Last month I said that I was starting a business plan, so this month, I made having a business plan my month long affirmation. Here’s what I have so far.
Designing a Cover Sheet
The first page of a business plan is the cover sheet. As a creative person, this cover sheet should be as creative as possible. The old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is definitely true. The cover sheet is the first impression that others have of your business plan.
Just as I dress nicely when I meet a potential client or venue, so also should my cover sheet be dressed nicely. I have decided not to take this project lightly so this is a project that I am going to be working on throughout the upcoming month.
So far, I know my business name. My business name is Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing. In addition to the business name and the address of the business, I will include my tagline: “The books folks swan to read.”
I think that I am going to create a logo that represents both my company Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing and The Locket Saga. I will probably include some kind of swan as well as some form of a locket. Perhaps I can put a clipart swan in the place of the word swan in the tag line.
Beginning My Executive Summary
The second page of a business plan is the executive summary. As the title implies, this page summarizes the rest of what in the business plan. It gives a summation of details revealed in the rest of the document.
Just as I will be working on the cover sheet throughout this month, I will be continuing to work on this page as well. In some ways, this page reminds me of the abstracts that I had to write during college, but it is written more like an outline of the entire document. For the online edition, I will place book marks in the document and put hyperlinks in the Executive Summary. Of course, this will not show up in a printed version of this document, but it will provide a way for me as the author of the document to maneuver around the document with ease. There is no way to finish this page until all of the others are in place, but below are the summary topics included in my executive summary.
The Components of the Executive Summary
Headlines within my author/publishing business plan will include:
Contact and Location Information-Name of Contact person (in this case me), physical address of my business, phone number, email address, and URL to about page on website which has more detailed online contact information.
Mission Statement-A witty summation of what my business is about and in my case will include my tagline: The Books Folks “Swan” to Read. (More about this in the next post.)
Time Line of Business Activities- Named milestones and dates about the history of the business.
Business Bio Summary-Summary of the Business-what are you in business to do and how did you get where you are today?
List of Staff Positions- include temporary positions and contracted work
Business Investors: This is anyone who has invested interest in the business. In my case, so far the only person who has invested in the business is me, but because this is a business, I could myself as an investor.
Summary of Products: Since I have four books out (to date) these are the products that I list. Here I include name of product, initial launch date, and form of the books currently available. (Is it in e-book, paperback, hardcopy? Is it available as an audio book? Has it been translated into other languages?)
Summary of Services: as a writer and author, I am a writer and as a writer, therefore this would include various aspects of the services that I provide as a writer such as research, writing articles, writing online content of various types. However, this would also include paid and unpaid appearances that involve speaking.
Targeted Customer: Who reads the kind of book that I write? Provide summarized statistics of my findings.
Industry Projections: What is the estimated growth of this industry and this business in particular?
Marketing Summary-Summary of the strategies of how I am marketing my books
Financial Summary: Has the business been running at a profit or a loss? (This information probably would only be in personal copy of business plan or to financial institutions that I am seeking financial assistance) This summary would include future financial projections. This would also include what would use of funding requests from financial institutions.
Future Endeavors: A summary of Intentions and Goals with emphasis on what I will be doing next including marketing strategies as well as future projects (books).
A Living Breathing Document
Just as books that we write will not be perfect the first time we write them, I know that my business plan will not be perfect when we first write it, nor will it be a document that is carved in stone. This document is an ongoing living breathing document that will grow and change as my business as an author changes. If you are an author, do you have a business plan? What other aspects of an author’s business do you think you would add to a business plan?
Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .