I don’t believe in business plans anymore.
Professor LaTanya White
Growth Mindset Coach and Business Development Expert
Professor LaTanya White is a growth mindset business coach for multicultural women and minority entrepreneurs. She helps them navigate through their confusion, fear, and insecurity to a place of clarity, confidence, and competence on their journey to Becoming FEARLESS- her proprietary (and wholistic) business development process.
Professor White has been featured in several media outlets including Ask.com, Essence Magazine, Florida A&M University magazine, Forbes.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Want to connect with Professor White? Find a time that works for you and plug yourself on to her calendar!
…and I haven’t believed in them since I traveled to Bali Indonesia to participate in the inaugural cohort for The Change School (formerly Change Ventures) in 2013. Change Ventures was a social entrepreneurship accelerator program that challenged the participants to go from idea to market in 30 days.
I write about one of the most impactful experiences of my life, one that truly oriented to me to what I feel is my life’s purpose, as a participant in that very first cohort in my first book, Becoming FEARLESS. The long and short of it is, anyone can easily accomplish this…with just a little bit of retraining.
As an advocate for Black and ethnic minority entrepreneurship, I have found that there are so many assumptions about what we think it types to launch and grow a viable business idea- assumptions that our non-minority counterparts just don’t operate under.
Waiting to start your business until after you write a business plan is one of them!
Let’s face it: if you think your business idea has the possibility to change the way we move through the world and improve the quality of life for people around the world, can the world really afford to wait until you think your idea is perfect enough to ‘put it out there’? If that is the case, then you must be really comfortable with the idea of putting your purpose on hold as well. And if that’s the case, we need to talk!
Enough of me lecturing though :).
Since 2007, when I launched my first viable business, 71 Proof, through two years as a Certified Business Analyst with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, to a decade of “teaching” entrepreneurship at a Historically Black College/University, to the rigorous design of doctoral-level research in Black entrepreneurship as a form of social justice…I’ve vetted a few business development resources along the way lol!
What you will find below are my go-to resources (in priority order) for launching and growing almost any business idea you have. I am a living witness that this can actually be done 30 days or less….it all just depends on how motivated, resourceful, and FEARLESS you are.
My goal is for you to walk away from our time together armed with the insight to develop the entrepreneurial skillset and entrepreneurial mindset that will allow you to go to your state’s business incorporation website and officially register your business!
Are you ready?? #letsgo
Follow this itinerary to start the journey to your entrepreneurial legacy.....
Step 1: Select Your Destination
Hopefully, you are building a business to solve a human need and with that, every step you take in designing your business is for your customers- not for yourself.
Using IDEO’s time-tested design-thinking principles, with a specific focus on the inspiration phase of the process, I encourage you to consider an Empathetic Business Design approach (Field Kit pages 1-67).
Step 2: Air vs. Ground
If your target audience gives you a 30,000-foot view of the type of people your business will serve, the Perfect Prospect Profile brings that down to a street-level view. This is where true connection happens- when people feel seen and understood by you and your business. Remember, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care~ Teddy Roosevelt.
Following the outline of the worksheet referenced in the video below, type up your Perfect Prospect Profile in a document file so you can reference it in the future. Be sure to include highly emotional language like what you might find here.
Step 3: Plan A Bespoke Experience
Bespoke (adjective): Custom-made; dealing in or producing customized experiences
Now that you have a street-level of how your Prospect feels, prepare to take a deep dive into color psychology, not just reading the article but clicking the links embedded within it.
The next aspect of this production is font selection. You will need to identify and select one font that you will use for your headings and another for your details (on all her websites except for 71 Proof, Professor White uses Playfair Display font for her headings and Raleway for her details).
Based on the humanistic and emotional connection you should have with your future first customer, select the colors and fonts that would speak most to that Perfect Prospect (with the understanding that she or he represents your larger target audience). In a document file, create a one-page style guide for your business using your fonts and specific colors. This one-pager should include the business name, a screen capture of the color with the number and the design elements that you would want in your logo. Be sure to both incorporate these elements in your business development journal (I am working on developing the perfect one because I have not been able to find one!).
One of the culminating aspects of this bespoke experience you are creating for your customers is your website.
Every business has a story. Sharing yours in the best place to start if you want to develop meaningful connections with your perfect prospects. Use these resources to build yours with Donald Miller’s Story Brand concept. It is highly recommended that you purchase the book!
Miller also suggests there are 5 things that every website should include. Sign up on his website to learn what they are for free! Upon incorporating each of these five things along with your brand style guide, should make it easy for you design and launch your website! If you are just tinkering around, I recommend creating a free Wix account. When you’re ready to show up and show out, however, definitely buy your custom domain and the Divi Theme for WordPress (that’s what this site is built on).
Step 4: Chart Your Path
With more than 20 years’ experience in business development, customer relationship management, integrated marketing communications and strategic pricing, I have found that the shortest distance between an idea and executing the idea is Business Model Canvas. The 20-minute video below translates the Business Model Generation concept so you can build your own in the creation of your Business Operations and Training Manual (BOTM). Think of this as “starting from the bottom…” You know the rest! Lol!
A finished BOM is a document file that incorporates your brand identity (color scheme, fonts and logo if available) and is the detailed, written version of your business model canvas.
1) Documents your business’ commitment to building products and offering services that address the needs your customers have through Empathetic Business Design;
2) Paints the vision of the impact the business/organization will make based on your Brand Script;
3) Tells the story about the people you serve according to your Perfect Prospect Profile; and
4) Outlines in specific detail the way each aspect of the business should operate given your Business Model Generation.
You can even format it like a magazine and upload to Issuu when you are ready to bring on your first volunteers, interns, and employees!
Make sure that the cover page of your organization’s training manual is so visually enticing that someone wants to open it up and read it lol. While protecting the brand identity, it should be entertaining, inspiring and educational. Everything that you have done up until now (if you have incorporated these resources) should make this easy to do.
Step 5: It's Time For Take-Off
In preparing for take-off, your final hurdle will be a voice-over video pitch (think of it as an infomercial) based on Guy Kawaski’s The Art of the Start. Use this Pitch Deck Template to pitch the business idea that you are developing.
The visual elements and slides should be on-brand, with a color scheme and font that is consistent with the brand identity you previously created.
It should be no longer than 5 minutes in length and should end with a strong call to action. Make sure that your call to action is consistent with everything in the pitch that leads up to the call to action. For instance, if your Problem, Value Proposition, Underlying Magic, etc. slides are speaking mostly to your future customers, then your call to action to should speak to them and not potential investors. The direct call to action from your StoryBrand should fit seamlessly in this pitch.
Create an account on Loom.com to create a voice-over for your video pitch. You will want to do 2-3 run throughs to ensure that you master the technology and get your timing perfected, however, this should not require any editing of the final video.