The day-to-day of growing an indie beauty brand will keep you on your toes. With a never-ending avalanche of tasks crying out your name, it’s often hard to make the time and headspace to strategize and think ahead. In the fast-moving world of the beauty business, taking time to strategize can help give you the upper hand.

Focus is your Friend
They say that preparation meets opportunity, and strategic planning gives you purpose, direction, and the foresight to make well-considered moves towards growth. With a strategic plan in place, you’ll allocate resources where they’ll count the most. A formal plan can actually make you more adaptable. Constant change in the industry is a given. Having a strategy in place can help you pivot and recognize when the need to shift arises. A well-mapped plan can help you jump on unexpected opportunities that align with your vision – and help you say no to the shiny objects vying for your attention that aren’t critical to moving you towards your most urgent priorities.

Resources for Strategic Business Planning
Here are a few perspectives on the planning process that I’ve found useful for indie beauty brands:

Harvard Business Review: 6 Steps to Make Your Strategic Plan Really Strategic
Shopify: How to Create a Strategic Business Plan
Forbes: Five Steps to a Strategic Plan

To help get you started, here are some thought starters to reflect on to begin mapping out priorities as part of the situational analysis phase of a formal strategic planning process:

Brand Mission, Position & Experience:
Explore how well your brand's core values, positioning, and aesthetics align with your strategic goals and customer perceptions.

1. How effectively does our content and marketing strategy convey our brand mission to our customers?
2. Have my core values evolved or become stronger over time, and does my brand mirror this?
3. Is my brand positioned in a way that clearly differentiates it from competitors in the eyes of my customers and aligns with my values?
4. Does my brand's aesthetic still make me proud and accurately represent our future aspirations?
5. Are there any elements of my brand that I hesitate to showcase, or that feel outdated?
6. If I were my own customer, are there any aspects of my brand that I’d find confusing?
7. How does your brand's digital presence compare to your competitors?

Product Strategy:
Reflect on the uniqueness and relevance of your product offerings and how they align with market demands and trends.

8. What unique features do our products have that competitors lack that we need to dial up even more in our messaging?
9. Are there any gaps in our product line that customers are asking for?
10. How should customer feedback and reviews guide the development of new products?
11. Are there emerging trends or technologies we can incorporate into our products this year?

Packaging Strategy:
Consider how your packaging communicates your brand's values and whether it stands out in the market while maintaining sustainability.

12. Does our packaging effectively communicate our brand's values and aesthetics?
13. Are there innovative packaging designs or materials we could explore to enhance customer appeal and sustainability?
14. How does our branding stand out on retail shelves or in online content?
15. Are there cost-effective yet environmentally friendly packaging options we haven’t considered?

Pricing Strategy:
Evaluate your pricing structure's effectiveness in reflecting the value of your products and its competitiveness in the market.

16. How does our pricing strategy align with the perceived value of our products?
17. How does your pricing compare to our main competitors in the market?

eCommerce & Retail Strategy:
Analyze the efficiency of your online and physical retail strategies in reaching customers and fulfilling their needs.

18. What are the strengths and weaknesses of our current e-commerce and distribution channels?
19. How can we improve our online customer experience to increase sales?
20. Are there untapped markets or platforms where our products could be successful where our type of people are?
21. How effective are our logistics and delivery systems in meeting customer expectations?

As you ponder your plans for the year ahead, an outsider's perspective can be invaluable. If you're eager to glean additional insights when it comes to your brand's presence in the marketplace, audience engagement and the opportunities you may be leaving on the table, you're welcome to reach out to request a complimentary brand opportunity review call.


Author: Effie Asafu-Adjaye
Effie Asafu-Adjaye is the Founder of Beautiful Sparks. Beautiful Sparks helps beauty and fashion businesses get more fanatics in love with their brands, by refining their brand strategy, messaging, branding, content storytelling, and community-building strategy. Read more about Effie here. Linkedin | Youtube