Do you have a business plan?
And today I’m not talking about the 20+ page document that we throw together because someone says we need one.
I’m talking about planning for your business – creating a business plan that keep you focused, motivated, and balanced amongst your multiple priorities.
At the start of any new year, we become surrounded by people talking about their resolutions and goals for the year ahead.
But in order to achieve the things that we say we want, a dream is not enough!
We need to also understand all the tasks that make up our goals, dependencies on other people or resources, and how we’ll manage it all.
That’s when a business plan becomes necessary.
ready to create your business plan?
Today I’ll be walking you through the process I follow to plan out the full year for my business. There are a ton of tools and methods out there. Ultimately, you just need to find the one which works best for you, and that you’re willing to stick with!
step 1: identify your goals for the year ahead
The first step in your business plan is to choose up to three goals that you wish to achieve by the end of the year and to be clear about why those goals are important to you.
Keep the goals high level to start with. For example, my goal for 2020 is to double the salary that I pay myself from my business. This is important to me because the last few years I’ve been in survival mode and it’s time to enter sustainable mode.
To grow my business, I’ve needed to invest financial resources into other areas (like paying for my team or in business development) and was unable to pay myself a proper salary.
I know that many of you can relate to this struggle!
This is my one goal for 2020, and my business plan needs to be designed to support my achieving this goal.
step 2: break down the components of your goal
Once you identify your main goal(s) for the year ahead, you’ll want to think through the components that make up that goal.
Keeping my goal as an example, for me to double my salary this year, my business needs to increase it’s revenues by a certain amount of money. And to increase my revenues, I either need to attract more clients or charge higher prices. Knowing that my prices are fair for my services, my focus is on attracting more clients.
Through a series of components which include:
- developing my content plan, which includes what topics to feature in my blogs, email marketing and social media
- implementing a client relationship management tool to better manage leads and prospects
- creating two new service offerings to offer to past clients (it’s always easier / cheaper to retain past clients than to move someone new through your entire funnel)
step 3: the nitty gritty of your business plan
Each of the components that I list above require an additional level of detail – the individual tasks that must be completed.
Let me start with the first one – developing my content plan.
For me to complete a content plan, I need to:
- decide which services I want to sell this year
- pull up a calendar to see what other obligations and commitments already exist
- decide when in the year I would highlight each service, so I don’t become overwhelmed by doing too much at once, and so that my messages remain clear to my audience
- brainstorm topic themes to support each service (i.e. strategy, storytelling, money, etc.)
- create a high-level content plan for the year (I’ve kinda shared with you in the photo here, but have to keep some secrets!)
- communicate this plan with my team, so they also know what they’re working towards
- develop a more detailed, weekly plan for each month with specific blogs, articles, and resources to create, curate and share
I then would repeat this process for each of the components that I listed out in step 2.
step 4: execute
You do not need to complete all of these tasks right now at the start of the year!
But by identifying them all in advance, you can start to see the work that you need to do and understand the interdependencies between your time, your resources and your actions.
Having a business plan for the year ahead will help you understand what tasks you need to prioritise, and when.
Then you just need to get to work!
over to you
I’d love to hear from you! How do you plan for your business each year? Leave your thoughts and tips in the comments section below.