See my introduction post about writing a business plan for your creative business. So far, we’ve covered:
- Question #1. Why do I want to sell my product?
- Question #2. Where can people find my product?
- Question #3. What am I selling?
- Question #4. Who will buy my product?
#5. When do people use my product?
Question #5 is pretty straight forward; during what situations do people actually use and engage with your product?
Is your product for everyday use? Special occasions only? Does it satisfy a need or a want? Those are two different things – necessities versus luxury items. Most people need a wallet; jewelry, on the other hand, is nice to own but not necessary to function. An item’s use will affect how and where you sell and market it.
This question ties in again with previous pieces of your business plan, like Questions #3 and #4. Your product’s use will also influence the language you use to promote and describe it (just like the feelings or values it invokes), along with where you choose to spend your time marketing it. Obviously, if you’re selling wedding-related products, wedding-related blogs or websites are a good place to begin advertising and selling your products. It’d be smart to promote your line of pacifier clips and diaper bags in magazines and websites devoted to mothers.
As we’ve discussed before, you might need to do a little product testing with friends and family to really get a feel for how people interact with your product. Some product types are not as obvious as others when it comes to figuring this out. If you sell jewelry, you might not be sure if people wear your earrings to work or out on a date. Give out some samples and ask your friends a few weeks later how they’ve been using or wearing them. This sort of knowledge helps you narrow your focus and spend your selling and marketing time more efficiently.
Question #5 might seem repetitive or even intuitive, but we are slowly refining and polishing the finished product of our creative business plan. Pretty soon, you’ll have a binder or folder full of great ideas, inspiration, and important hammered out details to build a path toward success for your business.
Over the next series of articles, we’ll discuss each of the W’s and H’s individually. Feel free to click here to download a pdf of the business plan questions.