A Brief on Business PlansA column article, The Burning Mind by: Ace Masters
Before I get too far into breaking down the business aspects of comics, I want to touch briefly on Business Plans. I am not going to get very detailed into how to write a business plan or what to put into one in this column, that will be done at a later date when it is time to write that all encompassing plan.
For now I simply want to give an overview on what a business plan is, types of business plans and why you need one.
Most people I talk to don’t think you need a business plan to publish comic books. Most, stupidly, don’t even consider publishing comic books a business. Oh, how WRONG they are.
What a business plan is
A business plan can be used for many things, but it is always one thing: A plan.
For whatever purpose it is used, it is a plan on how things are to be done, or how business is to be operated. It can be as simple as laying out the order in which you want to publish books, or as detailed as the exact percentage breakdown of profit for all involved, listing their duties in the company, ect.
However you plan on doing things, and what you plan on doing, should be list in your business plan. Your business plan can be an invaluable tool for yourself, and show to other people.
Types of business plans
Many people know what a business plan is, but they don’t realize there are different types of business plan. I don’t mean general business plans that can be adapted to different businesses. I mean two distinctly different types of business plans. What I call the In House Business Plan and the Investor Business Plan.
In House Business Plan – this is your company business plan. It should breakdown everything about the company, from a mission statement, to who is part of the company, what you plan on doing, how you plan on doing it, etc. Everything about the company should be in this plan. But, it should also be flexible enough to be modified and updated when need be.
This business plan should be your Holy Grail. The guideline for everything you will do as a comic book publisher. Everyone involved in your company should read it and understand it.
Think of it as a version of the Employee Handbook an employer has you read when you start a new job. Only your In House Business Plan actually means something.
Investor Business Plan – are you planning on finding seed money? Looking for an investor to put up money for the books? Maybe even money from family members?
If the answer is yes, then you need an Investor Business Plan. What is the difference between the In House Business Plan and the Investor Business Plan? A little and a lot.
In House Business Plan is geared to the people already involved with the idea of make things run smoothly. The Investor Business Plan has a completely different purpose.
With the Investor Business Plan you want to convince someone NOT involved to give you money. This takes a completely different approach. This plan cannot be a guideline. It must be a blueprint to the entire company, its operation, what it is going to produce, how, why and what kind of money it is projected to make.
With this type of business plan you must do three things: A) convince the investor you know what you are doing; B) show that you can make a profit; C) prove to the investor this is something they can’t afford NOT to be involved in.
Why you need one?
Because it is smart to have a plan. Every good business has a business plan. You want to succeed in business, you need a plan.
The point of any business plan (In House Business Plan or Investor Business Plan) is the success of the business. If you have a solid business plan, then that usually means you have done your research, planned and are ready for this journey. And make no mistake this is the beginning of an epic journey.
The business plan is a needed tool; it should be the light IN the tunnel leading your way.
Before you start any business venture, you need to identify things. What exactly do you need to identify?
That’s the question, isn’t it?