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How many of you cringe when you hear the words business plan? Or maybe even worse… budget, cash flow or P&L statement? If you’re like me, those terms (especially the financial ones), make your skin crawl. Yet, as an entrepreneur it’s vital to know where you’re going and what it’s going to take to get there.

So, how about approaching business planning (and life planning) from a visual, creative and fun perspective instead?

The idea of doing a more right-brain approach to my business plan came to me while brainstorming materials with my colleagues Starla Sireno and Tara Russell at The Fearless Entrepreneur. As we refine resources and exercises to use with our business coaching clients, it’s also important that we walk our talk, too. So, I revisited my business plan (originally in a boring, static Word document) and decided to update it for 2008 and beyond using my art visioning techniques.

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Above are the front and back covers of my Artizen Coaching business plan accordion book. I started off decorating the front with a really cool art studio image from a magazine. Then I thought it would be clever to have the back be more of the “zen” in the Artizen.

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Here are some detail shots of the interior.

Typically a business plan has sections such as: an executive summary, company description, industry analysis, target market, financials, marketing and sales plan, etc.

In the first couple of pages I wanted to just set the tone of my business and also list out the different products and services I’m offering or working on.

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Next, I got clear on my strategic alliances and affiliations – who I’m working with and what organizations I belong to for networking and support. It’s a relief to know I don’t have to go it alone!

For the finances, I really wanted to concentrate on abundance and chose images/words around that. I have my P&L statement folded up in the little manila envelope so I can pull it out and look at it when I need to.

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These last pages are about marketing and getting myself out there. Part of what triggered doing this project now was that today I received galley copies of the book that I’m featured in: The Girl’s Guide to Kicking Your Career in Gear and I got excited about next year! I also want to write a book, so there’s a little 3D book attached to one of the pages.

Tomorrow, I’m going to write out more details on the back of each page. Now that I have visuals and the emotional connection to what I’m wanting to create, I can articulate it more clearly in words. I’ll probably write out my strategy and tactics in a creative way, too, and have some images as well.

How do you plan out your business and personal goals? What if the process was more fun and engaging? What else would be possible for you if you let your creativity and intuition run wild?

[tags]National Blog Posting Month, NaBloPoMo, Art Every Day Month, business planning, right-brain business plan, art visioning, expressive arts coaching, business coaching, entrepreneurship, collage, book arts, accordion book[/tags]

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Marilyn November 30, 2007 at 6:46 am

Oh, Jenn, this is BRILLIANT!!! I LOVE IT! And what I really love about it is that although it’s a totally genius(!) idea for a business plan, it could also be used for a general life plan. I used to collage a lot when I was younger–and I still enjoy doing it–but sometimes what keeps me from doing it these days is space. We have a tiny place and space is limited–I don’t really have a lot of space for vision/dream boards…and it doesn’t make sense to me to make them only to stick them in a closet or behind a shelf. But this is so brilliant because you can fold it up and carry it with you! Especially good for those of us who work in day jobs that don’t necessarily relate to our ‘dream’ life. Sometimes you need those moments of inspiration when you’re grinding through the 9 to 5…to pull out something that’s a dream touchstone. That’s been something I’ve done for years…throw things into my bag as I’m heading off to my job to give me a little peek (peak?) :) …of inspiration in my workday. Sometimes it’s a book that inspires me…sometimes it’s a photo (and I use my PC’s desktop background for this purpose, too, and change it daily)…sometimes it’s an object (a couple of days ago I took the tiny wand I bought in Sedona)…sometimes it’s a piece of jewelry I’m wearing that carries meaning only to me. Your accordion book idea is perfect for that! :)

P.S. The link to “The Girl’s Guide…” took me to Ladies Who Launch sample business plans… ??

Jamie November 30, 2007 at 1:02 pm

BRILLIANT!!!!

The exact same word came to my mind as it did to Marilyn’s. BRILLIANT!

I am SO going to explore this approach. Thank you so much for the inspiration and for sharing your brilliance!

linda November 30, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Hi! I quickly popped over from Marilyn’s blog (1st comment) and before I could read much (I’m a terrible reader anyway) I thought the photos of your accordian book were of a walk-through exhibit. I mean–I thought they were about 8 feet high!!!
(Beautiful.)

leah November 30, 2007 at 6:12 pm

this is such a cool way to do a business plan! and definitely so much more right-brain friendly. thank you so much for sharing it jennifer!

Tara December 4, 2007 at 12:23 am

Ooooooooo…I LOVE this!!! So creative and so YOU! Thank you for sharing. :)

Cynthia Martyn December 23, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Hi Jennifer, I am the Toronto Leader for LWL and just came across your blog posting while searching for ideas about creative business plans. What you have done is beautiful and inspirational!

I have posted about your plan on my blog: http://mindingherbusiness.typepad.com/mhb/2007/12/the-right-brain.html

Cynthia Martyn
Business Coach for Creative Women
Toronto Director, Ladies Who Launch

Sacred Suzie January 4, 2008 at 8:06 am

Sheer creative genius for those of us who need visuals in our lives for expression!

jhay April 11, 2008 at 12:26 am

I’m supporting this idea all the way! I can not imagine who would disagree with it. On the whole – make posts like this more often.

Dan November 4, 2008 at 12:44 am

Brilliant. It has been proven that the creative education and unique approaches to problems taken by designers cause measurable differences between businesses. Apple is a primary example of this. I think your idea is one way to explore business/life goals in a more intuitive fashion in line with our most sophisticated sense: thinking in pictures.

Another article for those who are interested in more visual/right-brained/artsy-fartsy business and life planning is:

http://www.metropolismag.com/cda/story.php?artid=3182.

I REALLY enjoyed that article, and I think most of you would as well. Thanks for taking the time to share your great ideas and implementation! Cheers,

Dan Hodgins
CEO/Founder
Easiology.com
Vancouver, Canada

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