In our third book review on the subject of creative business planning, we look at The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success from Jennifer Lee.
The Right Brain Business Plan tenders a “creative approach” to business which applies “right-brain” sensibilities (creativity, imagination, nonlinearity) to “left-brain” problems (data, structure, logic). Writing in colloquial terms, Lee transforms the elements of business planning into fun, creative projects that help artists visualize their goals and prove entrepreneurship to be far more manageable than often perceived. For instance, a “Competitive Analysis” becomes the “Business Landscape,” accompanied by an exercise in which the artist quite literally creates a landscape in order to contemplate “What makes me stand out?” “Competitors: Who?” and “Customer Needs.” Plenty of examples from readers can be found by simply searching the title of Lee’s book.
Lee weaves her innovative approach with an account of her personal narrative of corporate-to-creative as well as many success stories from friends, colleagues, and subscribers to her method. Indeed, such a glut of stories reassures that Lee’s strategy can work well.
The penultimate chapter does, however, reveal some minor limitations to her otherwise novel approach: “[I]f you’re gearing up to ask for a bank loan, apply for a grant, or woo investors or potential partners,” Lee concedes, “you’ll need a buttoned-down version that speaks your external audience’s language” (171). In other words, Lee’s arts-and-crafts program serves to empower the artist daunted by the ostensibly-complex, boring corporate structures and encourages the artist to view entrepreneurship as a potential creative endeavor rather than a sphere separate from their own, yet Lee’s method provides little guidance, save a few pages in the aforementioned chapter, on translating your unique voice into the language of business.
Luckily, Lee’s dedicated website proves an antidote. The regularly updated repository includes articles, guides, interviews, and videos that marry the informative with the accessible and nicely address the limitations of the book. Indeed, Lee has developed a complementary series of workshops and an eight-month mentorship program that help artists design and execute a business plan.
The Right Brain Business Plan is available at most major retailers as well as local booksellers.