Fueling Creative Growth: Craft Winning Business Plans for Creative Venture

Business Plans for Creative Venture

One of the most crucial—and sometimes most intimidating—first stages in starting your own creative endeavor is writing the ideal business plan. It can help your ideal design business feel much more real as it’s the first genuine step in carefully preparing your endeavor, but it can also be challenging to know where to begin. It would be foolish to completely omit this step, even though you might be inclined to.

A well-crafted business plan gives your entire company focus and direction. It can assist you in obtaining funding from banks and/or other investors, but even if that’s not what you’re after, it can assist you in identifying a market niche and determining how your design firm would close it (while making a profit).

It’s time to write down your ideas before you start looking at wireframes for websites, selecting a logo, or looking for studio space. Your strategy should be readable, well-focused, and, most importantly, it should outline the reasons why your company will succeed. We’ll look at the ten standard components that every business plan should have in the guide below, along with suggestions for each one. See our guides on how to start a design business and how to become a better graphic designer for further advice on starting your creative endeavor.

What should a perfect business plan contain?

While there are general guidelines as to what should be included in a business plan, there is no one structure or formula that works for every situation. Depending on who you’re writing it for—a bank or other possible investor, for instance, or just yourself and your colleagues—the specifics of how you write it will vary. 

The most effective company plans are typically concise and straightforward. They provide a clear explanation of your objectives, your plan of action, and the steps you must take to fulfill them. We’ll go through the more conventional components you should include in your business plan below, but there are no hard and fast rules.

01. Write an executive summary

An executive summary is not necessary for a private plan, but it is for a more conventional public plan. It can also be very helpful in summarizing the main points of your business.

After the entire process is finished, write this section last. For newly created creative enterprises, your summary should not exceed one page, and for more established businesses, it should not exceed two pages.

Add the following important elements that are included in the completed plan and that you would discuss as a business in a five-minute meeting if you were basing your discussion on this plan:

  • Your Mission– What specific objectives do you have for your life and profession?
  • Product/Service – Describe your offering in detail.
  • Support Network– Who in your life will work with you to realize your goal?
  • Market analysis– What prospects do you see for your company and industry going forward?
  • Marketing– What are your plans for breaking into the market?
  • Finances– What is your daily income requirement? What portion of your salary do you set aside for living expenses, savings for the future, and creative endeavors?

02. The basics

This section should contain definitions and an overview of your industry, your own aims and ambitions, the history of your area and any current events, elements that contribute to your success, and ownership of your business. Your business plan’s foundational section will lay the groundwork for the information presented in the remaining sections.

  • Goods and Services: What services does your company provide? This can be brief and broad, with space for additional explanation in the part that follows.
  • Mission Statement: A mission statement is a succinct statement that explains a company’s purpose and guiding principles. It is often no longer than thirty words. What motivates you? What inspires you to work hard? Regarding what do you have a strong passion for?
  • Business Philosophy: In the world of business, what matters most to you? What morals, principles, and motivations drive your decision to pursue this career?
  • Give an overview of your creative sector. Is the industry expanding? What short- and long-term changes in the industry do you anticipate? In what way will your company be positioned to benefit from them?

Should you be employed in more than one industry, you must respond to these inquiries for each one. 

  • Describe your fundamental abilities and key business strengths. What elements will ensure the company’s success? What do you anticipate being your main advantages over the competition? What qualifications, abilities, and qualities do you individually contribute to this new endeavor?
  • Form of ownership legally: Who is a co-operative, proprietary limited company, partnership, or sole trader?

Why did you decide on this form?

03. Compose an elevator pitch

An ‘elevator pitch’ is a condensed version of your business description that you can use to quickly and effectively market it to clients or possible investors. An elevator pitch ought to be readable in less than two minutes. The pitch is meant to be given to any prospective investor you happen to run into in an elevator, but even if that kind of encounter is rare for you, the material will still be helpful in figuring out what your future company’s unique selling proposition is. 

