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Facebook Marketing in 2023: A VERY Complete Guide

Potential customers are already looking for businesses like yours on Facebook. A smart Facebook marketing strategy is the only way to connect with them.

Facebook marketing isn’t optional. Facebook is the most used social platform in the world, pulling in 2.29 billion daily active users .

It’s not all vacation pics and humblebrags either. For 53.2% of internet users ages 16-24 , social media is their primary source of brand research. And, 66% of all Facebook users check out a local business Page at least once a week .

Truth time: You need to be on Facebook.

But what should you do first? Do you need to run ads? What should you post about? Does creating a business Page mean you’re in the metaverse?

The answers to all your questions are ahead, plus a step-by-step process to start your Facebook marketing journey off right.

Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.

What is Facebook marketing?

Facebook marketing is the practice of promoting a business and brand on Facebook. It can help businesses build brand awareness, grow an online following, gather leads, and sell more products or services.

Facebook marketing tactics can include:

How to set up Facebook for business

For those working with a limited or zero budget: You can do Facebook marketing completely for free.

Optionally, you can accelerate your growth with paid services, like Facebook ads, boosted content, or influencer/partnership campaigns.

Let’s start at the beginning: Your business’ Facebook Page. Whether you only do this and share organic content, or follow the rest of the tips in this article, you need to have a Page.

Create a Facebook Business Page

1. Sign in to Facebook with your personal account. Your personal information won’t show on your Page, but you can also create a new Facebook account with a work email address if you prefer.

2. Open the menu (the nine dots on the right side) and click Create , then Page .

open menu with nine dots and click create

3. To create your Page, enter:

a. Name: Your business name

b. Category: Start typing to see the available options. For example, “retail” or “restaurant.”

c. Description: A sentence or two describing what your business does. You can edit this later.

4. Congrats! Your Page is live. Click Edit Page Info to add more to your About section, add a website URL, and more. I’ll cover exactly how to optimize your new Page later in this article.

Get verified on Facebook (optional)

You don’t need it, but it helps. How do you get that little blue checkmark like the cool brands?

Hootsuite verified Facebook page

Verified Pages mean Facebook has checked to ensure the person or brand is who they say they are. It communicates trust (which is important since 72% of people say they distrust Facebook).

Technically, getting verified is as simple as filling out a form . But really, Facebook only verifies profiles and Pages belonging to businesses or well-known public figures.

It can be difficult to get a personal profile verified, but it’s quite easy for businesses of all sizes, especially if you have a physical location. The key is ensuring your proof of identity links are independent, non-promotional content from high-quality sources.

Check out our complete Facebook verification guide for more tips.

Open a Facebook ads account (optional)

It’s a good idea to set up a Facebook ads account even if you don’t plan to use it right away.

Once you have a business Page set up, go to Facebook Ads Manager (now part of Meta Business Suite). You can add an existing Facebook ads account or follow the prompts to create a new one.

Now you can start an automated campaign, create your own campaign from scratch, or promote (“boost”) existing Page content.

Not sure if you’re ready for Facebook ads? I’ve got tips on when and how to start later in this article.

How to create a Facebook marketing strategy in 7 easy steps

1. define your audience.

Before you do anything, you must first define who your ideal potential customer is and what they want on Facebook. Then, create a marketing and content strategy around that.

Every article about social media marketing says this.

…Because it’s true.

At minimum, you need to define your target audience by answering the following:

Not sure where to start? If you already have followers on your Facebook Page, check out Audience Insights inside Meta Business Suite to see the demographics of your existing audience.

Meta Business Suite Facebook insights

Meta’s Insights area offers more than basic info, including:

Does your data line up with the customers you want to attract? Perfect, keep up the good work. Not so much? Adjust your content strategy accordingly and watch your Insights to see what works for shifting your audience to the one you want.

This data is also valuable for ad targeting if you want to explore Facebook advertising.

Ready to dig deep? Here’s how to get all the nerdy info you want from Facebook Audience Insights .

2. Define your goals

Why do you want followers? What do you want them to do? For most companies, the answer is, “Buy something.”

But it’s not always about money. Other common goals for a Facebook Page are to:

Your Facebook marketing goals will depend on your overall marketing strategy. (Need a refresh? We’ve got a free marketing plan template for ya.)

If you’re up for more no-BS advice, check out this post about setting social media goals and how to measure them.

3. Plan your content strategy

No need to overcomplicate this. Your content strategy is:

What to post

Will you share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your process? Will you post exclusive discounts? Will you stick to business, or include some fun and games?

Let your imagination run wild with ideas— Ha! Just kidding. You’re gonna post what your audience wants, right? From all that research you did in step 1, right?

Creativity is encouraged, though. Blend what you know about your target audience with what you think will perform well. (Psst—we’ve researched all the best social media trends so you don’t have to.)

Think of your Facebook content strategy like buckets. Each bucket is a topic.

For example:

You get the idea. And you know what makes everything, including creativity, more fun? Rules!

A few classic social media content strategy rules to consider:

When to post it

Once you’ve decided what to post , deciding when to post it is the last puzzle piece.

As mentioned earlier, Facebook Audience Insights can help here, although our research has found the best times to post on Facebook are between 8:00AM to 12:00PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Not so fast. That’s a massive generalization. Like everything else in your strategy, experiment! Try different times and see when you get the most engagement.

It’s easy to stay on track with Hootsuite Planner . Everyone on your team can see upcoming posts, collaborate on drafts, and identify any gaps before you reach an oh-crap-I-need-a-post-right-now content emergency.

The best part? Hootsuite’s powerful analytics will tell you when the best times to post are, based on your personalized data.

Check out how it all works:

4. Optimize your Page

Whether you’ve just set up your Facebook business Page or had one for awhile, make sure you have:

Hootsuite optimized Facebook business page

If you have a physical business location, also ensure you’ve added a street address.

If you’re an ecommerce business, use Commerce Manager to display your products in the new Facebook Shop tab. Not sure how? Here’s how to set up a Facebook Shop .

5. Try other Facebook tools

1. create a facebook group.

Groups require a lot of moderation and attention to be successful, but they can earn powerful results.

2. Drive engagement with Hootsuite Inbox

Hootsuite Inbox allows you to respond to DMs and comments from all your social platforms in one place. Besides replying faster, it also enables your entire team to manage communications without duplicating work or missing anything.

