Five Steps for Creating a One-Year Business Plan
Let’s talk about how to create your one-year business plan. How to create action steps that will help you stay on track with your business. In my 30 years of business, I’ve learned that it’s critically important to write it all down. In this article I’m going to explain the exact method I use to keep my seven-figure business on track.
Step One in creating a business plan: is to set your intentions (big, small, and in between). This is different for everyone. Start by thinking about your intentions for your business for that year: do you intend to raise your revenue from this number to this number; are you going to hire a new VA; are you going to bring in a new product; are you going to launch a new informational course. Be realistic but don’t be afraid to think big! What do you really want this year to look like?
Step Two is to focus on setting 90-day goals (these are your quarterly goals). Most businesses use quarters based on the calendar year: Q1 is from January, February to March: Q2 is from April to June; and so on. Look at your intention list and pick three to five things that you think you can make happen in the quarter you are in right now.
Step Three: Under each one of those intentions (aka goals) there will be a lot of things you need to do to make each happen. List these steps out – there are no right answers and this is the time to brainstorm (you can eliminate things later).
Let me give you an example from someone running a physical product business:
Liz wants to find a new product to sell. She first needs to come up with ideas for the product (so she’ll list product research as an action step and every step necessary). Maybe she just wants to expand her existing line (is it a new color, pattern, etc. and what steps are needed to determine this). Once she decides on the product she wants, she’ll need to find a source (is it from China, is it from a United States wholesaler, etc. and what steps are needed to set this up). If Liz is new to this type of business, she’ll need to add in education on how to source, launch, and market a new product. If she’s done it before, she’ll know the action steps needed to move through each phase. The most important piece of this exercise is writing down every step needed to achieve that goal.
Another example would be Cheryl’s information service business – her intention is to launch a new course so she needs to build her email list. Her list of action steps would include developing social media feeds and ads to gather subscribers. She’d also need a landing page to send them to and some sort of incentive (lead magnet) to get folks to sign up. She’ll need an email provider and to create some emails to send out once the list is ready.
Whatever the intention, there will be very particular action steps needed to achieve that goal. It will take some time to identify them and likely some research to learn how to do them. Include those steps in your list. You may also find that you might need to hire someone to complete one of these steps. Just get everything written down (you should end up with three to eight steps per intention).
Step Four: Now turn your action steps into a real to-do list. If you were just to write “build my email list” on your to-do list, it would never get done. That goal is too big and vague. Instead, you would write “learn Facebook ads” or whatever specific task you’ve listed under the intention.
Just keep breaking everything down into tasks you can accomplish within a reasonable amount of time. Put them into your daily calendar with the day and time you’re going to work on that action step. And then do it!
(Hint: Create an overall intentions list with your action steps (maybe on a whiteboard or printed as a poster) and cross out items as you achieve them. This will give you a visual reminder to keep working towards that bigger goal and motivation every time you cross something out!)
Step Five: Take some time to think through this exercise for each quarter for the rest of the year. You don’t need to break it all down into a to-do list right now but roughly list intentions for each quarter so you’ll know your general plan. Your brain will keep working on it for you! Then as you get within a few weeks of next quarter, follow the above steps to set your action steps.
Don’t skip this important business step.
This is how we build a plan that actually works. If your “plan” is just this generalized thing with on-going adding of tasks (that don’t intentionally work towards your goals), it just becomes overwhelming. And we know overwhelm is really the main reason many women stop doing business.
We want to create a road map to success and the best way to do it is to set yearly intentions, to break that up into quarterly goals and then to take your goals and create action. That's how you stay not overwhelmed, that's how you get clear, and that's how you bring your business to the next level and significantly create the kind of freedom and the money that you want and deserve.
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Who is Leslie Kuster?
I became a 7-figure woman entrepreneur in my 50s -- with my successful Back from Bali clothing brand! It took some getting real with myself to finally say, “Damn it, I want money!” Now I am here to ignite women entrepreneurs -- like you -- to experience the empowerment, independence and joy of creating a business that brings you both money and freedom. Read more about my story here.