Planning for 2016 without getting overwhelmed

Here at Stationery Academy, we’re a community for makers, artists, and designers where you can learn how to run your businesses with clarity, strategy, and action. We have conferences, webinars, online courses and so much more coming for 2016!

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It’s time to start planning for 2016, y’all! It’s November already (How did that happen?)

There are about 28 working days (if we're being generous) and only SIX weekends until Christmas.

Once you've picked your jaws up from realizing that, it's time to start planning for 2016!

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I know it can be overwhelming, but if we do it now, we’ll get ahead and everything from marketing to product launches will be less stressful.

Why do we need to start planning in November for all of 2016?

  • So you aren’t flying by the seat of your pants
  • So you aren’t half-assing product launches
  • So you’re realistic about your timelines and what needs to be done before before you can launch a product

You need to be building in your launch planning period (the build up before your big announcement or product launch). Getting these dates on the calendar helps people plan for these events throughout the year.

The reason I started doing this exercise is because I needed to plan for Stationery Academy that we want to have next year and it isn't on the calendar yet, you guys.

I needed to identify some dates that would work for us so I got my calendar out and started narrowing in on dates I knew I wanted for it to happen. (Stay tuned for the actual dates for Stationery Academy in 2016!)

Here’s how I got started:

  • Print out a yearly calendar (get the one I'm using from Day Designer for free)
  • I started crossing out dates that I knew I would be unavailable (travel, holidays, conflicts, etc)
  • Start looking at holidays (including any time off you’ve already scheduled) that might conflict with either the planning of or an actual product launch.
  • Create a key or legend of your own. For mine, I circled holidays, crossed out days that I knew wouldn't work, used squares around the single-day dates and used brackets to mark multi-day dates for my own events or launches.

As you fill in your own dates, here’s what’s going to happen: you’re going to see a lot of dates crossed out and you’re going to start wondering...“When am I going to do all of this stuff? When is it actually going to happen?”

This is why we're doing this now! Planning out the year lets you see how far you realistically need to start working backwards. If you’ve waited too late for some stuff, first cut yourself some slack, but you do have a limited amount of time so you need to get to work (at least on the planning part!). You can think about themes for holidays throughout the year as you plan so that you can see what your marketing efforts beforehand will need to look like.

Make sure that you’re being realistic about your time and your product launches. Half of us will go design a Valentine's Day collection…and we’ll start marketing it on February 1st. That’s just not enough time.

If you know that you need to launch a product, (say you offer Valentine’s Day cards), you know that these are going to be purchased leading up to February 14th and that they need to be ready to go in your shop by January (yikes!). You also know that you’ll need to plan your marketing efforts leading up to that. Used these dates to plan your "go live dates" and work backwards to plan your marketing.

And if you want to go the extra mile, start adding revenue goals to this calendar to try and identify your potential next year.

If you start planning now, your 2016 launches will be much smoother and by this time next year, you'll be so glad you took the time now to do this!

P.S. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we release our 2016 Stationery Academy dates!