Everyone needs to make a coffee shop business plan!

See, I’ve taken the courses, learned the stuff, and figured out how to do the things. What I have learned is that creative types don’t survive around a boardroom table working out the details of their business as it applies to their particular craft. What does work are hasty ideas scribbled on the back’s of napkins, late night coffee sessions at the truck stop diner, or as is the more common case, a casual conversation at the coffee shop. With my previous post, I was writing all about the need to think of your craft as a business. This post is the follow-up, so we’re going to go ahead and do a coffee shop business plan session.

Business Plan? That sounds official and serious?!

Official and Serious? Well it is; and it isn’t. See plans are nebulous things until they’re written down. You plan to have a cup of coffee, you plan to buy a lottery ticket, you plan to retire to a tropical island after you win the lottery. Some plans are more possible and tangible than others. The thing with business plans is that they’re a more formalized decision on what’s happening in your business than the usual, -well, this is working, so we’ll do more of it, but that flopped so we stop effort over there-.

Most small businesses, or individuals trying to run a business, don’t think like a business. Now, I know this is a general statement, and you are probably not one of the masses, you understand you’re running a business every time you post behind the paywall, every time you submit to a blog-roll in hopes of getting paid. You’re building your brand, making a name for yourself. Right?

If you’re not then we need to talk, like now.

There is a solid reason for having a plan in place, and it is as simple as you might think. It can be summed up in the following picture:

So, where’s the Beginning?

This is why you need to sit at a coffee shop and actually think about the answers to the questions, then write them down. Laptop, iPad, coil notebook, hieroglyphics on a stone tablet, whatever works for you. But write them down.

The concept is summarized nicely in this article from the Entrepreneur.com but for the sake of simplicity, you need to consider and record the answers to the following questions:

1- What is it you’re trying to do? Why?

2- What resources do you have to hand, and what do you need to locate before moving forward?

3- Who are you marketing to? Why? What do you want to see as a result?

4- How are you going to measure your success?

Final- review these questions, expand on them and revise as needed periodically.

Here’s a graphic from the Leanplan.com guy Timothy, the first four tiles are about what we’re aiming for as online bootstrapping entrepreneurs.

Let’s take a walk through my theoretical planning to be a writer shall we?

1- What is it you’re trying to do? Why?

For my situation, I’m trying to supplement my main income, spread some knowledge and generally help others so avoid the pitfalls I see every day in my real job, and in real life being a father of five, full time accountant, and trying to write on the side. So I blog/journal/article about just that and maybe somebody else can learn something rather than having to go it alone the hard way.

2- What resources do you have to hand, and what do you need to locate before moving forward?

I’m lucky here, I’ve got all the technical tools I need, in order to execute this strategy, due to already having if from my accounting practice. I will probable need an editor, and a cover/graphic person if I want to start pushing these as packages or standalone resources, but as it is. English is my native language, I’m fairly good with it. Translators will be needed if I want to go to another language base.

3- Who are you marketing to? Why? What do you want to see as a result?

Obviously, I’m blogging this out from my personal author website, and bumping it through Medium. English is my native language, I’m fairly good with it. trying to connect with other beginning writers who are prime to fall into the pitfalls I see getting sprung on hapless innocents every day by my own government. *ignorance of the rules is not a defense, lenience is often not forthcoming* As for why? English is my native language, I’m fairly good with it. busy enough doing what I do, helping people out of these messes. Most accountants I know are also more than busy doing so. If I can help raise the fiscal and taxation awareness, or at least get people thinking about it before it’s too late, then that’s what I’m aiming for.

4- How are you going to measure your success?

Wealth and Fame?

Um. Probably not.

But truthfully, the reach I can get is the metric I’m aiming for. Engagement and commentary is awesome, but more eyes and minds thinking of this stuff is way more important than anything else I can think of. And having read too many boring texts, if I can make this stuff readable, then we’re on the right track, really.

In Closing

This is a brief overview of my answers to these questions, I have revisited this framework a few times, and upgraded or refined the relevant points. Originally my target market was only ‘Medium Authors’ But that’s naturally grown past that point, and now includes fiction authors, non-fiction authors and all the other fun things that people write about.

So, you really should at least get a napkin and a pitcher of your favorite brew, sit down and figure out what your personal answers are for these questions.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHARE THEM WITH ANYBODY! But it’s imperative that you, yourself, know and understand them, so you can move forward with the right mindset.

Next Time?

Next up are a pair of topics, not sure which should be first since I often tackle both of them simultaneously. Budgeting, and Execution.

-Budgeting is just that, make a budget or three, look at what’s realistic and what’s possible, and don’t forget to include one that has all your life costs, not just the business in it. You’ll be surprised at the picture that comes up.

-Execution – from my perspective, this usually involves what’s needed to track details, income, expenses, and payable/receivables. It could also include the technology or particulars of how you’re going to produce what you produce, and what the input/outputs of such operations are. This stuff get’s deep fast, so I’ll try to keep each article to a bite sized chunk and cross link where relevant.

For now, I’ve gotta go put my hand on ice, I smashed it yesterday in a block of wood, and it swelled up quite bad, so typing is kinda hurting. Until next time.


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