See how much time you’ll save:

3. Try Facebook Marketplace for local sales

While you may think of Marketplace as simply the modern day replacement for Craigslist, it’s actually a powerful business sales channel, too.

In 2022, Facebook Marketplace ads reach a potential 562.1 million people . While most sellers are people cleaning out their basements, business listings are welcome , including in lucrative categories like car and real estate sales (where regional laws permit).

It’s free to create listings, making it a must-try for local businesses. If you sell nationally, consider promoting your shop website, too.

6. Install Meta Pixel (formerly Facebook Pixel)

Meta Pixel is a small piece of code installed on your website to allow tracking, testing, targeting, and analytics for Facebook and Instagram ads. You only have to set it up once per website. (And wait, you’ve already linked your Instagram account to your Facebook page , right?)

To install Meta Pixel:

1. Log in to Facebook Events Manager . In the left menu, click Connect data sources .

Facebook Events Manager connect data sources

2. Choose Web as the data source and click Connect .

3. Name it and enter your website URL . Depending what your website runs on, there may be a one-click integration available. If not, follow the prompts to install the code manually .

4. Set up the events you want to track. From your Pixel’s Overview tab, click Add Events , then From the Pixel .

pixel overview add events

5. Enter your URL and click Open website . You’ll be able to select buttons on your site to track as an Event with your Pixel. No coding required. Assign each button a role, such as “Purchase,” “Contact,” “Search,” and more. Ensure your browser allows pop-ups for this to work properly.

7. Try Facebook advertising

Facebook ads can skyrocket traffic and sales, but launching a campaign can be overwhelming.

You’re also probably wondering how much Facebook ads cost . (Spoiler: It varies. You’re welcome.)

Facebook ads reach the largest potential audience of any social platform, up to 2.11 billion people as of 2022. Put another way, that’s 34.1% of Earth’s entire population over age 13.

If you want to begin social media advertising, Facebook is the best place to start for most businesses. There’s a lot to learn, but our step-by-step guide to creating your first Facebook ad campaign makes it easier.

But are you ready?

When to start using Facebook ads

The day after creating your shiny new business Page isn’t the best time to try out Facebook ads. But, letting someone else arbitrarily tell you when you’re ready isn’t the answer, either. Heh.

Yep, as with most marketing things, there isn’t one correct answer or KPI that can tell you when to start experimenting with ads.

I’d argue you should have these things first:

The easy way: Boost a post

“Boosting” a post is Facebook lingo for taking a regular Page post and turning it into an ad.

Boosting is the gateway ad those senior content marketers warned you about. Side effects of success include conversions, audience growth, and a newfound appreciation for digital advertising.

When you should consider it: If you’re completely new to Facebook advertising and want to test the waters. Boosted posts are relatively cheap since you specify your budget up front. Remember: Cheap isn’t effective if the ad isn’t accurately targeted.

Ready to hit turbo mode? Here’s how to boost a Facebook post the right way.

The full monty: Create your first Facebook ad campaign

Ad groups, creative options, launch dates, awareness ads, conversion ads, multiple formats, copy options… A full Facebook ad campaign is a lot of work.

It’s worth it. The combination of organic and paid Facebook content is the secret sauce to achieving all your social media ✨ dreams . ✨

When you should consider it: You want to build focused momentum for a product launch, event, or other promotion.

Paid campaigns can work with budgets of all sizes, but spend time honing your targeting skills first. Experimenting with boosted posts can help dial this in.

You know when you see an ad and think wow, I’m the target market! Like finding out A&W has kids-size meals at 5:30pm on a hot summer Sunday when I know my soul will leave my body if I turn the oven on.

That’s how you want your ad’s viewers to feel: “This is for me.”

A&W sponsored ad paid campaign

You can absolutely be successful at DIY-ing your Facebook ads, although plan to do a ton of research along the way. We have a few resources for you to start with:

Consider hiring an agency or freelance consultant to help plan your first campaign. You’ll learn a lot and optimize your chances of success.

8 types of Facebook posts to use for marketing

Plain Jane. All type and no hype. The OG.

Text posts don’t include links, so they’re not meant to drive traffic, but they can be surprisingly good at growing your Page audience. Text posts have the highest average engagement rate at 0.13%.

Facebook post engagement benchmarks

However, these posts can easily get lost in the algorithm. For text posts under 130 characters, you can choose a colorful background to help them stand out.

Keep text posts short: Communicate something quickly to your audience, or ask them a question.

Or, be super relatable and funny.

Photo posts are second only to text posts for engagement, with an average engagement rate of 0.11% . A photo post can be any type of image, including a photo, infographic, or other artwork. You can add as many photos as you want to each post, but for 10 or more, consider creating an album instead.

Every type of business can make impactful photo posts:

Better yet, feature your customers’ photos for a unique perspective on your products and engage your audience, too.

The mountains are calling. 🏔📸: @jozfstefn Posted by Jeep Canada on  Saturday, July 23, 2022

Limited photography budget? Check out these free stock photo sites .

Video communicates the way nothing else can. It’s the next best thing to having your audience right in front of you.

Stuck for ideas? Here are a few types of videos to share:

MojoGrip is a go-to resource for aviation fans. They know their audience is just as passionate about aircraft as they are, so this “How It’s Made” video was a big hit.

Mosquito Helicopter Factory Tour | How It’s Made Mosquito Helicopter Factory Tour | How It’s Made Posted by MojoGrip on Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Wondering what successful social media videos have in common? Check our tips for creating viral social videos .

4. Live video

Using live video successfully is all about holding your audience’s attention.

Q&As are one of the most effective live video formats for B2B companies. For both B2B and B2C, try demo videos showing how to use your product, especially to show off lesser-known use cases or “hacks.”

Lenovo managed to engage their audience and show off a new product’s capabilities with this Live. Viewers voted on ways to try to destroy the laptop and Lenovo carried them out live to prove the computer’s toughness.

Not wondering what to talk about, just how to do it? We’ve got a Facebook live guide for newbies.

Links = anything directing to an external source, like your website. Link posts can contain any type of media, too.

Creating one is easy: All you need is a caption of your own, then paste in any link and Facebook will pull in an image, title, and meta description from the website. Or, you can manually add your own.

