What comes first when I start planning for my business?
So you’ve decided to kick your dream up a notch and start working on a business plan. You open the blank document, your fingers are on the keyboard… now what?
Here’s what SAM has to say:
Start with figuring out your revenue sources…
First things first, you need to know the reasonable places where you can get revenue. Generally, in arts organizations, there is revenue from ticket sales, program advertising, registration fees, that kind of thing. But don’t forget about the other less glamorous side of things, like asking for money with grant proposals and fundraising. When you are starting out, you generally can’t afford to skip on one of your possible sources of revenue. So focus up – finding out your revenue sources tells you where to put your efforts so that you can take off.
… then figure out how much revenue is realistic in the first few years…
Next, you’ve got to look at the numbers and find out what’s a realistic revenue target. And you have to do your research first. So rather than kind of just saying, well, we’ll sell $10,000 worth of tickets, it is far more worthwhile to go to similar companies and figure out how much money they generate through ticket sales and other revenue sources. So grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and ask those with a bit more experience what you should be expecting before you write down a random number.
… and then move on to project planning.
The first two steps were all about getting your foundations right, and making sure your expectations are realistic. Don’t be so pessimistic that you don’t even try to build your dream business, but keep your early goals manageable so you can achieve them and gain momentum. Then, from that solid foundation, you can see which projects to start with and where you should be investing your time, money and effort.
It may feel counterintuitive to build in this way. You have this idea for your organization’s first project and all you want to do is make the project work, no matter the cost… but hold on. Consider taking it slow. Consider working up to your ultimate dream project over a few years. Why? Because then you can work up your organization’s resources and connections so that your project (and your organization) makes a bigger impact.
Plan and build with intention. And if you start to struggle with your strategic plan, you know who to call. (hint: it’s us!)