Starting a new year is a great natural break point. Most people at this time are naturally reflecting on what happened in the past year and are at the same time looking to what the new year will hold. I took some time over the holidays to take a break from client work and focused in on what Strategy Made Simple is about and where I’m heading with it.
I’m sharing my process here so that you can use this check in format for your social enterprise. It also has the added benefit of giving you a sneak preview of the things I’m hoping to work on in the upcoming year.
I recommend doing a check in like this at least once per year if you’re a small business, but as you grow it might help to do this check in more frequently. At the end of this post I’ve included a couple different sections you might want to add depending on what kind of business you’re running.
To start I went over the mission, values, central ideas and the target market of Strategy made simple
Mission: To help social entrepreneurs grow their impact through confident and effective marketing and responsible business growth. To help change the culture of business from exploitation to cooperation.
Values: Holistic Business – all parts of the business must follow the mission. Positive Marketing – no predatory or abusive marketing tactics, no taking advantage of vulnerable people. Ecological Responsibility – Purchasing carbon offsets equal to the estimated energy consumption of running Strategy Made Simple
Central Ideas: Educate, explore, and make some noise
Target Market: 50% for beginners with little experience in social enterprise or business, 50% for people with intermediate knowledge of social enterprise.
Based on the mission and values that are listed in the previous section, I looked up some of the important statistics to review from the previous year.
2 pro bono projects
20 podcasts released and 1845 total podcast downloads in 2018
75 new subscribers to the newsletter
4223 website visitors with an average visit time of 24 seconds
This is not bad for the first year of operation. My goal is to double the number of visitors to my website, with at least 40 seconds average visit length. Another goal is that I want to produce more content, including written blog posts, and videos. I also want to explore how I can provide services and give advice to people who can’t afford personalized one on one coaching.
Now that I’ve got the base of an established website and content format, with people occasionally emailing me their questions about social enterprise, I want to find a way to scale the informational content I create. I also want to find a way to bring in some revenue through the content, so I can educate a larger number of people about social enterprise without taking away all my family time.
Because of the need for scale, I need to be more regular with my content, and have it featured in more places. I need a plan for what kind of content I will be producing and how frequently.
Create blog posts (1 per week)
Turn useful blog posts into informational podcast episodes (1 every 2 weeks)
Turn the more successful podcasts into videos (1 per month)
Continue the interview style podcasts (1 every 2 weeks)
Alternating weeks with the informational podcasts
In order to try to keep up with this schedule, I will be batching my blog post writing. The plan is to write two or three posts in weeks when there is some down time from projects and client work, and to record a podcast or two based on those posts soon after finishing writing.
That’s all well and good, but content on its own doesn’t pay the bills. I need a plan for how I’m going to earn enough income to support myself.
The free content exists to help funnel social entrepreneurs who are ready to my other paid services. Right now I offer one on one coaching for social enterprise, but that’s a fairly high investment for smaller social enterprises. To help social enterprises that might not be able to pay for coaching right now I’m planning on building up a middle tier of less personal but still useful services. The plan is that it will look like this:
· Free content (new social entrepreneurs and startups)
o Paid online class and webinars (for social enterprises that have grown enough that they have more complicated problems)
§ One on one coaching packages (for social enterprises that need personalized solutions.)
At the same time, I’m also exploring methods to potentially fund the content production through either sponsorships or donations, but I’m hesitant because of how money might change the messages. I haven’t made a decision on that yet, and it needs some more exploration as to how that might work.
The reason for including an online class or webinar is to take advantage of the video equipment I already have and will be using to produce educational videos.
In order to pull in more visitors to the website, I will also be creating more templates and tools such as this annual check in. The intent is to write blog posts and other content explaining how the tools work, then provide a worksheet or expanded explanation through a newsletter sign up form. This would provide an opportunity for people who are interested in learning social enterprise marketing and business strategy to learn more often, and will allow me to let them know whenever new content has been published, and promote my paid services as well.
I will also be reviewing the structure of my website to be able to funnel each of my target market segments to content that is most likely to be helpful for them. This is to hopefully make the website simpler to use, and therefore more helpful.
I am intending to add an extra page linked from the homepage called “Learning about social enterprise marketing and development.” This title is not final, and will definitely go through a couple revisions. Through this page, there will be lists of articles, podcasts and videos that I have produced that apply to either people who are beginners to social enterprise, beginners to business, or practicing social entrepreneurs.
This beginning of year check in has been helpful for me to understand what has been successful for my business, and establishing where I want to be heading in the future. Here is the foundation that I used to create my plan, as well as a couple extra sections that I didn’t need but you might find useful. Arrange them in the way that best represents the plan for your business.
Important Statistics (Decide which are important based on your mission and values, then compare to previous year)
Conversion rate (what % of people who contact you buy your product or service?)
# of customers
Social impact statistics (depend on your mission and industry)
Income sources (products, services)
Marketing (content, advertising, contests, sponsorships, etc.)
Processes (examine how you and your staff do your work, are there spaces to improve quality or provide extra value? This can include delivery systems, storage, policy, etc.)
Partnerships (New or existing)
Key resources (What do you have that enable you to do your work better? For me this is the podcast and the website improvements)
Adjacent products or services (for me, this was adding extra podcasts and video on top of the existing podcast and blog services, and adding webinars and an online course on top of the coaching. What might you be able to add because it aligns well with your existing business?)
Customer Relationships (How do your customers feel about your social enterprise, and how can you either invite them in further, or work on repairing a negative relationship?)
I have included a one page PDF that you can use to check in on your business. Just fill out your email below to receive the template.
As you check in on your social enterprise position and plan for the future, keep it simple.
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