Creative Business Planning - Where to Start
As you might now, I’m pretty passionate about the importance of having a plan. Planning can feel quite overwhelming, but the irony is, it’s the best way to feel less overwhelmed and stressed in your business.
If you're ready to jump in, this post will take you through some good starting points for your creative business planning.
Here are some good starting points for your creative business planning
1) Be clear on the big picture
What lifestyle do you want to live? If you're struggling, draw or write out a day in the life of living your dream lifestyle. What does it look like and what do you need to earn to support that lifestyle? If it helps to keep you motivated create a mood board with images that you can put up on the wall in your work space.
2) Know your why inside out
Knowing your WHY and believing in it 100% will help you steer all of the decision making.
For me, this has created an anchor for my business and helps with making all of my business decisions. But it's something that a lot of people struggle with, particularly makers and designers.
When I was transitioning my business, Kayte from Simple & Season helped me develop my why which was super helpful! Sometimes when you're so close to your business and you work on it every day it's hard to identify the belief or purpose that motivates you. So, it can help to get some outside guidance - try looking at your reviews and feedback or asking friends and customers what they love about your products.
Here's what my WHY looks like:
I believe that everybody has got the power to build a business that gives them a happy and fulfilled life doing what they love. But, to make it happen, it’s essential to have a PLAN.
3) Know where you want to focus
As tempting as it can be to try to launch a new product line, design a new website, re-brand your business and develop a new income stream all in the same 2 months, (as well as the everyday stuff you need to do) it’s a one way street to burnout and feeling disappointed about not achieving everything you wanted to do. If you need some guidance on finding your focus, check out my Find Your Focus workbook which guides you through the steps to finding 1-3 focus areas to prioritise.
4) Get organised before you start with the planning
Getting organised now will help you keep your focus when you’re working on a new project. So, now is the time to check your pricing is still right, do a stock take and get up to date with your finances. You also need to work out what tasks are draining your time and what you might want to outsource, so that you can focus your creative energy on your new project or growing your business.
5) Set goals that you’re excited about
If you’re not excited about your goals, they’re a non-starter. Make sure you’re clear on what focus area your goal is serving and take a look at my goal setting tips to ensure you have the best change of success.
6) Be realistic
How much time do you really have to dedicate to growing your business vs. the everyday running of it? Make sure your goals are achievable within the time frame you’ve set yourself. I like to plan in quarterly chunks - it’s long enough to make significant progress on your focus areas but short enough to stay focused and feel like you can see the end. Make sure you feel your goal is achievable in the time you’ve given yourself because if it’s not you’re likely to feel dis-heartened when you don’t manage to achieve your goal.
7) Break goals down into APPETISING chunks and put them on the wall
List out all of the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and plot them out over the next 3 months or whatever time frame you’ve given yourself. If it helps, start with the end in mind and work backwards. It doesn’t matter whether you use a calendar, a piece of wallpaper stuck to the wall or a wall planner but you need to have your plan visible so that you can glance at it every day.
8) Factor in checkpoints and reward yourself
At the end of the day, once you’ve made your plan you need to DO THE WORK. So, to keep your focus factor in rewards for yourself that you’ll honour. If you tick off everything on your plan for the week treat yourself to a bottle of your favourite wine, go out for a meal or take the weekend off to properly relax. You might want to promise yourself an even bigger reward when you achieve your goals
9) Stay accountable to your plan
We’re all motivated in different ways, have a think about what helps you to stay accountable. It might be letting your audience know about your plan to launch a new product line by September via your newsletter or it might be just telling one friend of your plan and asking them to keep checking in with you on how it's going. Check out Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies quiz to get a better handle on how you can stay accountable to your goals.
10) Finally, enjoy the process
We touched on setting goals that you’re excited about earlier on. The thing is, with growing your own creative business, you’ve got to enjoy the process. Don’t wait until you’ve achieved your goal to start living the lifestyle you want, the chances are you’ll achieve your first goal and then make yourself wait again to do the things you really want to do until you’ve achieved the next goal, and so on. If you want to stop working weekends or take every Friday afternoon as pure creativity and exploring time then do that! Because, when you’re enjoying the process of growing your business and living the lifestyle you crave, you truly are doing what you love.
Growing your own creative business isn’t always plain sailing but the tips above should help you stay focused and achieve those goals that you’re really excited about but can’t seem to make the time for.
[OVER TO YOU]
Time to create your own plan!
- First, pick 1 - 3 focus areas - if you need some help with that check out my Find your Focus workbook
- Set your goal(s) and sense check them against my top tips for goal setting
- Break down your goal into manageable chunks and plot them out on a calendar so you know exactly what you need to do each week to achieve your goal
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