Hootsuite does this, too, and you can schedule them to publish later, shorten URLs, and track clicks . Nice.

schedule new post on Hootsuite composer

6. Facebook Stories

Every day, one billion Stories are posted across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp—Meta’s family of apps.

Facebook Stories offer a familiar vertical format and options for adding links, stickers, text, and more. You can use either an image or video. Images show for 5 seconds and videos can be up to 20 seconds per Story. All Facebook Stories disappear after 24 hours.

You can publish organic Stories, or make Facebook Stories ads .

For best results, keep text and graphics minimal and use the space to let your photo or video speak for itself.

Facebook Stories Rothy's sponsored content

And by the way,

7. Pinned post

You can set an existing post on your Facebook Page as a “pinned post,” which means it will always be at the top of your Page.

This is helpful for a welcome message, links to important pages or customer support contacts, or anything you’re promoting right now. You can change your pinned post anytime.

McDonald’s changes theirs up frequently for new promotions, like this one encouraging app downloads.

McDonald's app downloads pinned post

8. Specialty post types

These are great for specific cases, but you’ll use them less frequently.

Facebook Group posts

Running a members-only Facebook Group in addition to your business Page can be a lot of work. But if building a community is one of your goals, a Facebook Group is a perfect way to achieve that, thanks to its 1.8 billion active monthly users.

Posting in a Group is the same as posting to your Page, except it’s only visible to members. Think it would be a good fit? We’ve got step by step instructions, plus recommended settings, for creating a Facebook Group for business .

Hello Fresh runs their #FreshFam Group for customers to share photos and feedback of the recipes they made. It’s linked to their business Page under the Community tab.

HelloFresh #FreshFam Group community tab


Fundraising on Facebook for a charity, or your own foundation, is an excellent way to grow your audience while making a positive impact.

Fundraisers show your values and connect people to your brand’s purpose. It puts your money where your mouth is. Bonus points: You can opt to match all donations (up to a limit of your choice).

And of course, make your new fundraiser your pinned post to maximize views, like the Humane Society of the United States:

Humane Society of the United States pinned post fundraiser

However, only verified Facebook business Pages for public figures, brands, or charities can create fundraisers.

There’s a workaround if you’re not verified yet, though. Create a fundraiser with a personal Facebook user profile, then share it on your business Page.

Creating an event post has 6 unique benefits:

2022 Zero Waste Conference Facebook event Vancouver Convention Centre

5 Facebook marketing tools

1. hootsuite.

With Hootsuite, you can manage all of your Facebook marketing activities from one place. We hate marketing cliches, but it really is your, excuse us, one-stop shop for all things Facebook marketing.

Use Hootsuite to:

Best Time to Publish feature in Hootsuite Analytics: Heatmap showing audience activity and recommended posting times for best engagement

Start your free 30-day trial

Leverage AI to save money and provide top-notch customer service 24/7. Facebook Messenger chatbots can act as an interactive FAQ, as well as connect your customers to live agents for more complex requests. And, they can even suggest and sell products right from Messenger.

Ecommerce retailer Bestseller’s chatbot, powered by Heyday , automated up to 90% of their simple customer conversations in both English and French.

But more importantly, its smart programming understood Quebecois French terms—a rare and important feature for the Quebec-based company. They’d already found the generic French translations used by other apps unsuitable.

Heyday Jack & Jones multilingual chatbot

User-generated content is awesome for 2 reasons:

Chute simplifies the often-daunting task of finding relevant content based on topic, location, or more. Save what you find into an organized content library you can access from Hootsuite Composer.

It also makes it easy to properly obtain usage rights and permission for legal compliance.

Hootsuite Composer Chute

4. Reputology

Reviews are one of the most important aspects of your Facebook business Page (and elsewhere). Reputology tracks incoming reviews and allows you to respond inside Hootsuite.

Reputology tracks incoming online reviews

5. Facebook Ads Library

Sometimes a little inspiration is all you need. Facebook Ads Library is a searchable database of all the ads currently running on Facebook.

You can filter by location, type of ad, and keywords.

Get ideas for your next campaign, identify trending phrases or graphics, and check up on what your competitors are doing.

Meta Facebook Ads Library

Manage your Facebook business Page, content, ads—and everything for all your other platforms, too—with Hootsuite. Plan and schedule posts, run ads, engage with followers, and measure your impact with powerful analytics. Try it free today.

Get Started

Grow your Facebook presence faster with Hootsuite . Schedule all your social posts and track their performance in one dashboard.

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facebook plan for small business

Well this is awkward.

We could have SWORN you were someone who wanted to grow on social media and beat your competitors. Our bad. We’ll just leave this 60-day free trial here for someone else then…

facebook plan for small business

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Facebook for Business: Everything You Need to Know

Max Freedman

Facebook is a powerful tool for small businesses. Learn how to use Facebook Pages, ads and other engagement tools.

Every small business can benefit from a Facebook presence. With more than 2.91 billion monthly users , Meta – the Facebook company’s new name – gives small businesses many ways to promote their services, increase customer support, and boost sales and recognition through their Facebook platform.

Using Facebook for your small business may seem challenging because the platform’s rules and algorithms change frequently. However, with the right strategies, Facebook is one of the best ways to use social media for business .

One of Facebook’s biggest strengths is allowing you to target a specific audience through paid campaigns and advertisements. The platform maintains a significant amount of information about its users, which can be advantageous when targeting ads. In addition, creating a Facebook Business Page can be an effective small business marketing tool.

Here’s a look at the various ways to use Facebook to benefit your business and maximize your efforts.

Facebook’s business offerings used to be grouped under the Facebook for Business umbrella. Now, these business tools are called Meta for Business , reflecting the company’s new branding.

What is a Facebook Business Page?

A Facebook Business Page is like a free business website companies can build on to expand their internet presence. Like a personal Facebook profile, your Facebook Business Page includes functionality for sending and receiving messages, posting updates, getting notifications and interacting with other users’ content through liking, sharing and commenting.

Of course, given how many companies have a Facebook presence, you’ll need your Page to stand out from the crowd to draw significant attention to your business. If you’re questioning whether the work that goes into distinguishing your company on Facebook is worth it, the many benefits of Facebook Business Pages may convince you to invest the time.

