How I Plan for my Small Business

A few months back I sat myself down and made a plan. I wanted to be releasing new design projects more often and creating content more regularly. I needed structure and a routine that worked for me the problem was I couldn't visualise it. I had tried bullet journaling which I really like but I got preoccupied in making it pretty and I was never far enough ahead with my journal that it actually helped. I have very limited time, being a mum, that I needed something that I could plan months ahead, I needed every month to have a similar layout that could be tweaked around school holidays, the school run and sick days. I want to be more present on social media without feeling like I am struggling for ideas and I wanted to be able to edit and view this both on my computer and on the go, with notifications to keep me on track.

So I turned to my trusty email calendar, which I have always used for personal stuff and I made it work for my business as well by scheduling in tasks as weekly or monthly reoccurring events. I added a task manager app and created myself some mini posters on Canva to breakdown my time into a design project a month.
Obviously everyone works differently and finding your own method to organise and plan your week has to work for you but here is how I did it and how it works for me:
family calendar

STEP ONE: CREATE A FAMILY/PERSONAL CALENDAR

Your personal calendar impacts what time you have to work on your small business, so the first thing I did was create a visual family/personal routine.

  • First I wrote down a list of all the tasks I need to do on a weekly basis, such as school run, D&D sessions, term times, etc.

  • Second I put these onto my calendar, which could be a paper one, email calendar or phone calendar as repeating events with no end date.

Now I could see what my time looked like visually.

STEP TWO: CREATE A WORK WEEK

Thinking about your small business as an 'actual job' instead of a hobby or something you like to do can make all the difference, setting aside and allotting the time and saying 'I am at work' really helped me so I created a work calendar and treated all my tasks as booked in time.
  • First I made a list of all the reoccurring tasks I do weekly, plus tasks I could do that would help my business run smoothly, such as weekly inventory checks, check ins with myself to evaluate what I have been doing.

  • Then I wrote down a list of weekly goals, things that I would like to accomplish each week, this could be a social media post every day, a blog post a week, a reel a week, things that would push me to create regular content.

  • Lastly I added these to my calendar at scheduled times and set them as reoccurring events.

Putting these goals and tasks into my calendar helped me see all the tasks I needed to do and by when giving me a better visual of my week, you can also add in monthly tasks. The lovely thing is I can move these tasks around if one takes longer than expected or I suddenly have the kid home sick.

STEP THREE: BREAKING DOWN PROJECTS

So you have the work week planned out with essential tasks but now it's time to think about growth and what you want to achieve, whether that's a project or setting yourself monthly goals, breaking them down to smaller tasks makes them feel more achievable, and this is what I did to give myself a better routine that suited me.
  • First I wrote down a list of big goals, what would I like to achieve, this could be a new line, a new product, a new design collection or something like setting up a vlog, joining a new social media platform or creating a podcast.

  • Next I wrote down everything I would need to do to achieve that goal all the smaller tasks, no matter how small I wrote them down.

  • Next I looked at these smaller tasks and worked out based on my previous completion of them how long I felt each would take, plus if there were tasks that needed others done first in order to complete them. Writing them down in an order of priority helped me to group them and organise them.

  • Lastly I added them to my calendar as smaller week long events with an overview of what would be done that week or as individual events if they were specific special tasks. I also listed all the rest of the tasks into a task manager under the weeks header, this gives me a repeatable tick list of tasks related to that week.

Breaking down my project into separate weeks or stages and tasks really helped me to create a monthly based project that I could repeat every month and made it feel a lot more achievable.

plans

STEP FOUR: HOLDING YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

This is the hard part, or at least it is for me. I found that working alone makes it so much easier to just do other things because you can struggle to hold yourself accountable to you jobs, so I created my community group The Tinker Shed, which any of my followers are free to join, in there I share more of my working week and they give me feedback on what I am making or doing. To keep myself accountable to my new schedule I used Canva to create these mini poster with all the perks they would receive, which are also some of the tasks I need to do, I also let them choose the monthly project theme which helps me stay motivated and in touch with my community.

WHAT PROGRAMMES OR APPS DO I USE?

This is just what I use, you could apply these same steps to a paper or email calendar and task manager or to do list:
One Calendar - I use this app to sync my different calendars as I have my shared family calendar on my iPhone and my work calendar on my gmail. I didn't want to move my calendars around too much as I share my family calendar with my husband. I like the usability of this app and the fact it has a computer and phone version. I like that I can colour code and drag and drop my events. To colour code you do have to purchase the app.
One Task - I use this app for all my tasks, it is free to download and works on computer syncing to the tasks on my gmail account. What I really like is that I can group my task in folders and that when I add a date to my task it appears on my calendar.
As I have said before this is how I plan my time and the apps I use to help me, everyone has there own way of planning and finding a method that really works can take time.
I hope this helps even just a little.

Lauren

Back to blog