My daughters and I are working through The Creative Entrepreneur together. I was just writing down the answers, because I’m not that visual, but #2 daughter, having attended a seminar on how to create a business plan and having discovered strong similarities between this book and that seminar, persuaded me to jump in and attempt to do the stuff they recommend.

Accordingly, I made chapters 1-2 into visual things, and started on our current chapter, chapter 3.

I’m putting these here to send on to my fellow book club folks, and for my future self, but you’re welcome to check them out if you want.  You know I’m no good at this sort of thing, so you won’t hold it against me.

Here’s step 1: exploring heart and meaning — what your most meaningful and empassioned work would be like.

For me, it’s gathering, sysnthesizing, analyzing, and disseminating information in creative ways that help other meet their goals.

I’ve included what Kipling said was the motto of the mongoose: “Run and Find Out,” along with the mongoose crest of some royal military outfit that says, “Danger is Our Opportunity,” which strikes me as a fitting touch for beginning a business during an economic downturn. Also, loyalty, which I think is one of the things that makes me a good partner to my clients on a heart and meaning level.

For step 2,  we explore gifts and flow: what we’re good at. Also what makes us feel like we’re swimming against the current.

For me, this was an easy one. I’m old enough to know what I’m good at and what I’m not good at.

Then I guess you need some ideas on how to get the going-against-the-current stuff to flow more easily, in cases where you have to do it.

Marcus Buckingham has some interesting and useful things to say on this subject.

The next section is on value and profitability. What’s your USP? I’ve been in business long enough to know that, too. I offer real solutions to problems small businesses face, with good quality, integrity, and sincere concern for my clients.

That’s worth a lot in my field. Many of my competitors offer poor quality, shadiness, and a desire to get the most money from clients with the least effort. Sorry to say that, but it’s true. As with construction work, my field is one in which a company that does a good job, on time, within the budget stands out. Add respectful behavior and you’ve beaten most of the competition right out of the box.

I’m working in a growth industry, providing a useful service at a reasonable rate.

This section makes me feel optimistic. Like, how could I fail?

Next up is the skills and tools section. I have good skills and tools, and so do my daughters. There are also lots of things I need to learn.

I don’t know what all of them are.

I don’t know what things I really need to know and what I should just pay for.

I don’t know, given a shaky list of skills needed, how to learn them all.

I don’t know where to find people with all those skills.

I know some of the tools I need, and have most of them, but I don’t know what else I ought to have, so there are things I think I might ought to buy, but I’m not sure.

This is an area where I’m still learning, clearly. I’ve decided, therefore, to show it as an area of growth. That sounds better, doesn’t it?

With the four big questions completed, I did a right brain/left brain map.

I think this was largely for fun I don’t really see a connection to or important implications for my business. However, it was fun.

This was chapter 2.

We’ve actually discussed this section already, the business plan book club and I, but now they can look at the pictures, too.

I went on to chapter three, the current assignment, so I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

Girls, you could show me your pages, too!

Oh, and also anyone else playing with this book. I’m very interested in what you’re doing.