Happy New Year!!! It is officially a new year and a new opportunity to start fresh. Do not worry about mistakes that happened last year, just use them as learning lessons and blocks to grow and propel yourself and business into being better this year. To kick this year off on the right foot, we have gathered invaluable business planning tips from 20 entrepreneurs of various industries. These tips will ensure that your 2017 is bigger and better than past years.
20 Business Planning Tips from 20 Entrepreneurs That Will Be Sure to Make Your 2017 Lit!
Understand the 4 p’s of marketing ─ product, price, place, and promotion. Whether you’re a freelancer, side-hustler or startup, these are the things that you need to know in order to position your particular offering in the marketplace. Product, place, price and promotion must all be considered when developing a marketing strategy for any product, service or brand. Know what your unique selling proposition is, why it’s important for your business, and why it’s crucial for your marketing and branding efforts. A unique selling proposition (USP) is a small paragraph that explains what your business stands for. It helps your business stand out from the crowd and tells your customers what is special about you. It should convey a strong benefit. It should be memorable. It should clearly explain who the brand is targeting. Your USP should be driving the development of your company and should be the foundation of your marketing strategy.
Alethea Robinson // See Girl Work
I recommend creating your content like your business is a magazine. In other words, create an editorial calendar. Start by viewing some of the magazines that are closely related to your industry and look at past years and the upcoming year to see related topics. From there, create your own editorial calendar for 6 months to a year. This will help keep you focus on your goals and not worried about what content to create by staying with your theme for the month.
Amber Dee // The Amber Dee
Be intentional in all that you do. Stay true to your values and your consumers and success is sure to come!
Asia Horne // Empire Life Magazine
As we embark on 2017, it is important for every business owner with an established entity to know the deadline for filing an annual report with their department of state or run the risk of losing an “active” status. Additionally, every business owner should know the difference between their business operating account and their personal account. These funds should never be commingled or you run the risk of subjecting your personal assets to business liability.
Ayesha Chidolue // The Chidolue Law Firm
Get down to the nitty-gritty: Be as detailed as possible while planning. Go from a very high level (panoramic view) all the way down to the specific details of how you’ll execute those plans and be sure to include target dates and timelines to keep you focused.
Bayode Yussuf // The Entrepreneurs Nook
Plan ahead for your branding. 2017 is the year of Execution. Often times as entrepreneurs we get so swept up in launching a new product or creating new content that we leave the branding for our endeavors for the last minute. Effective branding for your projects should involve a timeline, a budget, and someone like a designer or strategist to help you execute the vision. Planning ahead for what you’ll need to communicate with your audience throughout the year will save time, stress, and most importantly…MONEY.
Brittany Fells // Bee Fells Creative
“Never get caught up in the word, “No.” Believe it or not, you’re going to hear the word “NO” a lot in the fashion industry. It’s a part of the game. Guess what? Don’t let that stop you. Often times, people give up as soon as they receive more rejections than they expect. Rejection prepares you to work harder and become more creative in the approach to be a complete force. All it takes it that right “YES” to turn those past rejections into, “We would like to speak with you!” Keep going! Style, everyone doesn’t have but definitely want to gain access to.
De’Shundra “Nicole” Gibson // Fashion Stylist & Influencer
If you’re working 10 hour days as an entrepreneur but not seeing the revenue it’s time to look at your marketing plan. Each week plan a marketing strategy that will position you to attract new prospects. Create enough interest through your marketing to book a least 3 sales conversations weekly and you will see more revenue consistently.
Kay Richardson // Clients Who Say Yes
#1: Do a quick inventory on which marketing strategies worked for your business and which didn’t in 2016. Repeat and improve on what worked and get rid of what did not. Bonus: Ask yourself what nuggets of insights you learned from marketing your business this year and how you can use them to kick some buns in the new year.
#2: Don’t go making a huge list of 17 strategies you want to implement because you will inevitably overwhelm yourself (and your team). Instead, keep things simple and focus on 2-3 areas that you know will lead the biggest returns for your business. Online marketing is all about consistency, and I’d rather see you take 2-3 areas of your marketing to the next level than struggle to implement 17 new marketing hacks.
#3: Put it on paper.–Designing your marketing for the new year should be a fun and efficient experience and document the process will help you stay on track as you move forward in 2017.
