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2022 Planning 📝

Cindy Guthrie
Cindy Guthrie
Happy Sunday! 
The first day we set our clocks back an hour is always weird for me because it feels extra late since the sun sets earlier.
It seems like 2021 just started, and we’re already in the last few weeks of the year. 
When I was a full-time freelancer, this was the time when people approached me about launching new businesses before the end of the year.
The beginning of the year was always a popular time to launch a business as well. I imagine it’s because people start to think about their goals for the upcoming year.
The only problem is that most of these businesses failed more often than not because there was not much planning involved.
It’s easy to get caught up in a rush of emotions while making resolutions and talking to folks around the holidays.
There’s just something about that holiday cheer that makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.
And you can.
But you need to have a proper plan in place. 
Here are a few things you should have in order before you think about launching a business or side hustle: 
Create a business plan
It doesn’t have to be something complicated. This isn’t something you’ll be presenting to investors. (At least not at this stage.) You can put together a one-pager with the following info:
  • Your company name
  • Your idea
  • What problem you’re solving
  • Your value proposition
  • Who your target audience is
  • And how you plan to make money
Of course you can add more information that that, but that’s a good starting point. You can build on the initial plan later.
Research your competitors
You should create a competitive analysis of at least three competitors. They can either be direct competitors, who do what you do, or indirect competitors.
Suppose you’re providing web design services. In that case, you’re competing with other freelancers, agencies (those are direct competitors), and DIY website builders such as Wix and Squarespace (those are indirect competitors.)
When you research your competitors, you’re looking at their website and their online presence.
  • Take screenshots and make notes of things they do well and where you have opportunities to outshine them.
  • Check out their LinkedIn and see how many employees they have.
  • Check out their online reviews if they have any. You’ll learn a lot about them, especially from their 3-star reviews, as those people usually kind of like their product or service, but something is missing. You can fill in those missing pieces. 
Create a marketing plan
This can also be a one-page document.
I like to reverse engineer my marketing to create my plan. For example, if you want to make two sales on my website per week, you’ll need to research the average conversion rate for your type of product or service. If you can’t find that number, a safe number to use is 1%.
If 1% of your website visitors make a purchase, that means you’ll need to drive 200 unique visitors to your website every week to meet your sales goals.
You can outline how you plan to get those visitors to come to your website in your marketing plan.
And here’s a pro-tip, marketing is all about experimentation. If something you’re doing does not work, change it up or trash it and move on to the next idea.
Create a mailing list
Shopify allows you to put up a coming soon page to collect email addresses if you’re selling a product. If you’re a service-based provider, you can sign up for ConvertKit and create a simple landing page to collect email addresses.
Whether you have a service-based business or a product-based business, you’ll want to get your mailing list set up as soon as possible so you can start building an audience before you launch.
When to start building an audience
Once you have those four items ready, you should launch your social channels and create content to build an audience.
Your audience will be a great resource as you’re developing your idea because you can ask them questions, invite them to share feedback, etc.
And as a bonus, when you launch your new product, you’ll have more than just your family visiting your site.
Till next week, Cindy
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Cindy Guthrie
Cindy Guthrie @thecindyguthrie

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