A Facebook Business Page is a free resource that helps you to connect with customers and grow your online audience. Like email retargeting , Facebook allows you to reach a captive audience.

Benefits of a Facebook Business Page

If you create a Facebook Page for your company, you can use it to do the following:

1. List basic contact information.

If people wonder when your phone line or storefront is open, they may visit your Facebook Page to find out. They’ll also want to know your address if you’re a storefront or your support-line email if you offer services remotely. A Facebook Business Page is a one-stop shop for listing all of this information.

2. Engage new and longtime customers.

Not even your most loyal customers see what happens inside your business on a day-to-day basis – that is, unless you regularly share elucidating social media content with them. A Facebook Page is a great place to post shots from inside your storefront or behind the scenes with your support team. You can also boost customer engagement by updating followers on new products and discounts.

3. Know your audience.

When you have a Facebook Business Page, you’ll have access to audience insights and demographics. You can use the data provided to inform a robust demographic marketing strategy and better target your campaigns.

4. Lessen marketing costs.

Starting a Facebook Business Page is free, and many additional Facebook marketing and analytics features are either free or inexpensive. Integrating a Facebook Business Page into your marketing plan is a budget-savvy way to reach more people – potentially an audience of billions – with less money.

5. Boost web traffic.

By linking to your company’s website on your Facebook Business Page, you’ll drive more traffic to your website. The more people you get to your website, the better the chances of people reading in-depth descriptions of your products and services. Better yet, if you sell products online , people who jump from your Facebook Business Page to your website might even buy something.

6. Improve SEO.

Facebook Business Pages are good for more than just your social media presence; they’re also a boon to your rankings in search engine queries.

When your company website is Google mobile-friendly , you’ll do better in search engine rankings, because Google prioritizes mobile page load speed as a key metric.

How to create a Facebook Business Page

Now that you know some of the benefits of having a Facebook Page for your business, it’s time to start creating one. Follow these steps to set up your Page:

1. Create your Facebook Business Page.

The first step in creating a Facebook Business Page is to ensure you’re setting up the right type of account. Remember that you are creating a Facebook Page, not a Facebook profile.

A profile is a personal Facebook account designed to share personal information and photos with friends and family. Pages are public profiles that let businesses and public figures connect with fans and customers. Users just have to “like” a Page to start seeing updates from the Page on their News Feed.

Go to Meta’s Set Up a Facebook Page weblink to get started.

2. Answer questions.

To create a Facebook Business Page , you must already have a personal profile and follow the on-screen instructions. When creating a Page, the company will ask for some information, such as a category to describe your Page and your business’s name, address and phone number. It’s crucial to include as much information as possible so that customers can easily recognize your Page and find information about your business.

3. Add profile and cover photos.

You have the option to upload profile and cover photos to your Facebook Business Page. It’s good practice to do so, as attractive graphics and a visual brand lead to better engagement rates with your content.

4. Fill in the appropriate Page sections.

You can add many sections to a Facebook Page, but not every section will be a good fit for your business. Here are some sections you should consider adding:

One little-known Facebook benefit is that it has been shown to boost employee productivity. A 10-minute Facebook break at work can make workers happier, healthier and more productive.

What are Facebook ads and boosted posts?

If you’re having problems reaching users organically, try paid advertising options like boosted posts or Facebook ads . Boosted posts are posts you place on your Facebook Page; you pay a fee to “boost” the post to a target audience. On the other hand, Facebook ads offer more functionality and placement choices.

Boosted posts and Facebook ads make it easy to target a specific audience. Target people who like your Page or segment by location, age, gender and interests. Because the platform collects user data, it can target your advertisement to those most likely to be interested in your product or service.

Should you use boosted posts or Facebook ads?

Boosted posts and Facebook ads can both be valuable elements of your marketing strategy.

Here are some benefits of boosted posts:

These are key features of traditional Facebook ads:

Tips for placing Facebook ads

Since boosted posts are straightforward with fewer options, we’ll focus on maximizing your Facebook ads’ effectiveness. However, many of these tips also apply to boosted posts.

1. Set goals for ads.

Ads are most effective when they have a clear objective. A clear objective will also help you track your ad’s progress and can help you assess if your marketing strategy needs tweaking. For example, some organizations want to use ads to get people’s attention, while others want people to engage with content or links.

Facebook defines two common ad types – dynamic and lead – to help businesses accomplish their goals. Dynamic ads promote relevant items from your product catalog and retarget them to people who have shown interest in your site. Lead ads give viewers an easy way to get the information they’re seeking.

2. Select your audience and choose the location.

To target the correct audience , you need to define the ads’ reach. Facebook allows you to adjust your audience using the following criteria: location, demographics, interests, behavior and connections.

Location can help you with a local marketing strategy , narrowing down people in your general area who may find your products or services more relevant than someone in a different state or country. Demographics allows you to choose the age range, gender and job title of your target audience.

Use the interests, behavior and connections criteria to narrow your audience even further.

Facebook is the most useful platform for reaching an older demographic .

3. Set your budget.

As mentioned earlier, Ads Manager is Facebook’s ad management tool. It allows you to purchase ads for Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network , which shows Facebook ads in other publishers’ apps.

Buying an ad requires you to create one and then submit it to Facebook’s ad auction. The ad auction allows you to set the parameters used to deliver your ad – including your budget. You’ll need to determine how much money you want to spend daily and over time.

Facebook’s ad auction requires you to set a “ bid ,” which is the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay when someone sees or engages with your ad.

4. Create compelling ad copy.

In marketing, everything ultimately comes back to how good your copy is, and Facebook ads are no different. Regardless of what type of ad you choose to run, the copy you write must speak directly to your ideal customer and make them want to listen to you. To do this effectively, you have to know precisely who you are targeting and what you want them to do.

Here are the primary written components of your ad:

Keep in mind that the copy you write will likely need to be changed for different audience segments even if the offer is the same. Additionally, it’s essential to try out different combinations and test them to determine the most effective.

Prioritize simplicity in online ads . Simple ads are more effective at capturing attention than complex ones.

5. Use images and video.

You need eye candy if you want people to pay attention to your copy. This can be a carefully curated image that visually articulates your offer or brand, or it can be a video that people will want to watch.

If you use stock images, use high-quality images relevant to the advertising copy. Facebook has several image and text rules about image types and the ratio of words allowed on ad images.

