"Business Plan" is one of those words that I hear and find myself getting instantly sleepy. The great news is not every entrepreneur needs a full business plan. You can business map like a boss without having to invest the time to develop a full plan all while making sure your business has the potential to be viable!
What is Business Mapping?
The important thing about creating a business strategy is that everyone needs to understand it. If there is no understanding, then how can you work by it? This is where business mapping comes into play. It segments your business into nine simple building blocks:
This method of "Business Planning" spoke to my creative side. As a mother, it made it easy for me to do during a coloring project with the kids and it allowed me to steal their crayons and colored pencils and get perspective from my little ones about what I mapped out.
Its focus is pretty simple: How You Create Value!
Now you have identified these categories, you are tasked with answering the questions associated with them.
Which one of our customer’s problems are you helping to solve? Which needs are you satisfying? What value do you deliver to your customer? How will you reach your customers? Which channels are most cost efficient? Who are your key partners/suppliers? And who are the most costly?
Think of Business Mapping like creating a prototype of your business; something that encapsulates the essence of what you intend to do but you get to pull in a bit of your inner child into it. You can be as refined as you want once you've figured out your strategy.
It is your tool of inquiry and will serve as a thinking aid for you to explore your new business idea, and all that it could be. It will help you develop crude ideas and rapidly accept them or discard them. It allows you to examine possibilities before choosing and refining your ideas, methods and processes. In essence it helps you tell your story and then make smart decisions.
How Will it Benefit Your Business?
Viability. You may have been scribbling brilliant ideas on a napkin for years, but it is only by completing your business map that you will truly understand if it is viable. Will you be able to deliver value, at a price point your market will pay, at a cost that will leave room for profit?
Discover Your Niche. Recognize what makes your business stand out from the crowd. The most successful businesses have a strong, unique concept and a clear identity. Understanding your niche will help you define your marketing strategy, create stronger relationships with your clients and even decide your business location.
The Business Pitch. When starting your business, there is one thing that you will get to know like the back of your hand, and that’s your business ‘elevator’ pitch. Whether you are speaking to a bank, an investor, a supplier or a potential client, you will need to have a clear, succinct pitch that helps tell the story of your business. They do not want to know you are the next Starbucks or Lulu Lemon or Google, they want to know how you are going to provide value to your clients and how you will make money doing so. Your business map provides you with the facts to help tell your story.
Engaging Employees. If you are going to employ a team, they will need to have a crystal clear understanding of the vision of the business and how they can contribute to it.
Provoke Ideas. You may have been talking for a long time about your vision for your business, and have it all mapped out in your head, but until your write it down, you will not understand how different areas impact each other. This can be a great thought provoking tool that will help generate new and innovative ideas you had not previously thought of.
Here are some Mind Maps examples of Business Plans that have helped me get started on the big, productive and quite fun strategic picture:
This article is based on the global best selling book, Business Model Generation, and it’s affiliated Business Model Canvas.
Finally you don't have to be stuck with the typical Business Plan model!
If you need assistance structuring your brand strategy I'd love to champion you on your purposed path! Trust me, you'll find my unique methods rewarding!
Contact me at Lena.W.Anderson@gmail.com for your free 30-minute consultation!