The Inevitable Business Plan
Just these two words are enough to make my skin crawl! Since we started Bis Films in 2008, we’ve been struggling with the question of whether we need to write one or not at all! Following a Yes Montreal conference, Youth Employment Services, the topic was brought up several times and the opinion was unanimous: Get it done! Then after assisting a separate four-part seminar teaching start-ups the basics on writing a kick-ass business plan, I finally decided to stop putting it off and to chip away at it one question at a time. I have to specify that I started working on it during winter and had already experienced three months (out of five!) of looking for work. I knew I had a gloomy task ahead, but I was motivated!
I found a great business plan template online and got to work. The first questions were simple enough: Executive Summary, Define your Products and/or Services, etc. But then I got stuck and depressed. It seemed as though everything I had written was pure fluff and pomp and that I actually had no clue what Bis Films was about at all, or at least, I couldn’t put it into words. So I concluded that our company didn’t need a business plan. That our work would speak for itself… A foolish thought! The following months I kicked myself several times as we were not able to apply for several grants. Poo!
Luckily I didn’t have to think about it for too long, because several contracts came rolling in and lasted until now. As you’ve probably guessed, the beast has resurfaced. Last week, I received an email from Yes Montreal informing us that they are calling for 1-2 page business proposals that run a chance to be picked by business students and developed into business plans. Thank you Yes Montreal! I know that I could easily have put an add on Craigslist and found some overworked student to write one for me, but I didn’t like the idea. Anyways, for the past two days, I have been writing my business proposal and have finally found the words to describe what the hell Bis Films is all about. I realize now that asking yourself important questions that help you define your company (Who are you and what do you do?, What is your Target Market?, What are your goals and objectives?, etc) are essential in helping you choose the types of projects you want to work on. As a result, Bis Films has gone from jumping on any and every video project, whether it be a music video, documentary, corporate gig, etc to recognizing the projects we actually want to work on. I now need to streamline our website content!
Fingers crossed, our business proposal will get picked. If it doesn’t, at least I will have asked myself important questions that will ultimately help propel my company further. If you have a business or project that is dependent on private or public funding, get cracking on your plan. But if there’s no urgency, as was the case with Bis Films, just try to answer the key questions that will help you understand your own business and the direction you want it to take!
In any case, here are some great links to help you in your search. Enjoy!