Planning Methods for Your Business

Are you ready for 2018? No, really… are you?

It might feel like a question you can shrug off, but you can only answer “yes” to that question if you have a plan in place for your business for the upcoming year. This isn’t something you want to leave to chance or winging it!

If you’re not sure where to start planning, join the crowd. I’ve worked with so many entrepreneurs who just never have enough time to plan out their business. Set yourself up for a stellar year by setting aside some time to plan your business. Here are 5 of the best-kept secrets for the most effective planning methods for your small business.

1. Set Your Sights High

One of the most important aspects of planning your year is to set the bar high. This first step is where you need to dream BIG, no holds barred. Ask yourself what success looks like for your business? What’s the ultimate dream? The ultimate goal? Do you want to have a full roster of clients and a wait list? Do you want to build your email subscriber list to 4,000?

Visualizing your business’ success can help you craft a game plan on how to get there. Goal setting can make or break your business so put your phone on silent, put away other distractions, and go old school with pen and paper to jot down your biggest dreams and goals.

2. Then Get Realistic

Evaluate what’s working well in your business, and what’s a little chaotic. Are there tasks that you never get around to? How are those bookkeeping accounts looking? Haven’t posted on your Facebook business page in 3 months? Are you so tied up in administration that you can never push your business ahead? Identify your business’ weaknesses so that you can take the necessary actions in your planning. Don’t wait to make the necessary improvements that you’ve identified. Now is the time to formulate and execute your plan for improvement.

3. Implement the Right Tools

We’re lucky to live at a time when there are so many excellent free and inexpensive tools available for the explicit purpose of making our business-lives easier! From project management software to accounting and marketing tools, there are apps galore and implementing the right tools can accelerate your business’ effectiveness.

Pro Tip: Not only are the right tools going to help your business, but you can really push things forward when you leverage all the ways that many of these tools can work together. Some of the tools we recommend include Asana, Teamwork, Slack, Zapier, and many more.

4. Craft your Marketing Plan

Soo… you have your big goals in mind, right? Now, let’s chat about how you’re going to get started down the right path to reach them. Marketing your goods and services is a crucial part of any awesome business plan. Savvy small business owners know how to leverage their marketing outreach to convert their efforts into sales and customers. Analyze what’s been effective this past year in your current marketing plan and then decide where you want to focus in the new year. Great questions to ask yourself are:

  • What has resonated with my audience in the past 6 months?
  • What kind of content will add value to my clients’ businesses?
  • What spending and resources are getting me the best return on my investment?
  • How will my marketing efforts make me stand out among my competitors?

Pro Tip: Make sure that you’re measuring the success of your marketing campaigns. Ensure that you have Google Analytics set up on your website, and that you’re checking to see where traffic is coming from. Also check the analytics for each of your social media platforms, for your newsletters, and from any other platform you use, from the online Yellow Pages to Facebook ads to AdWords.

5. Allocate Resources

Consider all of the moving parts of your business and who should be handling each of those parts. Review all of the pieces of your business puzzle, what’s keeping you and your teammates busy, and if the right people are working on the right projects.

This is a good time to consider outsourcing work that’s preventing you from achieving your business goals. Administrative work can be outsourced to a virtual assistant (hi!), marketing to a digital marketing team, and the bookkeeping and accounting to the people who work with numbers on a daily basis. Also take a look at your current team and make every effort to fill  holes or gaps you might have.

Pro Tip: Hiring subcontractors, online business managers, or high-level virtual assistants doesn’t require payroll and is a great way to get work accomplished without too much overhead. Plus, they’ll likely already have the skill set you need so they won’t require much training if you hire the right person.

Planning for your business is crucial, but the most important step is to start your plans right now. There’s no time to waste when it comes to creating your business plan for 2018. If your business plan is still a blank page or needs some help, contact us today for some tips and advice on how you can take your business to the next level. We’ve helped countless small business owners and entrepreneurs and we’d love to give you a hand as well!

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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