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The Ultimate Small Biz Planning Post

Lauren Aston
23 January 2019

Hello Team!

What’s new with you? I hope January’s treating you well and it’s not too chilly wherever you are. I must confess I’m a little behind on tonight’s post because I got distracted by the subscription boxes (again!) I did some instagram stories today asking if any small businesses wanted to donate any treats to our boxes as a way of introducing them to our lovely customers and it’s gone bonkers with such incredible people offering incredible products. I’m so excited to share them with our subscribers and I’ll definitely take pictures and share them with you too once the boxes have gone out….It’s just so exciting I can’t concentrate haha! (could we perhaps bypass the fact that today’s post is on planning and I’ve totally neglected to schedule this distraction into my day?! But that’s OK because later on I’ll waffle on about being flexible :p)

Why you chatting about planning?

So basically planning is one of those subjects that doesn’t sound so sexy, to some it can sound pretty darn boring HOWEVER as we all know, it’s one of the things that is crucial to running a small business. It’s such a HUGE part of my January, with Helen from The Creative Business Network and I spending basically a day a week working on plans for LAD for the year ahead and figuring out where and how to spend the time and develop the business each year. And every year when we’re doing it I remember how crucial it is and also …how fantastic I find it! I always drag my feet thinking it’ll be dull but when it comes to it, and you approach it logically it’s actually so enjoyable to get organised and smash it! With that in mind I thought I’d do a quick (it wasn’t suppose to be quick but then people like Fluff Boxx offered up artisan candy floss for the subscription boxes and there was NO WAY I wasn’t going to spend my time talking about that) So yeah, I thought I’d do a quick summary of things that might help you plan your small business…

Side note – If you’ve been nodding along because you already know how great planning is and you’re already fabulous at it, you might want to read a different blog, I think you’re probably all planned out and don’t need my advice in the slightest! This blog is for 2-years-ago-me, 2017 Lauren who was a little lost and confused, feeling like she was just treading water to stay afloat. It’s here in case you’re a 2017 Lauren and need help, I’m here for you my darlings – planning will help!

Start with the free one

Some of you ( I’m assuming all of 2 people will read this so ‘some’ means maybe 1 person) may remember – around this time last year I posted a blog about planning which was the bones of how we plan things within the business, for instance – stock, emails, product development and social media. It’s always been a rather popular post on the old analytics and based on that and the kind feedback I think it’s been quite a useful one. I’d recommend that post as a good start to your small business planning, Hopefully it’ll help you assess a variety of things you need to focus on and give you some inspiration of different elements to plan.

The Ultimate Planning Toolkit

(It’s so cheap it’s basically free)

Another thing you may remember is that the aforementioned Helen (from The Creative Business Network) and I started producing Toolkits last year after getting a lot of requests for advice etc and not being able to do enough blogs on the subjects to thoroughly cover them. We started with the Defining Your Brand Toolkit (which was – incredibly – my best selling product on the website last year! Thank you to everyone who bought a copy! I hope it was helpful!) and this year we felt that there was still SO MUCH more to say about planning, after all – we spend literally days on it! We figured we’d do a toolkit to put everything we know in one instantly downloadable PDF and give you more practical advice. The Planning and Time Management Toolkit is full of templates and tips which aim to give you structure to implement a way of planning that works for you. Everyone’s capacities and commitments are different and so we knew we could never write a ‘one size fits all’ guide but we’re so happy that the final toolkit seems adaptable to everyone’s different set ups and we just packed it full of our best advice. It’s a broader scope than the blog (less about specifics like stock planning and more about considering every element of your business so for instance if you do need to stock plan then HOW you can do that most effectively.) It’s current at an introductory price of £3.85 and will go up to it’s normal price of £5 next week so if you want one now’s the time to save a few quid (alright Del Boy pipe down.)

The Ultimate Time Management Teacher

We were super delighted that the wonderful and talented Josephine Brooks got involved in our toolkit. Josephine is an incredible planning expert who kindly gave us 4 of her brilliant top tips specifically for Side Hustlers. She’s a small business mentor who helps people “build a business that fosters freedom and fulfilment in their lives, by helping them manage their time more effectively and giving them tools to be more productive. “ (couldn’t put it better myself!) If you’re after more help to nail your time management, especially if it’s your side hustle, I’d recommend the lovely Josephine any day. Her gentle and calm manner plus her practical and efficient planning may be just the ticket!

How’s that for a summAry?!

So there’s my three things, a free blog, a £3.85 toolkit and proper serious mentoring… depending on your planning needs. I hope that’s helpful to my fellow small biz pals, even with planning I know it can feel all a bit much sometimes. Last year was the first time I felt like we really nailed it (and even then – there’s always something else to learn or be improved!) but it made the year so much easier – not to mention Christmas was a doddle compared to previous years! In fact, it was actually joyful for the first time ever! haha and I truly believe it’s all down to the planning we did in January. There are things you can’t plan for, like falling off a bike and all the shit that comes with it…. but that’s OK (like, it’s not OK at the time but it’s OK in terms of you just change your plans) once you can prioritise (hopefully the toolkit can help with that) and be flexible about the stuff that isn’t urgent it really helps.

The Design Trust

On another side note, I’m doing an interview with The Design Trust this week, It’ll go into their Business Club group so if you’re a member (or if you want to join) you’ll be able to find it there…Wish me luck and pray I don’t say anything stupid!

Take care pals

Speak soon m’darligs – I should have a fun new knit kit for you next week (FINALLY!)

L x

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