I used to be a very disorganised person; I never used to mark down dates or remember important events, I just used to wing it and hope for the best, which is terrible for a business owner. Over the past couple of years, as my business has grown, I've had to learn how to plan in order to make the best use of my time, schedule for marketing opportunities, and take advantage of the most profitable times of the year.
I thought I would share how I plan a year ahead and why this is so important if you want to run a successful business.
The Yearly Overview
At the front of my planner there is a yearly overview broken down into four weeks. I use this portion of the planner to mark important times of the year from public holidays to notable dates specific to the business such as seasonal launch dates, when to run promotions, and deadlines for the research and design process. These are prime times of the year that tell me exactly what I should be doing and when, providing me with clear deadlines and an overview of the year so I know exactly when I need to be designing jewellery, launching new collections, scheduling promotions, and even contacting stockists.
I feel much more secure having a yearly plan that provides a clear overview of how the next twelve months should pan out. This month-by-month breakdown gives my actions more intention and prevents me from falling behind on or missing important deadlines.
The Marketing Calendar
The next part of my planner contains a two-page spread for each month providing a weekly overview of each month, which I use to plan my social media and email marketing. I use this space to plan email, Instagram, and blogging; I highlight the days I plan to post content on and the title or content (if applicable) of those posts.
Having a monthly overview for marketing provides a constant flow of content, which runs parallel to and in support of my yearly schedule. I use the two calendars together to create marketing that supports new collection launches, promotions, and special events. This social media marketing calendar allows me to work on and plan out content ahead of time and provides a guide I can refer back to when creating daily to-do lists.
The Daily Planner
The main part of this planner and the most frequently used is the day-by-day weekly view. On the left side each of the days from Monday to Sunday has their own slot with enough space to list a couple of major tasks. On the right side a spare page provides enough space to write notes for the week ahead. I use this space to write my week's to-do list, I then break it down and allocate these tasks to each of the days.
I work ahead using my yearly overview and marketing calendar to write in important dates, note deadlines for when I need to have things finished or scheduled, and mark in reminders for these important deadlines so I don't miss them.
The most important aspect of using a planner to plan a year in advance is it prevents me from becoming overwhelmed with all the work it takes to run a business alone. I can break everything down and really focus my attention on each month. I can create manageable, realistic task lists to deal with on a daily basis that neither stretch nor overwhelm me. I have found, since using this planning method, I have become more relaxed and less stressed; I know what I need to get done and by when. There is no stress or struggle. I have started using my time more effectively and so I get my work done promptly and I am able to take more time off.
If you found this post interesting and think a post on how to plan a year ahead would be useful, please leave me a comment.