Strategic Planning for Small Businesses monthly business guide cover photo
Strategic Planning for Small Businesses monthly business guide cover photo

Strategic Planning for Small Businesses

It’s never too late to start goal setting and evaluating your business strategy. This ultimate guide to strategic planning for small businesses helps creatives assess their mission, vision, and values, while also getting in the right mindset for business planning. This guide includes best practices on how to create a business plan, the value of a visual business plan, and even free templates to kick off your New Year business planning.

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Get In The Mindset:

Proper goal setting and business planning starts with the proper mindset. Carve out some time in your calendar to dive deep into your business before setting out for your planning session. You can schedule a business planning day at your favorite coffee shop or even book yourself a hotel solo (or with other creatives) for a business planning retreat. Regardless of where or how you do it, know that getting started is the hardest part.

Evaluate Your Business:

Your business plan should look something like a roadmap for your business goals and how you’ll achieve them. First, start with evaluating where you’ve been before determining where you’re going. What do you define as success? What has been successful in the past? How can you do more of that in the future? What tools, resources or education do you need to accomplish to move forward? With those answers in mind, establish your goal-setting cadence. You can set goals annually, monthly or even weekly—remember you can always (and should!) reevaluate and course correct as you move forward.

Start Basic, Then Get Creative:

Strategic planning for small businesses and goal setting has some best practices you should definitely follow (learn more in Niko’s free business plan template included on page 11), but more than anything, your business plan can look like whatever you want it to. Include your mission, vision, values, and purpose. Include your current problem and what you can do to change it. Include goals and tactics to achieve them. Include marketing tools, resources, how you’ll invest, and more. The rest, however, is up to you. Whether you create a visual business plan like Michele Perry’s (get her tips and template on page 4), or something more traditional, starting with the basics as the foundation and then letting your creative brain flourish is key for a business plan you feel confident about and can actually achieve.

What’s Inside

Maggie Giele

It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing in business, mistaking their business strategy for what you “should” be doing. Instead of following their lead, Maggie shares about how to gain the most traction in strategic planning for small businesses with your “North Star.” Use her tips to build your business and feel more fulfilled in your work.

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Michele Perry

The concept of a “business plan” can be a stressful one for us as creative entrepreneurs. Michele Perry shares how to refresh your mindset and business strategy with visuals: a perfect fit for creatives ready for goal setting that incorporates doodling, watercolor, and more. Use her tactics to create a business plan that is both wholehearted and whole-brained.

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Dayhanna Acosta

Setting business goals requires not just the time and energy to evaluate and assess, but the mindset shift to accomplish them. Dayhanna Acosta gives 3 mindset tips that will transform your business strategy by diving deeper into releasing your baggage, bending without breaking, and embracing your creativity.

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LaShanta Green

Solopreneurs wear many hats. But the most important hat of all? Learning how to set goals as a small business and taking time to chart the course for how you will deliver on those goals. LaShanta Green shares best practices on honing your mission, vision, and values, to reach the destination you dream for in your business strategy.

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Niko Everett

Have you ever written a business plan? Maybe you’re too intimidated to get started, or maybe the idea of a business plan feels a bit stifling… when really it should feel more like a roadmap for business goals. Niko Everett is here to convince you why this year is going to be your year of finally writing a business plan and achieving your business goals, and shares an amazing free template on how to create a business plan.

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Katrina Julia

When is the last time you opened up your LinkedIn? It’s not the first platform creative entrepreneurs think of when creating their social media marketing strategy. However, Katrina shares her best tips for getting started in building out your LinkedIn profile and making use of the platform to connect with people you’d like to work with, expand your community and grow your business. Think LinkedIn isn’t for you? Read her article and think again.

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Laney Schenk

The overwhelm of having to post every day on social media is real… and that is if you’re only thinking of Instagram. Add to that Pinterest, Facebook, blog, TikTok and more, and you can quickly feel like all you’ll be doing is coming up with content to share – which is extra difficult when you only have so many hours in a day to actually create or so many clients on your calendar. Laney shares her formula for getting more content out of less work without it feeling repetitive. One project, many posts.

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Disclaimer: The advice featured in this guide and on the blog was sourced from our community members for sharing general information and knowledge. For specific legal, financial, tax, mental health and professional advice, please consult an authorized professional.