Business Planning in 5 Steps

January 26, 2021

business planning in five steps

Today I’m helping make business planning easy by breaking it down into 5 steps!

Before you get started, I want to let you know I Have a FREE Business Planning Workshop available for you!!! Check it out Here!!!!!

When you watch the workshop, you’ll get access to my free business planning worksheet!

The first few steps involve looking back at last year. The middle step is vision casting. And the last step is when we brainstorm and plan for the year ahead.

Let’s dive in!

5 Steps for Succesful Business Planning

Step 1: Take Inventory | What Happened?

Here you’ll look at every part of your business from a bird’s eye view. Write down the state of everything. At this point, don’t make any value judgments. Just write what happened! I like to look in the following areas:

  • Finances
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Systems/Processes/Workflows
  • Goals
  • Projects
  • Education
  • Community/Relationships

Step 2: Analyze | Are there any trends?

At this stage, look at everything you did in your business, the state of everything, and look for trends. Did you spend a lot of money on marketing in one area but not see a ton of return? Did you invest in certain relationships that were really helpful? If you aren’t looking at the data you won’t be able to make an accurate analysis. That’s why it’s important to look at every part of your business!

Step 3: Vision Casting | What is Your Purpose?

Before diving in to planning for the next year, you should spend some time casting a vision for your business. It’s foundational to make sure that your business is based on your values and that everything not tied to your purpose is eliminated. Here are some of the questions I like to ask myself:

  • What are your core values? (personal & business)
  • Why are you in business?
  • What is your purpose?
  • How do you define success?
  • What is your vision?
  • What is your mission?
  • Where do you want to be this time next year?
  • How do you want to feel this time next year?

Need more help? Download my vision casting worksheet bundle here:

Step 4: Brainstorm | What Do You Want to Accomplish?

Here we’ll take a look at all 8 categories again and brainstorm everything that you want to do. No idea is too small or too big. Put it all out there! Finances especially need some careful planning. I like to ask these questions:

Where do you need to be? What is “enough”?

What is your cost of doing business?

How much profit do you need to make to get that “enough” number?

How can you price yourself to achieve that? 

  • Are you limited by hours per week?
  • Do you have a set number of clients you want to take on?
  • How many items do you need to sell? How much do you need to charge per item?

Before you move on:

  • Go through everything you wrote and eliminate anything that’s not tied to your vision/purpose
  • From what’s left, highlight what’s most important or write it below
  • Put the rest on a backburner list
  • Is there anything you can automate or outsource?

Step 5: Goal Setting & Planning | How Are You Going to Do it?

First, I like to break down everything that I want to do into habits and goals. Habits are things I want to tend to regularly; things that don’t really have a completion date. Goals are the big projects I want to work on.

For each habit, ask yourself:

  1. How often do you want to do it?
  2. How are you going to do it?
  3. When do you want it to be an ingrained habit?

For each goal, answer the following questions to ensure you’re setting SMART goals:

  • Specific – what do you want to do?
  • Measurable – how will you know you’ve accomplished it?
  • Attainable – can you actually achieve it?
  • Relevant – does it fit within your purpose? Will it move your business forward?
  • Time-bound – when will you complete it?

Next, break down each goal into milestones & action steps

For more help, download my goal setting worksheet here:

Find the Freedom to Flourish in Your Business!

Further Resources

Rising Tide Guide on Business Planning:


  • Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller – meaningful marketing made easy!
  • Profit First – Mike Michalowicz – make more money! 🙂


  • – keyword analysis/research

Education Opportunities:

  • My friend Chelsea is doing an amazing mastermind on Building a StoryBrand soon!  Find her at @chelseabfoster on Instagram. She also has an amazing membership for female creative entrepreneurs
  • Pinterest Strategy Academy by Jen Vazquez (@jenvazquezcoach on IG)

If you liked this post, consider sharing it on Pinterest!


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