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3 min read

9 Essential Steps to Planning Your Solopreneur Business

9 Essential Steps to Planning Your Solopreneur Business

I’m writing this post with the assumption that you’ve already found what you want to pursue for a business based on your skills and passions. If not, I highly recommend you check out the Envisioning Your Business section of The Solopreneur Success Cycle.

At this point, you need to actually plan your business and go through the following steps:

  1. Define your product
  2. Define your target customer
  3. Define your competition
  4. Define your business
  5. Define your messaging
  6. Define your brand
  7. Define your marketing program
  8. Define your sales process
  9. Review your plan

Let’s break each of these down so that you can set up the foundational elements of setting up and running a one-person business.

The Essential Steps to Planning Your Solopreneur Business

 

1. Define Your Product 

Understand your business on a deeper level. Figure out what problems you’re solving and what you sell to solve those problems. This should be crystal clear.

 

2. Define Your Target Audience 

Know who you are selling to and who you are not selling to. Buyer personas are an excellent way to define your customers in a useful and actionable way. 

Find where your audience consumes content and spends time in person and online. In today’s noisy environment, you can’t afford to reach them by broadcasting your offering to the world. You need to find a niche. 

 

3. Define Your Competition 

Put a list of competitors together. Who is currently solving the problem you’re trying to solve and who has the potential to take attention away from your business, directly or indirectly? Compare your business to your competitors’ businesses. Understand what your competitors are doing well and not so well and see what you can do to stand out and be the more attractive option for your audience. 

 

4. Define Your Business 

Put time towards market positioning. What will you do to stand out from the competition? Name Your Business. Try to make it something that won’t get lost in search results and that clearly explains your business. 

 

5. Define Your Messaging 

Talk about your audience, not you. Your audience doesn’t care about you or what you sell. They care about themselves and their problems. Focus on their pain points. Address their pain points directly in your messaging so they know you can help them. Write their story, not yours. The best way to engage potential customers is to make them the heroes of a story. Focus on telling that story. 

 

6. Define Your Brand 

Imagine your visual design. This includes logos, colors, fonts, etc. Develop your product design, if applicable. Decide how you’ll interact with your audience. What is your tone and brand personality? Remember you don’t have to do this alone. There are tons of professionals and services that can help you.

 

7. Define Your Marketing Program

Build Trust. This is a necessary first step if you want to develop an ongoing relationship with your prospects and customers. Be transparent. Show testimonials. Think of ways to build your credibility.

Inspire Action. Once people trust you, it becomes much easier to inspire them to take action (and eventually buy from you). From there, you can use the necessary marketing tactics to nurture them to a close. 

Marketing activities to consider include:

  • Content Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Paid Advertising
  • Event Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Organic Social Media Marketing
  • Referral Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Direct Mail

 

8. Define Your Sales Process 

Will your process involve high-touch, low-touch, or no-touch interactions? Decide how involved you’ll be in the process vs. say, people just filling out forms.

Sales process questions to answer include: 

  • How will I get prospects into the pipeline?
  • How will I qualify leads, that is, how will I ask the questions to determine if they are really my customer and so a potential buyer?
  • How will I keep track of my deals?
  • How will I close my deals?

 

9. Review Your Plan 

Go back to your goals and vision. Does your plan reflect these? Review if you can actually make money from your business idea. Realistically project your revenues and expenses and look at the resulting profit over time. Identify how you will fund your business. Be a little pessimistic here. It’s almost always more difficult than you expect. Talk to potential customers. If the business still looks attractive to you, then it’s time to talk to potential customers and see what they think. Decide on a corporate structure. Speak with an expert and decide which corporate structure makes sense for you.

 

Other Tasks to Consider When Planning Your Business

  • What kind of corporate structure you will use? 
  • How will you source your product if it’s a physical product? 
  • Will you need any permits to produce or sell your product? 
  • Will you need any equipment to run your business? 
  • How will you fulfill your orders/supply and deliver your product? 
  • How will you create your website? 
  • How will you market your business? 
  • What will your selling process will be? Will you need any legal document forms for your business?

There is a lot to be done when planning your solopreneur business. Do not take this phase lightly. In fact, much of the leg work happens during this time, so be thorough with each section.

As mentioned, you can find more information about starting, running, and growing your company of one by reviewing The Solopreneur Success Cycle

Don’t have time? There’s an abbreviated checklist of The Solopreneur Success Cycle as well. You can find it here!