Want to write a business plan, but you’ve almost bored yourself to death thinking about it? Sure, business plans are important, but they don’t need to be a 125-page document. If pages and pages of text don’t excite you very much then you might prefer to turn your journal into a visual business plan.
You’ve probably heard successful people discussing how keeping a journal is one of the keys to their success. Oprah once said, “Keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you never imagined”. In fact, it is such an effective tool, many successful people often use their journal first thing in the morning to plan out their day, AND then again at night to reflect.
While journals can be used as a personal tool, I use my journal for pretty much everything business related, too. For example:
- Fleshing out ideas
- Plans of action
- Goal setting
- Writing down tips from people I admire or mentors
- Documenting my progress
- Reflection and review
It is very rare to see me without a pen and notebook or journal. I am always creating lists, notes, sketchnotes or doodles, and capturing anything I find inspiring. Apparently, I am not alone. Richard Branson once wrote on the Virgin blog: “Note taking is one of my favourite pastimes. I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas”.
What is a visual business plan?
You see, for me, my journals have become more than just notebooks. They are my very own blueprints to map out and smash my goals. They are a tool I use to creatively plan and document my business journey, as well as my life adventures. Rather than just creating pages and pages of writing, I use sketches, photos, clippings from magazines/newspapers, textures, art, quotes and typography to essentially make what I call my “incited media” journal (you can read more about this process here)
The reason why the process of creating an incited media journal is so powerful, is because a visual business plan evokes particular feelings and emotions because you fill it with meaningful words and images. This means you are more likely to take action on your goals because it is far more motivating to look through a visually stimulating journal, than it is to read a long, boring text document. For me, when I look back through it, I see my dreams coming to life and evolving. I get inspired and excited (incited!).
Awesome, right? Wanna give it a try?
Here are five ways you can build your visual business plan using a journal:
Business Management: Develop your initial concept, products and services by brainstorming ideas. Jot down your strengths and weaknesses. Map out the structure and model of your business.
Business Operations: Think about what the day-to-day operations will look like. List out the activities you will do to generate income, and take photos of where you will operate from (or maybe where your dream location is). Search for images of what your products will look like and stick them in your journal, or do some rough sketches of them. Pencil in potential suppliers, and set up pages to track and measure your success.
Business Marketing: Create a mood board of your brand using words, colours, and imagery. Build an avatar of your ideal client and let it evolve as your business does. Collect photos of what similar businesses look like, and think about what your point of difference will be. Brainstorm your social media campaigns, and write or sketchnote drafts of your content for blogs, articles, and press releases.
Business Finances: Use your visual business plan in your journal to set goals and track your finances. You can use imagery to help you visualise the rewards you will receive by reaching your targets (I have photos of beach houses and holidays on the financial pages of my journal to help motivate me).
Personal and Professional Development: A visual business plan can help inspire you to succeed. You can use text, photos, and snippets of articles to motivate you to become great at what you do. These can include books to read, podcasts to listen to, and information on leaders in your industry.
As a content creator, these pages help me think of what further knowledge I need, and the skills I need to master to become a trusted knowledge broker in my niche. I take all of my learning notes in my journal. For instance, when I recently completed the Perfecting Blogging course, my journal was right by my side so I could write down key points and action items.
Now, if you think you like the idea of building a visual business plan using a journal, here are a few tips.
- If you like creating vision boards, but want to change them as you evolve, snap a photo of them before you take everything off. This way, you can stick the photos of your boards in your journal so you won’t forget what you had on them. By using your journal regularly, you can watch your business plans evolve.
- Create a spread in your journal of an ideal day or week to help keep you on track with your goals.
- Collect images and text from newspapers and magazines, scrap bits of paper, photos – whatever you like, and keep them in a box so you can add them to your journal. If you are short on time, check out the printable sticker packs in my shop. The photo below shows some of the elements available in the pack.
When you think about it, there are limitless ways you can use a journal to create your visual business plan. The great thing is, you can fill your journal with anything you want. You only need to check out Instagram or Pinterest to see the many ways people use their journals. But, I gotta warn ya – be prepared to become obsessed big time, because people are getting really creative with how they make their journals unique and inspiring. You are bound to find a style you love.
Lots of love,