Creating a Strategic Business Plan for the New Year

It’s that time of year again… the time where I start creating a strategic business plan for the upcoming year. I do it every year… in fact, it’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s also one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle going in to a new year. I’ve created these business plans a little differently each year I’ve done business, some years have worked better than others.

The one element that’s always stayed the same is looking back over the past year to see what worked, and what didn’t. In my business and with the plan I created for the year.

Last year my business, and I, went through a lot of changes. With Google’s heavy hand I’ve had to rethink some of my business strategies as well as the business models I’ve been using.

At times I felt like I set these big goals (and I’ve written plenty of posts on goals), and when it came down to answering the question “what do I do today…” found the answer lacking. Of course, there’s always plenty of “work” to do to keep me busy through the day ~ but looking back I can definitely see there was a lot of time spent on “non income producing” activities.

So this year, of course I have big goals, but I’ve decided to look at my business as a whole ~ instead of looking at it as “a blog” or “this niche site”, I’m looking at my business as a whole and at the blog, the sites, the facebook accounts as pieces of that business ~ not the business itself.

By taking a bigger picture frame of reference I am able to see where the “pieces” fit in to grow my business as a whole. I also tend to be a very all or nothing thinker ~ so when viewing the pieces as the business it’s easy for me to get swept up in one element and completely ignore another. All this, None of that.

I have several arms to my business, and they all need to be tended to if I’m going to grow my business as a whole.

Now that I have the arms mapped out and the growth expected from them I’m doing something I haven’t really done before.

Breaking it down into the simple, daily, income producing activities.

I’ve absolutely realized it’s taking the small steps, completing the income producing activities regularly, consistently, daily that grows your business. It’s all fine and good to set a goal to be making 100K a year ~ but if you don’t take the correct actions, consistently that goal is really just a pipe dream.

Online business really breaks down into a few simple activities.

1. Produce content

2. Promote content

3. Create connections

4. Nurture those connections

From these activities you can come up with more specific ways YOU can do them, depending on your strengths. It also doesn’t matter what kind of business model you’re running, whether it’s blogging, niche marketing, product creation, network marketing ~ you’re going to need these 4 elements in one way or another. It’s up to you to figure out the specific daily actions you need to take to do those 4 activities.

Here’s an example from my business plan:

For the online marketing arm of my business I’ve got 3 blogs to tend to. Each is in a different niche. I am also starting a new project (that I’ll tell you about soon!) that will also create passive income ~ and ties in perfectly with 2 of the blogs.

So my strategic business plan for that arm of my business looks something like this:

  • publish blog content daily (I’ve created a publishing schedule and have decided to do monthly topics on two of the blogs so I can easily focus and create content)
  • promote blog posts via social media
  • connect with others in my niche on social media, and other blogs
  • write for the new project daily
  • promote the new project via forums daily (I have already identified specific forums that will be a good match for the project)
  • include appropriate calls to action (in blog posts, social media, forums etc) to get people on a list.

These activities all feed into the 4 main income producing activities of my business.

Why did I choose the 4 elements I chose?

Because they, at the very bottom line, are what grow my business.

My business grows by finding new customers, and nurturing current customers.

Creating new content and connecting with people ~ at the VERY base is what this business is all about. That is to be my focus this year. Providing insane value to my customers, creating great stuff that they want, and making them so happy about it they gladly share the word with their friends and online networks.

Now, my business model may be a little different than yours. I’m no longer doing niche sites (in fact, I have a few I’d love to sell so if you have any interest please connect with me) from here on out the online arm of my business is all about creating authority, branding myself, and providing insane value.

Whether this is your plan or not doesn’t really matter… what I hope you take from this post is that to move forward and grow your business you have to be CRYSTAL CLEAR what it is you need to spend your time on every single day. Whether you’ve got an hour or 10 hours to spend, you must, must, must spend it taking the actions that move your business forward. If you don’t know what they are, you can’t do them, and you’ll spend another year spinning your wheels wondering why things aren’t working.

So… take some time before the new year arrives. Think about your business as a whole. Look at the parts of your business as the pieces. Then figure out what steps you need to be taking to make the pieces grow so you can make your business as a whole grow. Creating a strategic business plan for the new year will get you off to a great start, but it will also give you a “center” to come back to when you notice your business has gone off the path and you want to get it back on track. (no worries ~ it happens to all of us, it’s the getting back on track part that differentiates the successful from the not)

I’d love to help you out ~ KISS Club is still in business and will continue to help online entrepreneurs create a plan and take action through the next year. If you need some personalized help or a good kick in the pants join us. We don’t bite. :)

In case you missed my email yesterday just wanted to let you know I’ve pulled the 2 hour blog blueprint and have replaced it with a rather remarkable (if I do say so myself) Focus and Action Work at Home Business Blueprint ~ it will walk you through all the planning and set up to create a BUSINESS online… not a blog, or a niche site, but a whole business that will be sustainable over the long haul. It’s getting rave reviews. If you’re already on my list and didn’t get a copy just shoot me an email momtohanna [at] gmail [dot] com and I’ll send it to you. If you’re not on the list ~ fill in the blanks (top right corner). :)

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  1. I am very glad with your blog. It’s really very interesting post full of valuable information very well written by u. The key part of this post is its descriptive way to define anything. I liked it with my heart. This post is a excellent example of such kind of thread.

  2. I have done a lot of article submission lately and now want to try joining forums. It is amazing since there are forums for every keyword I have and the market is more specific. I have registered to a number of forum sites and my next step is to choose the good.