It can often be more effective to opt for video for your Facebook ads. People love to watch videos online, and editing video is easier than ever thanks to the growing field of user-friendly video-editing apps.

When using videos and images in your ads, be sure to avoid copyright infringement , or the creator could hold you liable. Find a free-use image or get the content creator’s permission first.

6. Create Messenger ads.

Messenger ads are still in the Wild West marketing phase, making it the ideal time to jump on the bandwagon. The wonderful thing about Messenger ads is they are delivered directly to customers’ Messenger app, along with messages from their friends, co-workers, and family. It’s an intimate space that still feels very personal, primarily because few businesses use this platform.

It is essential to keep this feeling of intimacy at the forefront of your mind when creating ad experiences for Messenger. To do this effectively, you’ll want to utilize a chatbot service to build full campaigns. This process allows you to ask your subscribers a question or offer them something of value. You can then create an automated experience that moves them further along the sales funnel in a way that feels less like a sales pitch and more like a friend offering advice.

7. Learn the fundamentals of Facebook advertising.

Facebook ad-targeting specificity has come a long way in the last few years. Early on, there were a few hit-or-miss approaches to creating Facebook ads. Now, the platform allows you to choose the type of ad campaign you want to run, detailed objectives and custom audiences.

You can also run multiple versions of the same ads to determine which is more effective and limit the amount you spend by carefully allocating your budget by day and ad.

If this all sounds complex, that’s because it is. It’s crucial to take your time and learn the fundamentals of setting up your campaign properly. Stunning copy and attention-grabbing graphics are no longer enough.

It’s good to understand how Facebook ads work, but if you don’t have the time to stay on top of them and their updates, seek help from a marketer who is skilled with them.

Some useful tips for hiring a marketing company are to seek references, consider industry expertise and ask for work samples.

How to use Workplace

Workplace has been on the market for a few years and has seen rapid adoption by organizations of all sizes worldwide. According to Meta, more than 30,000 companies use Workplace as their internal team collaboration tool.

Think of Workplace as a supercharged company intranet. It’s designed to look and feel similar to Facebook, making it straightforward for employees to use. The familiar central News Feed is the tool’s primary hub.

These are some of Workplace’s most helpful functions:

Getting started with Workplace

Follow these steps to get started with Workplace:

Best practices

After setting up your business’s Facebook Page and working with the company’s other business tools, it’s time to create content and engage with your followers.

Here are some tips on using Meta’s business tools to market your products and services most effectively.

1. Respond to messages.

With Messenger, it’s quick and easy to reply to customers’ messages. Your inbox is located at the top of your Page when you’re signed in as an administrator.

Messenger is a tool and customers expect you to use it. In fact, the company tracks your Pages’ response rates and times so customers know how quickly they can expect an answer. Messenger is attractive to customers because they expect a fast response, and many people are more comfortable with live chatting than calling.

Facebook recently announced an effort to merge the messaging tools on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. This move emphasizes the importance of using Messenger and these other tools to communicate with customers and answer questions from your followers.

2. Use analytics to determine the success of your campaigns.

Facebook Audience Network is a free analytics tool. It shows data on actions taken, Page views, the number of people you’ve reached and the number of post engagements. This information can help you measure the effectiveness of your social campaigns so you can decide how to improve your posts.

3. Use publishing tools and schedule future posts.

Use Facebook publishing tools to schedule posts to go live in the future. You can also create videos, advertise your business, promote an event, make an offer, write a note and post job applications on your Facebook Page.

It’s crucial to post regularly – at least twice a week. If you find that you’re spending too much time on Facebook each day, try a third-party social media management tool – such as Hootsuite or Buffer. While creating and scheduling multiple posts takes time upfront, it saves you time in the long run.

4. Know your target audience.

Facebook has excellent targeting tools. When promoting a post, you can target specific demographics, locations and interest groups. To have successful ads, you need to know your target audience and use Facebook’s targeting tools to reach those potential customers.

5. Be personable, not just promotional.

Even though you’ve created a Facebook Page to connect with customers and ultimately make sales, your audience doesn’t want to see advertisements. Try to create personable and engaging Facebook posts.

6. Offer giveaways and contests.

It’s challenging to drive organic traffic on Facebook, but regularly running giveaways and contests help. Before you create a contest or giveaway, make sure you understand and follow the company’s rules, or you could get in legal trouble.

There are laws and guidelines to follow when holding social media contests and sweepstakes. Check with the social media platform you’re using for specific rules.

7. Create and advertise events.

You can create events as a business on Facebook. Invite anyone to these events, and pay extra to promote them to a targeted audience. Events can be a fun way to engage your audience and turn them into customers.

8. Share relevant content from other sources.

It can be time-consuming to create and share only original content. Curating content from other sources can save time and effort. Networking with other sources can benefit you in other ways, and they may share your content in return.

9. Converse with your audience.

Don’t publish a post and then not open Facebook for a week. Create and share posts to engage with your audience. Respond to comments, questions and concerns. If you’re having conversations with your followers, they’re more likely to become your customers.

The News Feed algorithm prioritizes personal connections and engagement. In short, your posts won’t be seen unless they generate a conversation.

If you’re looking to track all engagement you have with your customers, consider buying CRM software for your business.

10. Highlight business milestones.

Highlight company milestones and celebrate anniversaries on Facebook. These posts usually engage your audience and will make you seem more personable. If you’re offering special promotions for milestones or anniversaries, promote them on your Page as well.

11. Use Facebook ads.

The best way to reach your desired audience is to run Facebook ads. While these ads cost money, they’re effective because you can choose your target audience based on demographics, behaviors or contact information. Set a daily or overall budget for ads, select the amount of time an ad runs and pick your desired audience. The platform tracks the interactions on each promotion you run, helping you develop highly successful campaigns in the future.

12. Create and post videos.

If you’re scrolling through your Facebook timeline, you might notice a lot of videos. That’s because videos do great on the platform. One way to create videos is through Video ads, which allows you to broadcast to a large audience for free. With Video ads, you can have real-time conversations with followers and give them an inside look at your business.

