How often have you taken a trip without looking at a map? Hmmm, probably not often unless that was the plan. Your business plan is your road map, and it’s incredibly important to navigate your business with a map that YOU create!
Start with your goals.
Your first stop to a great business plan is goal setting. Start with your goals whether they are short term, long term, or lofty goals. And write them down! When writing your goals, think about the kind of business you want to be, the products or services you will offer, the way in which you will serve your clients, and how you want your business to grow and succeed. In this goal setting process, also be sure to think about your financial goals for your business. And remember, no goal is too far to reach on this road map to business!
Look at your ideal client.
Maybe you already know who your ideal client is. For example, the business professional living in the suburbs with a few kiddos or someone who values fine, handmade goods. Whatever the case, you must take time to intentionally learn, understand, and seek your ideal client. My best advice regarding your ideal client is to think back to your best or favorite real life client. Who was this person? What did they value? What were their careers and hobbies and interests? Focus on these intricate details. Then, make a business plan along your road map – from business goals and decisions to branding to client gifts to product offerings – with your ideal client at the forefront of your mind.
Evaluate your brand.
What’s working? What’s not working? Does your brand align with your goals and ideal client? Does your social media presence accurately represent your brand? Truly reflect on your brand, and the experience you are offering within your business. Make a business plan for how you can make your brand fit with your goals and ideal client! And as always, it’s OK to make changes within your biz brand that better serve your ideal client and your business!
Put systems into place.
Yes, I am a systems kind of gal! Putting systems into place within your business is, I would argue, one of the most important parts of a business plan. These are your parameters – set by YOU! The systems that you put into place are a grounding force along your biz road map that always help to keep you on track. It’s also incredible to encourage your creative friends to put systems into place! Some systems you can think about when business planning are . . . client management software, content marketing, email lists, blogging practices, client communication, finance tracking, email responses, workflow, client gifting, social media, and so many MORE. Find what systems work best for you and rock it!
And finally, Create a business plan to be your best boss.
That’s right! PLAN to be your best boss. You are the only one in control of being your best boss as a creative or small business owner. And that’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur! Intentionally make business decisions and create your business road map around what works best for you. Respect yourself, your time, your talents, your people, your values, and your schedule as you plan within your business.
Friends, business planning does not have to be a daunting task! Let your creativity and strengths and entrepreneurial spirit lead the way and guide you to creating your business road map. And please don’t hesitate to ask for help by other trusted creatives or to revisit and revise your road map – weekly, monthly, yearly – as your business grows and changes. I promise, this trip is going to be the BEST of your life!