  3. I suppose that all the plans and strategies must be out by now. We have entered the New Year and it feels really great to implement all the business plans and strategies that we have thought of as our New Year resolution. Also let’s just not repeat the mistakes that we have committed last year and also it would be awesome to have our new strategies implemented in our business.

  4. Now with a couple of days into 2012, I would like to share my experience with the strategic business plan. Prior to this, I had no plan made and took things as and when it came, perhaps that is the reason why I used to get so stressed out in life. I have started networking with the people who stop by, read my blogs and give their valuable feedback and points of view on Facebook. It is a great way to promote business stratergies, and further get like minded business connections and make great friends and advisors. Since, I am a stay at home dad, I spend most of the time that I am not tending to my wife or our beautiful daughters, doing the household chores, cooking or surfing the internet. I read interesting posts like the ones you put up or network on Facebook and must say that blog commenters and advisors have great ideas and could provide fantastic topics to work on for people like us or simply help us build on old ideas and make them more appealing. So far this has worked nicely for me, am loving 2012 because of the ideas that have come up. Cheers and thanks for your ideas.

  5. Great post – your plan looks totally do-able and non-frightening! :) I have found that I have so much on my plate blog-wise, but no plan. This results in my drifting from task to task to task without being able to determine if I’m getting results, or if the results I do get are good or bad. Without the “big picture” I’m adrift! I believe I will borrow your plan and tweak it to suit my own efforts.

  6. Thanks for helping me focus Jackie. Even though I have written about Goal Setting and Creating an Action Plan over on EzineArticles, I still sometimes lose focus. This article has helped me regain clarity.

  7. Great one Jackie! I will definitely try to make my own plan based on yours. Thanks!

  8. Margie D. McCoy says:

    Hi Jackie,

    Great plan! I hope my plans next year will come true unlike this year I have only accomplished 20% of my goals :(

  9. Laura Edward says:

    I agreed this is the way. Great plan, very intelligent built. It’s like a new year’s resolution for me, hehe. I’m looking forward to following your business plan for my websites. Thanks for the sharing.

  10. Jackie excellent advice on creating a business plan. Every year at about this time I too start writing one down on paper. It always includes short term, mid and long term (3 plus years in the future or so) goals. The problem I have is as the weeks and months progress after writing the business plan, the list of things I add to it get longer and longer and longer. :(

  11. Jackie, Your post is packed with great information and new ideas. This post is help me to be more productive. Thanks for sharing this one. Really a food for thought.

  12. Great post Jackie,

    I love the fact that you have broken down the online business plan to 4 points. Many people over analyse and end up with analysis paralysis. Making things more managable somehow allows you to get more done – go figure. Looking forward to more great posts form you in 2012!

  13. Informative post. It will really help me to build my new year online marketing strategies.

  14. Great plan. Got me thinking as well. There are a few steps that I will be borrowing from you. My resolution for 2012 is to promote my business in regions around the country. Hoping to be able to look at my business as a whole as well. Looking at it as bits and peices helps things to get done but sadly that is only short term and long term goals get compromised on. One thing that I would like to suggest to you is, to not look at what did not succeed and fret about it. Last year when my big plan to expand my business did not turn up the way I wanted it to I was sad and overlooked the 40% success I had acheived and only after I spoke to a close friend did I realise that I saw what did not happen and totally overlooked what did happen. Best wishes for the New Year.

    • Jackie Lee says:

      Glad it got you thinking Christopher. Of course, I don’t only look at what didn’t work. Throughout the year I take quarterly “inventories” of what’s working and what’s not working. The things that aren’t working I drop ~ the things that are working I ramp up. It’s a must to focus on what works… but you also want to be aware of and allow yourself to stop doing the things that don’t work. If they’re not working in your business you’re just wasting time. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  15. Great plan, very intelligent built. It’s like a new year’s resolution for me, hehe. I’m looking forward to following your business plan for my websites. As a sum-up, it has been a good year, pretty good earnings, successful projects and a lot of progress made. Thanks for sharing!

  16. That’s some solid plan you’ve built there. Mine is simpler, keep doing what i did last year, but more. More is the keyword for 2012.

    • We have the same mindset Marcus. I kept track of the strategies that worked for me this year and plan to continue using them in 2012. I can’t wait to learn more from experience next year.

      I could use some of Jackie’s ideas also. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Jackie Lee says:

      That’s a great plan as long as the things you were doing last year were working. :)

      • That’s a good point, Jackie. Not everything worked well for me last year, but I’m having trouble letting go. When we put so much time into a project, site, etc. it is difficult to realize it just isn’t working out and we need to move on. I’m again needing to make some serious and tough decisions as we move into the new year. Google messed up a lot of people and some of the income just isn’t there any more. Time to regroup!

        • Hi Edie,
          I definitely needed to reevaluate as well… here’s the thing… for me it’s really easy to just try to throw the WHOLE thing out and start from scratch ~ but that’s really kind of dumb. :) Instead I kept the pieces that were working and ADDED an arm to my business that doesn’t rely on Google. I only say this because it may not be necessary to scrap everything, but adding something DIFFERENT might make it all work together. :) Good luck.

  17. Picked up your Focus and Action report earlier today and just ran across this post. I’m currently working on branding and what I want to accomplish this next year. This is a timely post for me as I am trying to fine tune what my goals are and where I need to focus in order to make a living from my online activities.

    You made several notable points that I’ve jotted down and plan on keeping “before my eyes” so that I can stay focused on what is most important. Thank you!

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