Sean Peek, Saige Driver, Stella Morrison and Charell Star contributed to the writing and research in this article.

facebook plan for small business

How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2023 Guide)

Reviewed By

Updated: Mar 3, 2023, 6:43am

How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2023 Guide)

Table of Contents

Before you begin: get in the right mindset, 1. determine your business concept, 2. research your competitors and market, 3. create your business plan, 4. choose your business structure, 5. register your business and get licenses, 6. get your finances in order, 7. fund your business, 8. apply for business insurance, 9. get the right business tools, 10. market your business, 11. scale your business, what are the best states to start a business, bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Starting a business is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have. But where do you begin? There are several ways to approach creating a business, with many important considerations. To help take the guesswork out of the process and improve your chances of success, follow our comprehensive guide on how to start a business. We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from defining your business idea to registering, launching and growing your business.

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The public often hears about overnight successes because they make for a great headline. However, it’s rarely that simple—they don’t see the years of dreaming, building and positioning before a big public launch. For this reason, remember to focus on your business journey and don’t measure your success against someone else’s.

Consistency Is Key

New business owners tend to feed off their motivation initially but get frustrated when that motivation wanes. This is why it’s essential to create habits and follow routines that power you through when motivation goes away.

Take the Next Step

Some business owners dive in headfirst without looking and make things up as they go along. Then, there are business owners who stay stuck in analysis paralysis and never start. Perhaps you’re a mixture of the two—and that’s right where you need to be. The best way to accomplish any business or personal goal is to write out every possible step it takes to achieve the goal. Then, order those steps by what needs to happen first. Some steps may take minutes while others take a long time. The point is to always take the next step.

Most business advice tells you to monetize what you love, but it misses two other very important elements: it needs to be profitable and something you’re good at. For example, you may love music, but how viable is your business idea if you’re not a great singer or songwriter? Maybe you love making soap and want to open a soap shop in your small town that already has three close by—it won’t be easy to corner the market when you’re creating the same product as other nearby stores.

If you don’t have a firm idea of what your business will entail, ask yourself the following questions:

These questions can lead you to an idea for your business. If you already have an idea, they might help you expand it. Once you have your idea, measure it against whether you’re good at it and if it’s profitable.

Your business idea also doesn’t have to be the next Scrub Daddy or Squatty Potty. Instead, you can take an existing product and improve upon it. Or, you can sell a digital product so there’s little overhead.

What Kind of Business Should You Start?

Before you choose the type of business to start, there are some key things to consider:

Consider Popular Business Ideas

Not sure what business to start? Consider one of these popular business ideas:

Most entrepreneurs spend more time on their products than they do getting to know the competition. If you ever apply for outside funding, the potential lender or partner wants to know: what sets you (or your business idea) apart? If market analysis indicates your product or service is saturated in your area, see if you can think of a different approach. Take housekeeping, for example—rather than general cleaning services, you might specialize in homes with pets or focus on garage cleanups.

Primary Research

The first stage of any competition study is primary research, which entails obtaining data directly from potential customers rather than basing your conclusions on past data. You can use questionnaires, surveys and interviews to learn what consumers want. Surveying friends and family isn’t recommended unless they’re your target market. People who say they’d buy something and people who do are very different. The last thing you want is to take so much stock in what they say, create the product and flop when you try to sell it because all of the people who said they’d buy it don’t because the product isn’t something they’d actually buy.

Secondary Research

Utilize existing sources of information, such as census data, to gather information when you do secondary research. The current data may be studied, compiled and analyzed in various ways that are appropriate for your needs but it may not be as detailed as primary research.

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Conducting a SWOT analysis allows you to look at the facts about how your product or idea might perform if taken to market, and it can also help you make decisions about the direction of your idea. Your business idea might have some weaknesses that you hadn’t considered or there may be some opportunities to improve on a competitor’s product.

facebook plan for small business

Asking pertinent questions during a SWOT analysis can help you identify and address weaknesses before they tank your new business.

A business plan is a dynamic document that serves as a roadmap for establishing a new business. This document makes it simple for potential investors, financial institutions and company management to understand and absorb. Even if you intend to self-finance, a business plan can help you flesh out your idea and spot potential problems. When writing a well-rounded business plan, include the following sections:

Learn more: Download our free simple business plan template .

Come Up With an Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is important for any business that is seeking funding because it outlines how you’ll sell the company or transfer ownership if you decide to retire or move on to other projects. An exit strategy also allows you to get the most value out of your business when it’s time to sell. There are a few different options for exiting a business, and the best option for you depends on your goals and circumstances.

The most common exit strategies are:

Develop a Scalable Business Model

As your small business grows, it’s important to have a scalable business model so that you can accommodate additional customers without incurring additional costs. A scalable business model is one that can be replicated easily to serve more customers without a significant increase in expenses.

Some common scalable business models are:

Start Planning for Taxes

One of the most important things to do when starting a small business is to start planning for taxes. Taxes can be complex, and there are several different types of taxes you may be liable for, including income tax, self-employment tax, sales tax and property tax. Depending on the type of business you’re operating, you may also be required to pay other taxes, such as payroll tax or unemployment tax.

When structuring your business, it’s essential to consider how each structure impacts the amount of taxes you owe, daily operations and whether your personal assets are at risk.

An LLC limits your personal liability for business debts. LLCs can be owned by one or more people or companies and must include a registered agent . These owners are referred to as members.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

An LLP is similar to an LLC but is typically used for licensed business professionals such as an attorney or accountant. These arrangements require a partnership agreement.

Sole Proprietorship

If you start a solo business, you might consider a sole proprietorship . The company and the owner, for legal and tax purposes, are considered the same. The business owner assumes liability for the business. So, if the business fails, the owner is personally and financially responsible for all business debts.


A corporation limits your personal liability for business debts just as an LLC does. A corporation can be taxed as a C-corporation (C-corp) or an S-corporation (S-corp). S-corp status offers pass-through taxation to small corporations that meet certain IRS requirements. Larger companies and startups hoping to attract venture capital are usually taxed as C-corps.

Before you decide on a business structure, discuss your situation with a small business accountant and possibly an attorney, as each business type has different tax treatments that could affect your bottom line.

