your business, and I have no doubt that you’re the perfect person to do what you’re passionate about. However, that doesn’t mean you have to know every aspect of your business or do everything on your own. If you’re bearing most of the burden, I bet you often feel isolated and burned-out. When you enlist support, you can focus on your interests and natural gifts, maintain better balance, and have more fun.

You’re not alone on your entrepreneurial journey. If you haven’t already, approach trusted friends, family members, and colleagues and let them know about your business vision and how they can help. Brainstorm with them to help flesh out your goals. Seek mentors, teachers, and connectors. Perhaps the perfect person to help you is someone from work, or an old classmate, your neighbor down the hall, your hairstylist, your doctor, or your mail carrier … you never know who they might know.

 

Chapter 7: Action Planning - Where the Rubber

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Make Your Plan Real with Goals, Strategies, and Action Steps

Now that you have a big vision for your business and you know where you want to head, you may be wondering, “Okay, what’s next?” Well, in order to move forward, you need a plan of action. As a creative person, you may find that structure and planning are not your favorite things. Don’t worry. In this chapter, you’ll learn some simple tools and creative systems for getting into action.

Action makes your Right-Brain Business Plan real. Without action, your business plan is just a pretty piece to look at. Your collage will hang there collecting dust on the wall, your spreadsheet will never see the light of day, and you’ll be wondering why you don’t have more customers and why there isn’t more money in your bank account.

Forget that scenario! You want to bring your plan to life and manifest your business vision soon. By doing the following exercises, you’ll define the specific goals, strategies, and action steps needed to make your vision real. If your Right-Brain Business Plan is the visual map of where you want to go with your business, then the goals, strategies, and action steps are the landmarks, routes, and turn-by-turn directions to guide you to your desired destination.

 

Chapter 8: Weaving It All Together

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Put the Finishing Touches on Your Right-Brain Business Plan

Throughout this creative planning process, you’ve delved into specific sections of your business plan. You’ve looked at your big vision, your business landscape, your perfect customers, your numbers, your goals, and your actions. Whew, how’s that for getting a handle on this crazy thing called a business plan? Yay, you! Now you get to integrate all the different parts in a way that inspires you. It’s as if you’ve gathered swatches of exquisite fabric and you’re ready to sew them into a magnificent patchwork quilt. With your finished piece, you’ll be able to step back and see how it all fits together and where your plan is taking you.

This chapter will help you put the finishing touches on your plan, including crafting any outstanding sections and adding any crowning embellishments. We’ll make sure there aren’t any pieces missing. Plus, we’ll explore how to tailor your visual plan to suit the suits, if a loan or investor backing is what’s needed next in your business.

 

Chapter 9: Maintaining the Magic and Momentum

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Keep Your Right-Brain Business Plan Alive

Bravo to you for making it through the creative exploration and planning process (and even bearing with me on some of those left-brain details)! Creating, exploring, and planning are just part of the fun. The other exciting part is growing your business and truly making your vision real. You’ve done a great job of crafting an inspiring, visual plan for your business success. Now how will you maintain the magic and momentum?

This final chapter offers you lighthearted and practical pointers for keeping your Right-Brain Business Plan alive. We’ll talk about ways to stay connected to your vision. You’ll come face-to-face with your inner critic so you can bust right through the doubt and keep moving forward. You’ll learn how to conduct regular check-ins to assess your progress, how right-brain thinking can continue to be your ally, and how to celebrate your successes. And lastly, you’ll discover ways to connect with other creative entrepreneurs for more support and inspiration, and I’ll suggest possible next steps you can take to continue growing your business.

 

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