I’ve had a chance to read through some of the materials I’ve received from my visit to SCORE. For the most part, I know about the different things involved in running a business, but I’ve never dealt with the details. I haven’t asked the hard questions.
For example, “What business am I in?” How I answer this question will pretty much dictate how I run my business, so I can’t just blow it off. Perhaps while I write my business plan, I’ll change or refine the answer. Still, it is a very good question that I’ve never answered. I will need to describe my business in terms of how it works, how I plan on making it profitable, and should also identify clear goals. I already know why I want to be in business, but I will need to clarify the how and what.
Since marketing is an important aspect of any business, it deserves its own section of the business plan. It’s tough, but I’ll need to be able to identify who my customers are. “Gamers” isn’t good enough, but am I going to be targetting casual game players? Interstitial gamers? Hardcore gamers bored of the mainstream offerings? How about people who would otherwise be hardcore game players but can’t overcome their fear of a complicated interface? Whose life do I want to change? What’s my pricing strategy? Is the market for my kind of games growing?
It will be a lot easier to direct and control my own business if I have an idea of the resources I’ll have to use. I can’t make good decisions if I am not sure how much money I’ll have to work with from one month to the next. I’ll need to specify a startup budget as well as an operating budget.
Who is my competition? And not just other indie game developers, either. What other products and services are competing with me? People don’t watch television as much, but it still poses an alternative if I don’t make my offerings compelling enough. For that matter, people might prefer using instant messenger clients and talking with their friends rather than play my game. Identifying the competition allows me to try to enhance my own offerings.
I’ve never addressed these questions in detail, but I can already see how doing so will go a long way towards improving my chances of succeding.