PSU Insight

Writing Your Business Plan

Your Personnel Plan

The ‘Personnel’ section of your business plan describes your personnel assets, your human resources.... in other words, the people who make your company work. Since most speakers operate one- or two-person businesses, it can be tempting to skip this section. That would be a serious mistake.

“I’m the only person in my company!” you may protest. But even single-person businesses depend on many other people to make them function. And there are other people-oriented considerations that you need to document.

To start with, you can’t do everything yourself. Who’s going to do your bookkeeping? Who will do your billing and invoicing? Who’s going to do your graphics design? Who’s going to design your website? Who will construct it? If your computer crashes, who will you call? Who will make your travel arrangements?

When you were considering your business structure, I suggested that you seek professional assistance. So where will you go for this legal advice? Who will you get financial guidance from?

Some of these activities you will probably want to do yourself. But many of them, you won’t be able to do. Or you won’t want to do. It’s not necessary that you define who’s going to perform activities that happen only occasionally. But you’ll generally save yourself a lot of time and money if you’ll know in advance “who you’re gonna call” when you need some outside assistance or guidance.

The following responsibilities are just some of the possible activities which you might need for your business. Your Personnel plan should list all the positions that are relevant to your particular business, and the person or company (whether it’s ‘you’ or you decide to out-source) that will perform the service for you.

  • Bookkeeping
  • Tax Accountant
  • Financial Adviser
  • Banker
  • Lawyer
  • Printer
  • Realtor
  • Travel Agent
  • Insurance Agent
  • Graphics Artist
  • Copy Writer / Editor
  • Mail House
  • Order Fulfillment
  • Webmaster
  • Marketer
  • Tech Specialist
  • Photographer
  • Publicist
  • Speech Coach
  • Answering Service

Of course, these are just a few suggestions. The nature of your particular business will probably add even more possibilities to this list.

We’re still not done. Fortunately, most speakers realize that ‘speaking’ is just one small part of their overall business. They recognize that there are many other parts to operating a successful business — marketing, sales, research, product development, support operations, and so on.

And when you ask speakers who will be performing these functions, they often answer, correctly, “I am.” But knowing that they’re the person doing it doesn’t mean that they know what they’re doing, or how much time they’ll spend doing it.

So you also need to define the responsibilities of the different positions within your company, even if the person doing all these things is ‘you’. In other words, who is going to be in charge of “sales” for your company? And (more importantly) what are their (or your) responsibilities? Are you going to sell your own products or someone else’s? How are you going to sell your products or services — back of the room, through direct mail, or via the Internet? If it's BOR (back of the room), will you sell your own products, or will you have someone doing it for you?

Specifying the responsibilities of the different “jobs” within your business will force you to think of your part in your business operation as more than just “a speaker.” So here's a short list of some of the different responsibilities that someone (you?) in your business may have:

  • Product Development
  • Speech Writing
  • Copy Writing
  • Webmastering / Tech Support
  • Marketing
  • Financial / Bookkeeping
  • Research
  • Sales
  • Production & Shipping
  • Operations
  • Social Networking

Of course, these are just a few possibilities. The nature of your particular business will define which specific “jobs” you list for your business. But even if you’re a one-person company — especially if you’re a one-person company — it’s important that you think of your company as made up of a team of people. When you define what everyone’s duties are (even if you are “everyone”), you’ll have a much better understanding of how to make your business run effectively... and profitably.