Helpful Resources

There are several legal issues to address when starting a business after choosing the business structure. The following is a good checklist of items to consider when establishing your business:

Choose Your Business Name

Make it memorable but not too difficult. Choose the same domain name, if available, to establish your internet presence. A business name cannot be the same as another registered company in your state, nor can it infringe on another trademark or service mark that is already registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Business Name vs. DBA

There are business names, and then there are fictitious business names known as “Doing Business As” or DBA. You may need to file a DBA if you’re operating under a name that’s different from the legal name of your business. For example, “Mike’s Bike Shop” is doing business as “Mike’s Bikes.” The legal name of the business is “Mike’s Bike Shop,” and “Mike’s Bikes” is the DBA.

You may need to file a DBA with your state, county or city government offices. The benefits of a DBA include:

Register Your Business and Obtain an EIN

You’ll officially create a corporation, LLC or other business entity by filing forms with your state’s business agency―usually the Secretary of State. As part of this process, you’ll need to choose a registered agent to accept legal documents on behalf of your business. You’ll also pay a filing fee. The state will send you a certificate that you can use to apply for licenses, a tax identification number (TIN) and business bank accounts.

Next, apply for an employer identification number (EIN) . All businesses, other than sole proprietorships with no employees, must have a federal employer identification number. Submit your application to the IRS and you’ll typically receive your number in minutes.

Get Appropriate Licenses and Permits

Legal requirements are determined by your industry and jurisdiction. Most businesses need a mixture of local, state and federal licenses to operate. Check with your local government office (and even an attorney) for licensing information tailored to your area.

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Open a Business Bank Account

Keep your business and personal finances separate. Here’s how to choose a business checking account —and why separate business accounts are essential. When you open a business bank account, you’ll need to provide your business name and your business tax identification number (EIN). This business bank account can be used for your business transactions, such as paying suppliers or invoicing customers. Most times, a bank will require a separate business bank account in order to issue a business loan or line of credit.

Hire a Bookkeeper or Get Accounting Software

If you sell a product, you need an inventory function in your accounting software to manage and track inventory. The software should have ledger and journal entries and the ability to generate financial statements.

Some software programs double as bookkeeping tools. These often include features such as check writing and managing receivables and payables. You can also use this software to track your income and expenses, generate invoices, run reports and calculate taxes.

There are many bookkeeping services available that can do all of this for you, and more. These services can be accessed online from any computer or mobile device and often include features such as bank reconciliation and invoicing. Check out the best accounting software for small business, or see if you want to handle the bookkeeping yourself.

Determine Your Break-Even Point

Before you fund your business, you must get an idea of your startup costs. To determine these, make a list of all the physical supplies you need, estimate the cost of any professional services you will require, determine the price of any licenses or permits required to operate and calculate the cost of office space or other real estate. Add in the costs of payroll and benefits, if applicable.

Businesses can take years to turn a profit, so it’s better to overestimate the startup costs and have too much money than too little. Many experts recommend having enough cash on hand to cover six months of operating expenses.

When you know how much you need to get started with your business, you need to know the point at which your business makes money. This figure is your break-even point.

In contrast, the contribution margin = total sales revenue – cost to make product

For example, let’s say you’re starting a small business that sells miniature birdhouses for fairy gardens. You have determined that it will cost you $500 in startup costs. Your variable costs are $0.40 per birdhouse produced, and you sell them for $1.50 each.

Let’s write these out so it’s easy to follow:

This means that you need to sell at least 456 units just to cover your costs. If you can sell more than 456 units in your first month, you will make a profit.

There are many different ways to fund your business—some require considerable effort, while others are easier to obtain. Two categories of funding exist: internal and external.

Internal funding includes:

If you finance the business with your own funds or with credit cards, you have to pay the debt on the credit cards and you’ve lost a chunk of your wealth if the business fails. By allowing your family members or friends to invest in your business, you are risking hard feelings and strained relationships if the company goes under. Business owners who want to minimize these risks may consider external funding.

External funding includes:

Small businesses may have to use a combination of several sources of capital. Consider how much money is needed, how long it will take before the company can repay it and how risk-tolerant you are. No matter which source you use, plan for profit. It’s far better to take home six figures than make seven figures and only keep $80,000 of it.

Funding ideas include:

Choose the right funding source for your business by considering the amount of money you need, the time frame for repayment and your tolerance for risk.

You need to have insurance for your business , even if it’s a home-based business or you don’t have any employees. The type of insurance you need depends on your business model and what risks you face. You might need more than one type of policy, and you might need additional coverage as your business grows. In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is required by law if you have employees.

Work With an Agent To Get Insured

An insurance agent can help determine what coverages are appropriate for your business and find policies from insurers that offer the best rates. An independent insurance agent represents several different insurers, so they can shop around for the best rates and coverage options.

Basic Types of Business Insurance Coverage

Business tools can help make your life easier and make your business run more smoothly. The right tools can help you save time, automate tasks and make better decisions.

Consider the following tools in your arsenal:

Many business owners spend so much money creating their products that there isn’t a marketing budget by the time they’ve launched. Alternatively, they’ve spent so much time developing the product that marketing is an afterthought.

Create a Website

Even if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, a web presence is essential. Creating a website doesn’t take long, either—you can have one done in as little as a weekend. You can make a standard informational website or an e-commerce site where you sell products online. If you sell products or services offline, include a page on your site where customers can find your locations and hours. Other pages to add include an “About Us” page, product or service pages, frequently asked questions (FAQs), a blog and contact information.

Optimize Your Site for SEO

After getting a website or e-commerce store, focus on optimizing it for search engines (SEO). This way, when a potential customer searches for specific keywords for your products, the search engine can point them to your site. SEO is a long-term strategy, so don’t expect a ton of traffic from search engines initially—even if you’re using all the right keywords.

Create Relevant Content

Provide quality digital content on your site that makes it easy for customers to find the correct answers to their questions. Content marketing ideas include videos, customer testimonials, blog posts and demos. Consider content marketing one of the most critical tasks on your daily to-do list. This is used in conjunction with posting on social media.

Get Listed in Online Directories

Customers use online directories like Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook to find local businesses. Some city halls and chambers of commerce have business directories too. Include your business in as many relevant directories as possible. You can also create listings for your business on specific directories that focus on your industry.

Develop a Social Media Strategy

Your potential customers are using social media every day—you need to be there too. Post content that’s interesting and relevant to your audience. Use social media to drive traffic back to your website where customers can learn more about what you do and buy your products or services.

