How To Quickly Create a Plan for your Business (to make money)

 

I love the start of a new year and setting new goals. Each January, I put a lot of time into goal-setting and creating a detailed plan.

 

If you want to follow the detailed system I use, check out The Success Planner.

 

For a quick and easy plan, you can follow the steps in this article.

 

 

Set your goal

Before you start making a plan, set one goal.

 

There are hundreds of goals you may want to achieve this year, but at the end of the day, you’re in business to make money. 

 

So the only goal I suggest you focus on is: how much money you want to make. 

 

Determine how much revenue you would like to earn this year and then divide that number by 12 to set your monthly goals. 

 

You can adjust your monthly goals based on your business’s peaks and valleys.

 

For example, if I hope to earn $30,000 in revenue this year, my average goal for each month will be $2500. However, I may reduce that goal for slower sales months and increase it for months I tend to generate more sales. 

 

When you set your monthly goals, it helps you realize how much work you’re going to need to put in. 

 

If you currently average $500 in sales each month and your new yearly goal has you averaging $1000, you’ll need to double your sales; that’s not easy. You can’t keep doing what you’re doing and expect double the sales. You’ll have to implement new projects. 

 

Use your monthly goals to determine how aggressive you’ll need to get with project planning. 

 

 

Step 1 – List your projects

The number one goal of your business is to make money. 

 

Projects are bigger plans/ideas that will help you make that money. 

 

And if you want to make more money than you did last year, you’ll need to implement new projects.

 

The little things, such as creating and listing a new product each day, are important. But they’re what will help you maintain sales, not necessarily boost them. 

 

Think of the BIG projects that will help drive sales each month, or increase them over time.

 

It will be the work that helps grow your business and that happens outside of the day-to-day tasks that keep your business running.

 

Explore projects that offer more immediate gains (i.e. boost sales within a month), as well as long-term projects that are completed over months and will help boost sales over time.

 

For example:

  • launching a new product
  • launching a collection
  • creating a holiday-specific gift set (e.g. Valentine’s Day gift set)
  • running a promotion/sale 
  • running an ad campaign
  • selling at a craft show
  • getting into a new retail store
  • sending out a press release and getting featured in the media
  • adding a new revenue stream (e.g. start teaching craft classes, sell digital patterns, become an affiliate, start blogging and generate ad revenue, etc.)
  • building a website
  • search engine optimization
  • building a newsletter list

 

Marketing should be a key part of any project that drives sales. 

 

If you plan a new product collection but nobody hears about it (i.e. you don’t market it), that new collection won’t make you any money.

 

Although “building a new collection” is the project, marketing that collection should be an important part of it. 

 

The same applies to projects such as setting up new sales channels (i.e. selling at a craft show or getting into a new retail store). If you choose a craft show that isn’t well-promoted, you won’t make many sales. If you get into a store that doesn’t get many shoppers, the store won’t sell many of your products and won’t reorder.

 

Look at each month and determine what will help drive your sales.

 

Start with popular events, holidays, and occasions that relate to your business/products. These will spark ideas that will begin filling your calendar with projects. 

 

For example:

  • February – Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Black History Month
  • March – first day of spring
  • April – Easter, Earth Month
  • May – Mother’s Day, Cinco De Mayo
  • June/July/August – summer, wedding season, summer vacations, etc.

 

Brainstorm marketing pushes that align with popular events/holidays/occasions, as well as the ebbs and flows of your business; these will be your projects.

 

For example, if January tends to be a slow month for your business, you may plan a paid ad campaign to reach new people. “Paid ad campaign” is your project for January. “Creating Valentine’s Day gift sets and running a promotion” may be your project for February. 

 

Fill your calendar with as many projects as you need to keep sales flowing throughout the year. 

 

If you have smaller, shorter projects (e.g. run a Valentine’s Day sale) you may have one or two projects per month. If you have bigger projects that impact sales for several weeks (e.g. launch a new collection) you may only have one project per quarter. 

 

Don’t overwhelm your calendar with new projects, but do add enough projects so you’ll get a spike in sales every month or two.

 

For more examples of projects, how to plan them, and worksheets to organize them, check out The Success Planner for your Handmade Business

 

 

Step 2 – Define tasks

A goal is how much money you want to make in a month/quarter/year.

 

Projects will help you reach your monetary goals. 

 

Tasks will help you execute a project. 

 

First, you must define your tasks. 

 

A task is what you’ll put on your schedule. 

 

It should be small enough that it doesn’t feel overwhelming and can be completed in one sitting or one workday.

 

For example, “launch spring collection” is too big to put on my schedule. Launching a new collection requires several steps and days (maybe even weeks) to complete.

 

On the other hand, “research spring 2023 handbag trends” is small enough that it doesn’t feel overwhelming and can be completed within an hour or two. It’s also specific enough that I know exactly what to do when I sit down to work (e.g. open Google and type “spring 2023 handbag trends”).

