21 Questions to Answer Before Creating Your 2017 Business Plan


63767321 - woman right hand writing "business plan for 2017" on notepad on wood table with low key scene

I want to share a series of questions with you that I share with each of my clients. These questions form the foundation of what I call the “One-Page Business Plan.” Creative entrepreneurs tend to struggle with linear plans that include too many details. Yet, you still need to have a plan in place. A simple business plan serves as your road map for the year ahead. You don’t need to know all the steps right now, but you do need to know your destination and what you are working toward.

What happens to creative entrepreneurs who don’t have a plan in place? They often feel lost, overwhelmed, or stuck in their business. They lack clarity, which means they lack consistency. Creatives end up chasing ideas, trying every new marketing tactic that comes along, or simply avoiding marketing all together, hoping that clients will show up.

The solution for creative entrepreneurs is to create a business plan that captures both the basics and the essence of their business in a meaningful and visual format. Creating a visual, one-page business plan should feel fun, exciting, and motivating. My clients tell me that going through this process with me leaves them feeling clearer about their business than ever before. They feel excited to get into action, and the feelings of chaos and of being overwhelmed disappear.

Create a 2017 #businessplan that captures both the basics and the essence of your business.

Remember that creative entrepreneurs don’t think like other people, and that’s a good thing. We tend to think in circles and see connections where others don’t. Most of us became entrepreneurs because we want the freedom and flexibility to do the work we love, when we want to. We rarely have a clear separation between our lifestyle and our business. Creative entrepreneurs tend to take a holistic approach to business success.

Here are the initial questions that I ask my clients as we begin the process of designing a six-figure business that is a match for all of who they are and that supports the many roles they play: business owner, spouse/partner, parent, community volunteer, adventure seeker, athlete, yogi … you get the picture!

In a journal or a document on your computer, answer the following questions:

You:

  • What do you love doing more than anything else?
  • What are your core values? Take the assessment in the companion workbook to discover your Top 10 core values.
  • What does an ideal day in your business/life look like?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • Why YOU? What is your unique brilliance, i.e. what are you best at?
  • What is your big WHY? (This is what keeps you working every day.)

Who else is doing what you do? What do you love/admire about their work? How are you unique?

Ready to create a one-page visual business plan for 2017? Answer these 21 questions first.

Your Clients:

  • Who is your IDEAL client, and are there enough of them in the world to create a thriving busi­ness?
  • What PROBLEMS do you solve for this client?
  • Why are you the BEST person to solve these problems?
  • What services/products do you offer to solve these problems?

Your Money:

  • What is your BOLD money goal for the next two months, six months, twelve months?
  • What is your desired MONTHLY income?
  • How many SALES do you need to make to reach that income?
  • How many PEOPLE do you need to talk to in order to get those sales?
  • What is your COST of doing business?

Your Team:

  • Who is on your support team?
  • Friends/Family/Spouse
  • Mentor/Coach
  • Hired Team (Finances and Accounting, Web/IT, Art/Media, Management, Admin, etc.)
  • Strategic Partners (other business owners who target the same specific audience that you do)

Now that you have the answers to these questions, let’s get creative! What happens with most business plans is that they end up in a binder collecting dust on the shelf, stuffed in a file folder in a drawer, or lost in the computer. I recommend creating a colorful and visual version of your business plan that you can proudly display in your office. Below is the template I start my clients with.

Visual-Business-Mandala

For more ideas on how to do this and to work with me to get your plan in place, register for my 1-Day Dream. Design. Profit. Livestream, December 3, 2016. This is the perfect opportunity to have fun and focus on your 2017 business dreams.

LIvestream 1 Day FB Ad

Portions of this post originally appeared on minetteriordan.com

Minette Riordan, Ph.D. on EmailMinette Riordan, Ph.D. on FacebookMinette Riordan, Ph.D. on InstagramMinette Riordan, Ph.D. on Twitter
Minette Riordan, Ph.D.
I am Dr. Minette Riordan. I am an award-winning entrepreneur with close to 15 years experience in marketing, sales and education. In my professional life, I am a coach, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping creative women entrepreneurs build profitable businesses. I am also proud to be a wife and mom of two teens doing my best to maintain the balance in my life and in my business. I make art, write, cook and try to find more time to work out. I am crazy about Zentangle®, SoulCollage® and poetry. I love all of the roles I play and work every day to juggle all the balls that I am holding, sometimes I drop all the balls and drink a couple of glasses of wine. http://www.minetteriordan.com

About Minette Riordan, Ph.D.

I am Dr. Minette Riordan. I am an award-winning entrepreneur with close to 15 years experience in marketing, sales and education. In my professional life, I am a coach, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping creative women entrepreneurs build profitable businesses. I am also proud to be a wife and mom of two teens doing my best to maintain the balance in my life and in my business. I make art, write, cook and try to find more time to work out. I am crazy about Zentangle®, SoulCollage® and poetry. I love all of the roles I play and work every day to juggle all the balls that I am holding, sometimes I drop all the balls and drink a couple of glasses of wine. http://www.minetteriordan.com

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