Visual Planning – helping you see the big picture
Here at Cockpit we run workshops on Planning for the Year Ahead for designer-maker businesses. Here’s the notes from the workshop and some top tips on planning:
Plans need to be easy to use and a traditional written format doesn’t always appeal to creative right brain thinkers who can prefer something less linear and wordy. So during the sessions we looked at lots of different tools including mind maps, vision boards, wall planners, one page plans and the Business Model Canvas which has been developed as a very visual way to create innovative new businesses. Everyone then had a chance to spend time creating one of their own and mind maps seemed particularly popular!
Mind Maps® are one of my favourite planning tools. Easy to use and full of colour they enable a number of ideas to be connected quickly in a very visual way. To create your own just start at the centre of a blank, landscape page, use a picture or just the name of the topic you want to focus on – so for a plan it would be your business name. Create a branch for each area of the business; marketing, finance, product, customers, sales channels etc. You will quickly see ways in which all the areas of the business connect. It can also be a great way to have a bit of a brain dump so that you can get some perspective on all those ideas that are currently swirling around your head.
Mind Maps® are registered trademarks of The Buzan Organisation www.thinkbuzan.com
The process of creating a vision board is very similar to one you might use to create a mood board. Choosing images that represent how you would like your business to look, it might include your space, products or new markets. You can either cut them out of magazine s or use an online tool, there are a number of different ones including www.Myideasbook.com and the fast growing Pinterest www.pinterest.com.
One Page Plan
Another quick and easy way to create a plan on just one page. Just take a large piece of paper – maybe from a flipchart – using it in landscape, mark out the months along the top of the page. Down the side list all the activities you need to undertake in your business, it might include R&D, production, marketing, shows, admin and finance. Just start mapping out which activities you need to do each month – your year will soon start taking shape and it will be easy to spot areas where you might have too much or not enough planned.
Are very similar to the one page plan but using a traditional wall calendar – or creating your own size to allow more space. It’s a great way to start adding more structure and detail to your planning – the first step is to put the ‘big rocks’ in first – your priorities and things you have already committed to doing, which might include Open Studios. Using a colour code to indicate different activities e.g. red for marketing, blue for planning, green for making, orange for shows/exhibits makes it much easier to understand how your year looks at a glance. Put it somewhere you can see it every day and then put the small day to day actions into your diary.
Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas can be used to explore ways you might want to change or develop your business. On one page it uses 9 building blocks including customers, money and sales channels which can be used in varying combinations to create different businesses. It helps ask questions such as what would my business look like if I change my customer markets, how would that affect where I sold my products or how I produced them? Post it notes can be stuck onto the different blocks to easily discuss and test the various options. For more information go to www.businessmodelgeneration.com.
Read more about planning on Making It.
Read more about upcoming workshops.
Filed under: Business Planning | 2 Comments
Tags: planning, Workshops