First Year: Creating a Business Plan
Now that you have your Business Idea it's time to sit down and create a plan. This plan should define your business, set goals, identify your audience, and start thinking about marketing.
While it doesn't have to be completely prim and proper it's always a good idea to write down your ideas and goals to create a plan that can be executed and managed. We used these steps to create our business plan and we recommend it as a basic guideline for any small business.
Define Your Business:
What are your services? What products will you sell? What are you willing to offer? What are you not willing to offer? Who will your client be?
Make 1 Month, 3 Month, 6 Month, and 1 Year Goals for yourself and your business. For example:
1 Month: Have business Facebook page, Instagram, email and business cards done. Have intentional conversations about your business with friends and family that can start spreading the word.
3 Months: Have a website that clearly displays your services and products (we suggest using Squarespace. It's extremely user-friendly for the first-time website designer and they give you a trial period. Register your business on google.
6 Months: Have secured three clients (this number will vary based on your business). Request reviews of your services. Have photos on your website for your portfolio.
1 Year: Have secured ten more clients. Have website updated and logo solidified. Have a marketing strategy defined. Have stayed within your budget.
Ask yourself how much your start up cost will be. How much will the supplies, equipment, website, business cards, etc., will cost. Try to eliminate as much overhead expense as you can for the first year. Set a marketing and equipment budget and stick to it. Set your prices. Once you have decided on your prices, keep them the same for a whole season (for suggestions on how to set your price, read here).
Are you going to sign up for a paid membership? Are you relying on word of mouth? Figure out how your marketing will work within your first year and talk to other vendors to see which outlets work best for them. We suggest using small outlets such as Company Discount Programs, Facebook/Instagram Sponsored Posts
Identify Your Network:
Who are you selling to? Who is your ideal client? Who are similar vendors and business owner that you can learn from and partner with? What kind of clients are you willing to take your first year? Once you know who you are trying to sell to you can focus in on them.