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Mobile gaming is hot right now and as the most accessible vertical within gaming, it is the perfect venue for new games and for new game companies. Though there are many new mobile game businesses springing up, not all of them actually take the time to write a business plan.
Traditional wisdom dictates that a business plan’s only purpose is to show potential investors or lenders that you do have a direction you intend to follow. However, the truth is that every mobile game business can benefit from a business plan. Here are some of the most overlooked ways a business plan can help your mobile game business:
- Clarifies your priorities. Does your developer seem a little confused as to why you are so possessive of one area of the game? Does your marketing team fail to understand why you want them to reach out to certain game reviewers? A business plan can help your team (even if that team consists just of you and your developer) understand why your priorities are your priorities. It can also make those things their priorities, which makes your life easier.
- You’ll better understand the structure of your own business and the project. If your developer tells you not to move ahead with marketing until he has finished mapping out one point of the game, it might be because that is when he will have screenshots for you to use as promotional materials. You, however, want to get moving with the marketing as soon as possible. When you have a business plan in place, you’ll see how different aspects of your business are interrelated and why you can’t do one thing until another is completed.
- You can be less of a control freak. One of the biggest contributors to a mobile game business owner’s control freak tendencies is not having a business plan. Without a comprehensive plan, your team may need constant direction and ask questions that they would not otherwise. A plan lays out who is responsible for what and when, so every contributor to the project will knows his or her place, which makes delegating much easier and allows you to step back and refrain from micromanaging.
- You will have a better idea of what you are trying to achieve. Being excited about your game idea and actually having a business goal are two connected, but different things. You can be the most excited a person has ever been about an idea, but only a clear business plan can actually allow you to finish the game and have it become successful. It will also help you identify what qualifies as “success,” as you will have a number of downloads, players, or a level of profits that you will want to have achieved outlined in your plan.
- You will have deadlines and milestones. Both deadlines and milestones are integral to pushing a project forward. With no deadlines, neither you nor your team will have any real time-based accountability for the project. It’s a very laissez-faire approach to your business and one that is sure to get you nowhere. Defining very clear deadlines and making sure they align with significant milestones is the only way to keep your momentum and continue to progress.
- Managing your team will be easier. No one wants to be “that manager,” the one who is constantly nagging the team and telling them what they should and should not do. A business plan that requires team members to manage themselves, by reporting progress on a regular basis and in writing, as well as helping you find ways to correct the course when you get off track, makes your job as a manager much easier.
- Prevents changes or diversions from derailing your business. A business plan that is elastic and which includes contingency plans allows you to prepare for the inevitable changes and catastrophes that will come during the mobile game’s development. Instead of just waiting for things to happen and dealing with them as they do, a business plan forces you to plan for every eventuality and create solutions that will help keep you on track.
A business plan is a necessary and yet, sometimes undervalued part of any mobile game business. Make sure your business has one in place and you will have the solid foundation you need.
Jovan Johnson is a California licensed attorney who focuses on SEO, mobile games, and apps. He is passionate about mentoring students and steering dollars to scholarships, and speaks regularly about career opportunities. He is a principal at Johnson Moo, Furzy, Paymaster.Co, and 320 Instrumentals.