The No-Business-Plan Business Plan

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I’m not a big fan of business plans (or plans in general, for that matter), but it can be good to get ideas out onto paper.

I get a lot of questions from people who are stuck. They’re not sure which direction to take or what to do. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you. What I can do is help you figure it out yourself. If you complete the exercise below you will have a business plan of sorts. But remember: more important than any business plan is to get off your ass and do some shit. Test out your ideas. If you succeed, great! If you fail, learn from it and try something else.

Get out the pen/paper (important) and go …

1) What are you good at?

List all your skills, both professional (stuff like computer programming) and hobby (stuff like playing an instrument).

2) What are you not good at?

Answering this question is important because it will keep you from going after something just because of the money. Following the money is OK if it aligns with you, your skills, and your personality. But otherwise you’ll be swimming upstream and that’s not fun.

3) Of all the things listed in Question #1, what can you teach well?

If you needed to show someone how to do your skills, which would be most fulfilling? Do you love showing people how to do anything?

4) Can you see yourself doing that for the next 5-10 years?

If not, you’re not really interested in starting a business. Choose something else.

5) Do people pay for that skill?

In other words, are people already making money teaching what you’d like to teach? If not, you won’t make any money. Choose something else.

6) Where do those customers hang out?

How can you reach your potential customers? Get really specific. Do they hang out in certain online spaces? Do they hang out in certain physical spaces? Also, are they a certain age, gender, nationality (demographics) or do they have similar thoughts/philosophies (psychographics)? (The demographics and psychographics go deeper than just these few things, so buckle down and really get into it. Write down a complete profile of your target customer.)

7) Is there something missing in this market?

Another way to look at this question is: Do you teach your skill in a markedly different way than the norm?

This question is important, because to gain a foothold in any market you need a hook. What makes you different? Why should people give a shit about what you have to say?

I don’t know many people who do this better than Benny. He pisses a lot of people off because a lot of his information is contrary to what others teach. And he makes a lot of people fall in love with him because his information is contrary to what others teach. (Did you catch that?)

8) What product can you create based on all of the above information in 40 hours?

40 hours is enough time to create a great product, but it’s not so much time that you’ll never ship. 4 hours per day for 10 days and you’re done! Or 2 hours per day for 20 days! You can have a product ready to go in less than a month.

Easiest to create: PDF, audio, video. (You don’t need any fancy skills to create any of those so no excuses.)

Sell!

Once you’ve created your product, go back to the places your customers hang out and get your offer in front of their eyeballs. Maybe that means PPC or Facebook ads. Maybe that means having affiliates or bloggers review it and send it to their e-mail lists. Maybe it means having your inner circle tweet it out. Whatever it is, make it happen.

Wrapping It Up

Answer those 8 questions (it should take less than 3 hours to get down to the nitty gritty) and you’ve got yourself a business plan. Do it or don’t. The choice is always yours.



9 COMMENTS

  1. I think you just condensed a $27 eBook into a single concise blog post. Very cool. I’m particularly excited about the idea of a 40-hour product. I’m going to do this as soon as SXSW clears out of town. And I already know what it’s going to be. Thanks!

  2. Karol, you’ve nailed it with those principles. So many people seem to miss the one -> Is there something missing in this market? They ‘go into business’ without any market niche but are just another snout in the already crowded trough.

    • Solving a problem in the marketplace is the easiest way to build something successful. Not solving a problem is the easiest way to build a failure. :)

  3. A 40 hour product. You’re pushing me further with this one! We’ve been contemplating doing a small niche affiliate driven product site and I had formulated I could do one from start to finish, including the product, in one month, maybe two. 40 hours though. Could I finish a product that quick? I’m starting on my next product soon and maybe I’ll just have to track the time from start to finish. :)

    • 40 hours is actually much longer than most people think. I think. :) I’ve done it before so I know it’s possible. It helps if you outsource certain tasks that you’re not good at or don’t like to do. (Hence the reason for answering Question #2.)

  4. H.B. here. I find it helps to discover WHY this “new great thing”
    is necessary before I can find it. You know the initials – WIIFM? What’s In It for Me? (You!). Gotta find the answer first.

    If the creator of the hot, new idea (me) understands the BUYER’S mindset,
    it is a lot easier to figure out what they are missing and would pay
    dinero to have. For themselves or in my case, for their guests (others).

    Example: one of our companies is in the Wedding field. Specifically,
    we put on shows at weddings, engagement parties and personal
    events. We bring make-believe gambling games – the guests win prizes.
    We also have a very successful thing called a Photo-Booth – you remember them from penny arcades – you get a strip of pictures. Well, our pix are
    even more sophisticated – videos too.

    The point is before we started this at weddings etc. I had to know WHY?
    the party-givers would pay big-bucks to entertain their guests in the first place.

    Answer: Internet Mentality & TV have taught us to be BUSY all the time.
    Watch folks on the train constantly reading their Email, and texting, and
    playing GAMES endlessly. The rest are singing along to the music in their
    ear. We are COMPULSIVE-DOERS! That’s why evening at weddings – busyness is necessary or the party-goers lose their minds.
    Highly Endorse Your Ideas,
    H.B.

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