A building blueprint is a guide for what a building should look like when it is complete. The same is true for a business blueprint.
What is the vision for your business? Draw that vision out and make it clear.
What value are you offering to your customers? Who are your customers? What products/services will they be attracted to? How will you market those to your customers? What process and systems will you use to ensure your business runs smoothly? These are all questions that need to be answered in the blueprint of your business.
A blueprint is a map for the builder. You, as the business owner, are the builder of your business. You need to have a clear plan to follow when building or you may get sidetracked and your building can go awry.
Example: If you do not stay focused on building your main building by your deadline, you may get a wild idea to build other, smaller buildings outside of your main building—a storage unit, for example. Then you would be wasting valuable resources on a side project when your main building is still unfinished. A business blueprint will help you stay focused on building your business so that it has a strong foundation and will be able to withstand the storms ahead (yes, there are storms but a well-built business will stand strong).
How Do We Build a Blueprint?
Start with the vision in your mind—your end goal. What will your business look like when it is complete? Is your business always going to be run by you or will others be able to do what you will do? Is it going to be scalable? Will you have just one or a chain? Will it be a franchise? Will your business be local, national, international or global? Get a clear vision and write it out.
Next, add people to your business. Who are your staff—your other builders? Or are you planning on building alone? Are you planning to outsource your work or keep it in-house? These are your most valuable people. How will you care for them? How much will you pay them? What benefits will you offer? If you are going to have employees, do you have an employee handbook? All of these things need to be in place before you hire your first employee.
Then, who are your customers? Everyone talks about your customer “avatar” and what does he/she look like? Well let’s talk about people. We are not avatars, we change. We learn, we grow and we change our styles, our choices, our minds. Does your avatar reflect a real person who will grow while you are working with them?
A perfect example of this is if you are a consultant. At first your avatar may be a typical “I need help” person. However, that person will change while you are working with them because you will be teaching them how to accomplish their goals and create new ones and no longer will they be that “avatar” who first walked in your door. You need to be able to grow with them or you will no longer be able to offer what they need. Now if this is the business model you prefer, always working yourself out of a job, then that is fine and many consultants do this. But if you want to always be able to provide value to your customer, then this needs to be a part of your blueprint.
What products and/or services will your customers be attracted to? We cannot just get an idea of a great product, market it and expect your customers to buy it, unless they are Lemmings who will buy whatever you tell them to buy. We need to create products that our customers need. Supply and demand. What are they missing/ What will make their life easier? What will help them relax, spend more time with family, make more money, etc. Do you research. Get to know your customers. If your product line does not evolve, your customers will grow away from you.
How will you market your products? Where are your ideal customers? This is where you need to focus your marketing efforts. If your ideal customers are busy living an active lifestyle, then how will you reach them? Not everyone spends hours a day on social media networks. Some read the newspaper, magazines, watch the news on the television. Again, research your customers and find out what they do, and how you can reach them.
Now that you have your people and products in place, what processes will you use to ensure your businesses runs smoothly? What machines will you use? What computer programs will you use? A good example of this is bookkeeping software. Will you be hiring a bookkeeper who will then turn everything over to your accountant? If you plan to do your own books, you need to know how you are going to do that. Again, research the program that fits your needs as well as your budget.
How will you keep your projects organized? What communication technology will you be using? How will you track your inventory? Who will your suppliers /manufacturers be? How will you accept payments/ How will you make payments? Where will you do your business banking at? How do you plan to invest your business’ revenue to ensure future growth? Your processes and systems should all be in your blueprint.
If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail
Don’t forget to plan. One of the most important features of your business blueprint is your business plan. So many entrepreneurs run ahead of the planning stage of building their business and wonder why things get so hard, or even fall apart. Do you want a pop-up shop or a “fad” business? If not, then you better make sure you have a strong business plan as well as a marketing plan that includes financials—projections on how much your business will bring in within the first five years. If you don’t plan on making money, you’re not planning a business, you’re planning a hobby. PLAN TO MAKE MONEY!
You don’t need a 20-page business plan to start with. Your business plan may grow as your business grows. It may start out as five pages and grow to 20 within the next 10 years. The page count does not matter, but the planning does. Write out your plan so you have something to go by when building your blueprint. Also, if you need to get a loan or investors for your business, you need a strong plan in place before even thinking about asking someone to fund your venture.
Now that you understand what a business blueprint is, start mapping it out. If you need help, contact us.
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Watch for our upcoming courses:
Build Your Business Blueprint
The Backwards Business Plan
Bootstrapping Your Business
 Lemmings: These creatures simply walk blindly through the world in the hope of reaching safety at the end of the level.