The name of your company, your objective, the services your design firm will provide, the clients it will serve, and what sets it apart should all be included in your elevator pitch. It must be concise, clear, and devoid of any jargon or filler.

04. Explain who you are (and any partners) 

The second component of the ideal business plan should include a description of the individuals that are driving the company, which includes you and any partners you may have. You should briefly describe your background and education, your motivation for launching your creative company, and your plan for its success. 

Attach professionally written resumes for each company partner, following our guidance on creating the ideal creative resume. This section aims to both allow you and your partners to assess your capabilities and how you intend to use them, as well as to demonstrate to investors why you have the know-how to make your firm successful.

05. Explain who your clients are

In addition to outlining your identity and the services your company will provide, a flawless business plan will provide a detailed account of your ideal client. What is their base of operations? What wants do they have, and how are you going to meet them? Posing these queries to yourself will help you gauge your level of understanding of the target client and may indicate areas that require further investigation. Make sure you truly comprehend your ideal client, and there’s a greater likelihood that an investor will too.

You should give a brief description of your ideal client, including why they choose you for design services, if you have previously collaborated with them, and if you currently have any projects planned with them. Try to be as specific as you can. If you have prior experience working for a certain client in any capacity (maybe as a freelancer), mention it here as well, as this shows that you can bring in business.

06. Conduct a SWOT analysis

Keep in mind that other factors affect your company besides only your clients. In addition, there are rivals and the overall status of the economy. What size market are you planning to serve? What is the anticipated rate of market growth going forward? Who will be your primary rivals going forward, and is there likely to be more competition? Among the things your market analysis will need to address are these inquiries. 

To identify the possibilities and risks in your market and contrast them with the advantages and disadvantages of your company, you need to conduct a basic SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Make a list of all the rival companies, big and small. Examine their strengths and weaknesses and think about how your offering will stand out from the competition. Opportunities are outside elements that have the potential to grow your company. Is the market shifting? Are clients asking you to perform a specific type of work that you excel at?). Threats are similar but different (imagine if funds suddenly dried up for your illustration studio; how would you respond?).

This study will assist in identifying areas of focus and gaps; after you’ve completed this, review your sections to ensure your company remains relevant. You can also include any on-the-ground market research you can conduct (such as speaking with previous customers to gain their perspective on the industry).

07. Products and services

Give a detailed description of your goods or services. What can you provide? In addition to being able to explain what you are selling, you should be able to point out what makes your product or service special.

Examine the following list to see if any of the items spark any ideas for offerings: 

  • Advertisements, Animation, Comedy, Composing, Corporate Videos, Dance, and Design Services
  • Writing, acting, fashion, drawing, illustration, film, video, games, graphics, improvisation, interiors and buildings, landscapes and gardens, multimedia, performance, photography, radio, teaching, television, theater, training and education, visual art, voice work, web work, and so on

A few questions regarding your products:

  • What credentials do you have in these fields?
  • What are your advantages and disadvantages in this field?
  • What are the things that will make you more or less competitive?
  • What is the price of your goods or services? How did you calculate this amount?
  • On what grounds have you made this assumption?

08. Your Mission Statement

Although it may seem a little goofy, a mission statement may be a helpful tool for understanding your own vision and beliefs and for keeping you on course. It can also strengthen your sense of purpose and provide you clarity on what you’re doing and why. 

Composing a personal and/or creative mission statement is very different from creating a business one. Starting with oneself is the wisest course of action. Discuss some of the following questions to gain insight into your beliefs and identity. 

  • Which values do you uphold? What values do you uphold? Honesty, creativity, money, assisting others, pursuing your passion, love, danger, independence, justice, community service, efficiency?
  • What skills do you have? Where have you been successful in your life? If you’re at a loss for words, what accomplishments or compliments have people given you?
  • Who motivates you? Do you have any celebrity role models that you admire? What about relatives or friends? What characteristics unify them all?
  • What life events—personal, professional, or creative—have had a lasting influence on you? Why?
  • What aspects of your life do you love? What’s happening to you when you’re happy? What are the takeaways from this?
  • What areas of your life would you wish to do better at? Examine every aspect of your life—personal, professional, and creative—once more. When are you most productive? How about the worst you could have?
  • How would you spend your life if you were relieved of financial worries and had no other distractions in your days?
  • Lastly, what self-promises have you made regarding the kind of life you wish to lead?