 

Look 2 – 3 months ahead and define the tasks required to complete each project listed. 

 

If the project is big, start by breaking it into steps.

 

Then break those steps into tasks.

 

This is the system I explain fully in The Success Planner.

 

For example, the first 3 steps to launching a spring collection may be:

Step 1 – design new products 

Step 2 – create prototypes

Step 3 – build stock

 

Steps are generally too big to put on my schedule. So I would break each step into tasks. 

 

For example:

Step 1 – design new products 

Tasks: 

  • research trends
  • define key product features
  • sketch designs

 

Step 2 – create prototypes

Tasks:

  • design patterns
  • sew one prototype for each design
  • determine how much material is needed
  • buy material
  • determine pricing

 

Step 3 – build stock

Tasks:

  • cut material for product #1
  • sew material for product #1
  • tag and photograph product #1
  • cut material for product #2
  • etc.

 

You don’t need to list steps and tasks for every project you have planned for the year; your projects may change throughout the year. 

 

However, you do want to look, plan, and work several weeks, maybe even months, ahead. 

 

If you start working on your Valentine’s Day projects at the beginning of February; that won’t leave enough time to properly plan, execute, and promote.

 

Look ahead to determine which projects are coming up and how much time they’ll require to execute. 

 

If you’re planning to launch a spring collection and you want to get that collection into retail stores, you’ll need to start working on it months before spring hits so you can market it to retail stores when they’re buying spring stock (which may be November/December).

 

Once you have a list of tasks required to complete a project, then you can start scheduling those tasks. 

 

 

Step 3 – Schedule tasks

As simple as it sounds, creating a schedule before you start work is key to being productive.

 

Start by creating a rough outline for the upcoming month. 

 

That may be defining the step you’d like completed by the end of each week. 

 

For example, if my project for March is to launch a new collection, a rough outline for the month may be:

week 1 – design new products & create prototypes

week 2 – build stock

week 3 – update website with new collection 

week 4 – market new collection

 

Before you head into week one, schedule the specific tasks related to your rough outline.

 

I’ve already defined the tasks required to complete step 1 of launching a spring collection, so I just need to slot those tasks into my calendar. 

 

For example, week 1 = design new products & create prototypes.

I may schedule the following tasks:

Monday

  • Google spring 2023 jewelry trends
  • list which trends I’ll incorporate into new designs
  • define key product features

Tuesday

  • create 5 – 10 sketches for new products

Wednesday

  • design prototypes using scrap fabric
  • determine how much material is needed to build stock

Thursday

  • go to fabric store and buy materials
  • determine pricing

Friday

  • create each new design using purchased material

 

Don’t try to fit too much into a day. 

 

“Create 5 – 10 sketches” may not seem like enough work for one day but there are other business tasks that will require my hours, and additional work that will come up.

 

Answering emails, fulfilling orders, and marketing can’t be ignored while you work on a project.

 

Complete the biggest and most important tasks first in a day. 

 

I like to get the “heavy lifting” out of the way by scheduling tasks that require more brain power, attention, discipline, etc. first. Then I leave more “mindless” tasks for later in the day (e.g. scheduling social media posts, answering emails, creating stock, etc.).

 

Prep for tomorrow.

 

Another productivity tip I use (and regret when I don’t), is to make my next day’s to-do list before I end a workday, and prep my workspace for the next day. 

 

I hate walking into a messy craft room or a half-completed task (like when I get frustrated with a new pattern and give up halfway through). So I try my best to tidy my work area at the end of each day and have a detailed to-do list ready for tomorrow.

 

There are times when it’s beneficial to leave a task incomplete. A partially-done task can make it easy to jump right into work the next day, or you may need a break from a task so you can come back to it with a clear mind in a day or two. 

 

In the scenario of an incomplete task, just be sure you have a plan for where you’ll pick up when you start work again. 

 

For example, when I’m working on a new pattern and feel like a need a break, instead of simply walking away from my sewing machine frustrated, I’ll define the task I’ll work on first when I come back to work.

 

I may add write at the top of my to-do list: “watch a YouTube tutorial on _____” (sewing a particular style of bag handle, zipper, pocket, or seam).

 

You may not get every task you schedule completed in a day.

 

But no matter how the current day goes, take steps to set yourself up for a better day tomorrow (or the next workday), so you can hit the ground running. 

 

 

Stay consistent

A schedule filled with small tasks may not look like it will yield big results. But if you continuously follow this system and complete the tasks on your list, you’ll have a lot to show for it at the end of the year. 

 

I hope this article helps you create a plan for your business and get the work done that helps you reach your goals.

 

Comment below if you have any questions or share what kind of projects you have planned for the upcoming year!

 

 



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