By Tonya D. Price
I ask every indie publisher I meet to tell me about their business plan. Most of the authors I talk to admit they don’t have one. Some want to write one, but don’t know where to start. Many believe they don’t need a business plan. But talk to a successful indie publisher and they always have a business plan.
Running a business without a business plan remains one of the biggest mistakes an indie publisher can make. As the indie publishing industry matures, this crucial tool provides a tremendous advantage in a market flooded by self-publishers lacking business experience.
Let’s look at the top three ways a business plan contributes to the success of an indie publishing company:
1. A business plan requires you to decide how you are going to run your company and what you want your company to achieve.
We all have some idea why we are starting our business, but a business plan forces you to sit down and put into writing your goals and strategies for building your company. When you face obstacles, you can reread your plan to determine where you went off track and how to adjust.
2. A business plan forces you to think about how much money you have to spend, how much money you need to run the business and how much money you will need to grow your business.
You need to spread your limited financial resources between outsourcing work you can’t do yourself and the tools you need to produce, market and sell books. Don’t spend money you don’t have, but make sure you have enough money in the bank to pay for a sudden increase in sales. A business plan will prepare you for the cost of success by helping you anticipate the cash coming in against the cash going out.
3. A business plan focuses your planning on your short-term and long-term goals and your strategies for achieving those goals.
With so many revenue streams available (eBooks, print books, audio books, etc.), new indie publishers often attempt to do too much too soon. Following strategies developed as part of your business planning will keep you focused on the most effective opportunities for growing your company.
One final note:
People will tell you not to do a business plan because:
- Business plans take too long to write.
They don’t. You can do a simple one in a weekend and should continuously update your plan as the market changes.
- Business plans are for borrowing money.
Not true. They increase the odds you will make money.
- A business book plan is more useful than a company business plan.
You need both. The effectiveness of you business book plan, (book marketing plan), increases when based on your strategies and decisions contained in your company business plan.
You can’t profit from a business plan if you don’t have one, so take a weekend and develop your roadmap to success!
Tonya Price is a published author, former business executive and has helped many startup companies with their marketing and online strategies. As a speaker, she has addressed high tech, Higher Ed and author audiences through webinars and at regional, national and online conferences. Her talks have covered a variety of topics related to small business, entrepreneurship, and business planning. Tonya owns Magnolia Lane Press, which publishes both fiction and non-fiction titles, including The Business Books for Writers series books such as The Writer’s Business Plan: A plain English Guidebook