Here’s when it gets tricky. Attempt to summarize everything in a single sentence. “To” is the first word to use. For instance: 

  • “To create beautiful paintings that inspire people and show the world in a new light.”
  •  “To use family photo-taking as a means of celebration and connection.”
  •  “To produce written works that elucidate meaningful concepts and tell a compelling story.”

Make it succinct, memorable, clear, and motivating!

Using a mission statement, you hope to address some of the major “why” questions, such as “why are you doing this?” What is the purpose of your company? What are you trying to accomplish? Why is this the case rather than just working for someone else? 

Your personal, professional, and creative lives will all benefit if you can articulate this to yourself and others. It will also help you in your marketing efforts. 

09. Outline your marketing strategy

How are you going to connect with possible clients? by word of mouth? Promoting? promotional content? social networking platforms? on your own domain? Ideally, you should have the answer to this issue after conducting market research to determine how prospective customers would discover and use the services you’ll be offering. 

With the probable exception of word-of-mouth, all of these are rather expensive, so make sure the marketing strategy you specify in your company plan includes an estimate of those expenses (see finance below).

10. Identify your USP

Upon completion of a SWOT analysis, which should include a study of your competition, you are prepared to identify your unique selling proposition, or USP. It is imperative that you incorporate this into your business plan. It encapsulates the main reasons a customer would select your company over a different creative enterprise. What will you do differently now? 

Typically, a USP can be summed up in one or two sentences. Although it could be difficult, the shorter it is, the easier it will be to concentrate on delivering it. 

11. Forecast your budgets

It’s time to outline how you plan to generate revenue now. Think about specifics like how long you spend on assignments and how much you will charge. Indicate your hourly rate if you plan to charge one. Also, you must specify how you will be paid (this should most likely be on the invoice).

This is where you must also specify your expenses. Any prospective investors will be quite interested in this, so pay close attention to it. You should list all of your expenses, including one-time ones like the equipment you’ll need to set up and ongoing ones like staff, rent (please specify where you’ll be working from), bills, insurance, and software subscriptions.

Determine how much you hope to make and how much you will need to make each month to sustain your firm by adding up all of your monthly expenses and other operating costs. A cash-flow prediction helps you determine whether you’ll be able to make things financially work by illustrating how much money will come into and go out of your design business. This might be a sobering experience.

Be realistic yet also pessimistic. It is doubtful that you will be working at your maximum rate from the beginning, so don’t expect to be. Underestimating your performance and exceeding it is preferable to the opposite. You must also list any financial requirements you may have for possible investors in this part. In this instance, specify how long the funds will be needed for and provide a thorough explanation of your intended use of them.

12. Create a backup strategy.

And lastly, what happens if nothing works out? The significance of devoting sufficient time to crafting an impeccable company plan has been emphasized; yet, plans are just that—plans—and sometimes things don’t go as planned. It’s crucial that you have a backup plan because of this.

What changes, either short- or long-term, will you make if things aren’t working out to make things better? Do you have strategies set for how you could increase the profitability of the firm if it isn’t profitable? Could you give up foreign clients or pitches in favor of domestic ones? Rather than hiring a junior designer on a full-time basis, is it possible to use freelancers as and when needed? Could you convert to a coworking space or reduce the size of your intended studio space? For ideas, check out our list of the best coworking spaces worldwide.

Writing a business plan for a creative company involves a lot of considerations, but if you do it right, it may help you stay focused and ready for any obstacles you may encounter. Writing your plan will be the first step in achieving your goal of making your business successful if you have that kind of desire.