Kimberly Ann Jimenez // Social Media Marketer
When I started my Shades of Melanin platform, I had no clue that it would take off so quickly. I could not predict that the unfortunate issues in our world would make people feel empowered to support our movement. Better yet, I also could not predict that regular people and celebrities would take my logo and carry it off as their own and monetize from it. Thankfully the SOM community keeps an eye out for me. So if you love your business protect it LEGALLY. Invest in a good lawyer and the proper trademarks, patents, and copyright. As a business person, you do not want someone else monetizing off of your intellectual property. You’ve worked too hard for that.
La-Toya Scott // Shades of Melanin
Stay ahead of time. Batch create and schedule online posts. Batch creating social media posts, blog posts, and emails for your subscribers will help you organize and streamline your content. If creating multiple pieces of content becomes difficult, create your content in themes by weekday or week.
Natalie Greagor // Strategist Cafe
There is no such thing as being too new, too small, or too established to have an accounting function in your business. Accounting in the lifeline of every business and should be used to set prices, make decisions, and establish growth! Today is a good day to set up an accounting system to help manage your business.”
Pamela Balentine // Viking Financial Services
There is a variety of business tools, but not all of them will be good for your business. It varies based on industry needs, clients needs, and personal needs. Take the time to research the business tools you want to invest in. Utilize the free trials. It is not always good to jump and invest in a tool without making sure it is a good fit for YOUR needs. Trust, doing it this way will save you a lot of money in the long term.
Quinteria Moss // Queenly Automation
As entrepreneurial attorney that represents entertainers and entrepreneurs, I want you to protect your business, your brand, and yourself from your business in 2017. First, protect your business by making sure that all of your agreements are in clear and concise written contracts. Second, protect your brand by making sure that all of the wordmarks, design logos, and slogans that you associate your brand and business with while selling your products and/or services are protected by trademark registration. Finally, protect yourself from your business by establishing a legal entity, such as a c-corporation, s-corporation, or LLC, so that you can establish a liability shield for your individual capacity. You can also keep track of all the legal work for your business in our small business legal journal and day planner.
Rosezena J. Pierce // R.J. Pierce Law Group
Take the time early on to make sure that your business and website (if you have one) are legally protected! Contracts, terms of purchase, and website policies will save you time and money, plus help protect the amazing brand you are building. Building your business on a strong legal foundation will ensure its sustainability. #protectyourpassion
Sarah Kornblet // Attorney for Online Businesses
It’s very important to think of growing and scaling your business. A part of this involves find out what’s working and what’s not working. Get rid of what’s not working and focus on what is working. Figure out what other problems you can solve for your customers/clients within the realm of your business. Study your best-selling product or service, get feedback from your customers and see how you can create spin-offs and value-added components.
Sharon Beason // Womeneur
Do not operate your business without a plan. The “wing it” approach will not work for too long. You should have an annual plan and quarterly plans with strategies broken down into daily actionable tasks. While you are at it, don’t forget to practice time management. There is quite a lot to do as a solopreneur and small business and without time management you will wear yourself thin. Overall how you plan and manage a business with your personal life will determine the totality and longevity of your success. No matter how you flip it, you will forever need a plan.
Sidjae Price // Priceless Planning
The biggest tip that I can offer any small business owner or solopreneur is to anticipate rapid growth, and with that to be open to changes. That has been my biggest lessons in 2016. I launched a marketing firm and quickly found myself making changes to how I presented my business to the public. Still, change is good, as it encourages progress and innovation. Embrace that and enjoy the ride!
Stephanie Rubio // SoVerve Marketing Group
Create your social media content calendar based on your marketing plan for the year. Post with a purpose as it aligns to your sales goals. Strategic organization & planning is essential to your success online.
Tiffany Marshall // So Social Consulting
In today’s anytime, anywhere millennial business innovation, it has never been more important, to get the most out of each day. In order to be successful at business, you need to focus on these three elements: Time, Space and Mindset.
TIME: Managing your time is critical to improving business productivity. The biggest time sucks are usually some of the most important business tasks – Business Administration, On-Boarding, Invoicing, and Social Media Marketing.
SPACE: Your office environment; is one of the most important elements for increasing productivity. Your (home) office should be a peaceful, inspiring and organized space where you can gain clarity and thrive.
MINDSET: One of the most permeating and effective business strategies and productivity inducers is to keep a positive mindset.
Tyra Johnson // The Posh Organization