Jennifer Lee came across our radar back when we launched our book in 2008 (holy heck batman time flies!) and we immediately marked her as a kindred spirit. Smart, passionate about making business work on your terms and creative as all get out, Jennifer is a lady to follow for sure.
When I was offered a review copy of her new book The Right Brain Business Plan I was excited to see how her years of work on developing a creative approach to business planning had come together. The book arrived during a time when Lauren and I were doing annual strategic planning for the company as the owners and also doing a planning retreat with our staff. As a result, I found myself reading the book with the “revisiting your business plan” lens rather than thinking about starting up a business from scratch, and as a tool for strategic planning for an established business I can vouch for it as a great resource.
I had a chance to chat with Jennifer last week and asked her some specific questions about how the book can be a great resource for those of us a few (or in our case 11) years into their business.
Here’s what she had to share:
Emira: Does The Right Brain Business Plan work as a tool for seasoned entrepreneurs?
Jennifer: The main thing about the book is that it’s more about the how than the what. It’s an approach to doing business and strategic planning which doesn’t only have to be applied in the early stages of a business. For an established business, it can be a particularly useful and interesting tool to use with a team as it allows for a lot of space for people to add their ideas and contribute to the overall plan in really creative ways.
Emira: I can definitely see that. Having just gone through a day long staff retreat, I can see how this would be really useful to engage different types of people. I can also see that going through the whole book would not be possible as a team without putting aside a lot of time, so if a team were to focus on a few chapters which do you think would be most valuable?
Jennifer: Chapter 3, Painting your Business Landscape, which is basically a more fun way of doing SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) analysis is a great one. It can be a great process to go through even if you’re just looking at launching a new project or venture within a business. Chapter 7 Action Planning, which deals with goals, strategies and action steps would also be good. Also Chapter 9, which looks at making time for reflection, quarterly check-ins and stop/start/continue is great for a team.
Emira: I know you have some excellent concrete examples on your website of people putting the Right Brain Business Plan into action (found in the Spotlight section), do you have any examples of people doing the process for strategic planning or doing the process as a team?
Jennifer: Sure! The following examples are definitely worth looking at:
- Athena Communications went through as a team as a part of strategic planning
- Kristina Ender and Tracey Asai are both established business owners who used the Right-Brain Business Plan as a planning tool
Emira: So I’m excited about using the Right Brain Business Plan as a guide for strategic planning and revisiting goals for an established company, but what about when you need a more formal plan as well?
Jennifer: Of course. The right brain approach is a great way to start, to help an entrepreneur or a team feel more concrete about what their goals are, but you’re definitely not going to walk into a bank with just that. What you will get out of it is the ideas and the structure that you can then translate into a more formal business plan, which I address in Chapter 8.
The Right Brain approach is really about making those ideas and goals more tangible and clear, then, if you need to you can always hire someone to translate it into a formal plan, but it’s hard to hire someone to set your goals and vision for you!
One of the synergies between The Right Brain Business Plan and The Boss of You is Jennifer’s focus on defining success on your own terms. She addresses that as the second point in her Badge of Honour and it’s something we stress throughout The Boss of You. To celebrate the publication of The Right-Brain Business Plan we’re doing a joint give-away with Jennifer, she’s giving away a copy of The Right-Brain Business Plan to one of our readers, and we’re giving away a signed copy of The Boss of You through her blog. To win a copy of Jennifer’s book, share with us in the comments how you define success for your business (established or just starting out) and we’ll do a random draw for the winner on April 8th (Lauren’s birthday!) .