Note To Self

Six steps to building your business’s yearly Brand Strategy Plan

It’s that time of the year again. Time to bust out that fresh new planner and your favorite highlighters and work on your plan for the year ahead. As others are flocking to the gym, you are flocking to the stationary aisle at Target and getting ready to put pen to paper and make shit happen in 2023.

The new year marks a fresh start, and in these early January days, people from all walks of life are setting out to form new habits, kick old ones to the curb, and mark the memories to come on a previously blank calendar.

If you are an entrepreneur, you’re faced with planning the year and setting goals for your personal life and your business. And when you are the face of your Brand, those things can be one and the same.

To build a successful business, you need to think like a CEO. And the highest-earning CEOs know that the key to growing a brand is to design a strategy and a plan to implement it over time.

Creating a Plan for your Brand helps you to:

  1. Create boundaries around your business
  2. Set yearly revenue goals
  3. Determine your availability and work hours
  4. Establish how you will market your services, products, or offers

What is an annual brand plan?

Annual planning is the art of developing a strategy, vision, and goals for the year ahead. A solid annual plan creates a strategic value-based vision for the year ahead – broken down into specific goals, metrics, and budgets to guide your day-to-day actions and decisions. This plan needs to be well thought out and flexible enough to bend with the seasons of your life and business.

If you are a creative entrepreneur, your annual plan should include the following:

  • The goals you want to achieve, personally and in your business
  • A strategy for how you will measure progress and achieve those goals
  • Any time you take off from your business, like vacations, holidays, and important events.
  • Milestones and deadlines as they pertain to your yearly goals.
  • Campaigns and launch dates
  • If you provide a service, client openings, and your overall workload

How do you create an annual brand plan?

Six steps to your best year in business

01. Reflect & analyze

Start with the numbers. I like to think of this as “taking stock” (even when it is hard). Before you set goals for the year to come, you need to know where you stand. Take some time to reflect on what you have (and have not) accomplished this year. Make sure you know your numbers. How much did you make? What were your conversion rates? How many people looked at your website, subscribed to your newsletter, or followed you on Instagram? Data is your best friend. The more you can measure, the better you can plan.

02. Establish routines

A plan is only as good as your ability to execute it. Your daily habits and actions are where good intentions go to die. But they don’t have to be. Assess not only your daily routines but also how you are working strategically on a monthly and quarterly basis, and find ways to establish and cultivate focus moving forward.

03. Clarify your vision

Vision is the secret sauce in an intentional annual brand plan. Creating a vision for your life is creating a vision for your business. Everything changed when I made the connection between how I wanted to live my life 1, 3, and 5 years from now – and the decisions I am making in my business today. Take some time to dive in and seek clarity on what you want your life and business to look like at the end of the year and even further into the future.The more detail you can give here, the better. Make it personal. I like to free write about my vision and create digital and physical vision boards with photos of the places I want to see, feelings I want to evoke, spaces I want to curate, and the overall quality of life I want to lead.

04. Goal Setting.

Now that you’ve got your vision, it’s time to set your goals. Most people do not accomplish their new year’s goals because what they are doing is setting intentions.

Get healthy

Get better at self-care

Read more

Save money for a new car.

Redo my website

Grow my audience

Those are all intentions. There is little that is defined or measurable. They are merely statements of things you intend to do but have no definitive details to help you establish focus and track progress. Whereas…

  • Climb six mountains by the end of 2023.
  • Getting a massage every month
  • Read 20 books by the end of the year.
  • Saving 10k for a new car by the end of July
  • Re-designing, writing, and launching my updated website by August 3rd.
  • Grow my email list to 2k

Instead, set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

05. Creating an intentional 12-month plan

Here is where your goals and your real life come together. I break down exactly how I use digital and analog tools to create different versions of my yearly calendar in The Yearly Drop In, but here is a crash course.

  1. Set your cornerstones. These are things that are set in stone, like holidays, vacations, and time off.
  2. Create a buffer. Buffers are my best-kept not so secret, secret. It may be because I am an extroverted introvert, but giving myself at least a day before and after any big event or trip has helped me create boundaries around my energy and business and prevent burnout. Those in-between days to catch up on life and rest are what I like to call buffers.
  3. Take note of seasons and cycles. Living somewhere with stark contrasts in the seasons causes me major shifts in energy from one quarter to the next. I like to add notes regarding the new and full moon and zodiac seasons.
  4. Remember those goals we set? Note your milestones and any deadlines you need to keep in mind. Now is also a great time to determine your availability and workload for the year. If you provide a service, you can determine how many clients and projects you will need to take on and when you will open space in your calendar.
  5. Making money comes down to making sales, and making sales comes down to marketing your services. Once you have an overview of the year, you can set your quarterly marketing campaigns and launch dates for the entire year. This part of the planning process determines when and how you will need to promote your services and create content.

Have you ever heard of the term decision fatigue? It is something that many creative entrepreneurs I work with one on one (myself included) struggle with. In this case, It has to do with all the decisions, ideas, and tasks you need to think through when you run a business. After a while, we get tired of making decisions, and we procrastinate. Taking the time to create an annual brand plan gives you one less thing to worry about six months down the road. Working from a plan saves you time and energy and helps to ensure that your actions align with your long-term vision.

Need some help building your plan for 2023? Register for the yearly drop-in – A comprehensive strategic planning course and the digital system designed to help Creative Entrepreneurs who want to singlehandedly build their Brand and grow their business in 2023. Click here to learn more.

Brand Strategy & Development, Marketing & Content, Strategic Planning


Six steps to building your business’s yearly Brand Strategy Plan

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