You don’t necessarily need to be on every social media platform available. However, you should have a presence on Facebook and Instagram because they offer e-commerce features that allow you to sell directly from your social media accounts. Both of these platforms have free ad training to help you market your business.

To scale your business, you need to grow your customer base and revenue. This can be done by expanding your marketing efforts, improving your product or service, collaborating with other creators or adding new products or services that complement what you already offer.

Think about ways you can automate or outsource certain tasks so you can focus on scaling the business. For example, if social media marketing is taking up too much of your time, consider using a platform such as Hootsuite to help you manage your accounts more efficiently. You can also consider outsourcing the time-consumer completely.

You can also use technology to automate certain business processes, including accounting, email marketing and lead generation. Doing this will give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

When scaling your business, it’s important to keep an eye on your finances and make sure you’re still profitable. If you’re not making enough money to cover your costs, you need to either reduce your expenses or find ways to increase your revenue.

Build a Team

As your business grows, you’ll need to delegate tasks and put together a team of people who can help you run the day-to-day operations. This might include hiring additional staff, contractors or freelancers.

Resources for building a team include:

You might also consider partnering with other businesses in your industry. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you could partner with a florist, photographer, catering company or venue. This way, you can offer your customers a one-stop shop for all their wedding needs. Another example is an e-commerce store that partners with a fulfillment center. This type of partnership can help you save money on shipping and storage costs, and it can also help you get your products to your customers faster.

To find potential partnerships, search for businesses in your industry that complement what you do. For example, if you’re a web designer, you could partner with a digital marketing agency.

You can also search for businesses that serve the same target market as you but offer different products or services. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, you could partner with a jewelry store or a hair salon.

To rank the best states to start a business in 2023, Forbes Advisor analyzed 18 key metrics across five categories to determine which states are the best and worst to start a business in. Our ranking takes into consideration factors that impact businesses and their ability to succeed, such as business costs, business climate, economy, workforce and financial accessibility in each state. Check out the full report .

Starting a small business takes time, effort and perseverance. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be a great way to achieve your dreams and goals. Be sure to do your research, create a solid business plan and pivot along the way. Once you’re operational, don’t forget to stay focused and organized so you can continue to grow your business.

How do I start a small business with no money?

There are several funding sources for brand new businesses and most require a business plan to secure it. These include the SBA , private grants, angel investors, crowdfunding and venture capital.

What is the best business structure?

The best business structure for your business will depend entirely on what kind of company you form, your industry and what you want to accomplish. But any successful business structure will be one that will help your company set realistic goals and follow through on set tasks.

Do I need a business credit card?

You don’t need one, but a business credit card can be helpful for new small businesses. It allows you to start building business credit, which can help you down the road when you need to take out a loan or line of credit. Additionally, business credit cards often come with rewards and perks that can save you money on business expenses.

Do I need a special license or permit to start a small business?

The answer to this question will depend on the type of business you want to start and where you’re located. Some businesses, such as restaurants, will require a special permit or license to operate. Others, such as home daycare providers, may need to register with the state.

How much does it cost to create a business?

The cost of starting a business will vary depending on the size and type of company you want to create. For example, a home-based business will be less expensive to start than a brick-and-mortar store. Additionally, the cost of starting a business will increase if you need to rent or buy commercial space, hire employees or purchase inventory. You could potentially get started for free by dropshipping or selling digital goods.

How do I get a loan for a new business?

The best way to get a loan for a new business is to approach banks or other financial institutions and provide them with a business plan and your financial history. You can also look into government-backed loans, such as those offered by the SBA. Startups may also be able to get loans from alternative lenders, including online platforms such as Kiva.

Do I need a business degree to start a business?

No, you don’t need a business degree to start a business. However, acquiring a degree in business or a related field can provide you with the understanding and ability to run an effective company. Additionally, you may want to consider taking some business courses if you don’t have a degree in order to learn more about starting and running a business. You can find these online and at your local Small Business Administration office.

What are some easy businesses to start?

One of the easiest businesses to start also has the lowest overhead: selling digital goods. This can include items such as e-books, online courses, audio files or software. If you have expertise in a particular area or niche, this is a great option for you. Dropshipping is also a great option because you don’t have to keep inventory. Or, you could buy wholesale products or create your own. Once you create your product, you can sell it through your own website or third-party platforms such as Amazon or Etsy.

What is the most profitable type of business?

There is no one answer to this question because the most profitable type of business will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your industry, location, target market and business model. However, some businesses tend to be more profitable than others, such as luxury goods, high-end services, business-to-business companies and subscription-based businesses. If you’re not sure what type of business to start, consider your strengths and interests, as well as the needs of your target market, to help you choose a profitable business idea.

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Kathy Haan, MBA is a former financial advisor-turned-writer and business coach. For over a decade, she’s helped small business owners make money online. When she’s not trying out the latest tech or travel blogging with her family, you can find her curling up with a good novel.

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Expert tips on using Facebook for your small business

Written by by Jenn Chen

Published on  July 30, 2020

Reading time  6 minutes

As an owner or employee of a small business, we know your time is limited. Marketing isn’t your only hat and if you’re confused on where to start for Facebook, we’re here to help. Over 90 million small businesses use Facebook and its related products.

Chart outlining Facebook stat usage compared to other platforms by demographics

From setting up a Page to the promotion, here are some expert tips on how to get the most out of your Facebook Page as a small business.

Facebook Page setup for small businesses

Facebook offers a wide range of products so it can be understandably daunting to figure out what works best for you. If you’re starting fresh on a Facebook Page or it’s been a while since you performed a Facebook audit , these tips are for you. Not every feature is meant for every type of business, but it’s especially important for small businesses is making sure everything is up to date.

Choose the right category & template

You can change your categories, subcategories and templates anytime so don’t sweat if you don’t pick the right one at the beginning. However, refining to the right selection is specifically important for small businesses because categories are key for discovery, and templates unlock important features like shops and reviews.

facebook business page templates and tabs

Customize your tabs

When you go through the Page templates, you’ll be able to see which tabs are available to you. After applying the template, you’ll then be able to hide and add select tabs, as well as rearrange their order. So, for example, if you think you’ll be investing in a video marketing strategy , then you should move the Videos tab up further in the lineup.

Customize CTA button & link a catalog

If you’re a service or product-based business, then taking the time to set up your call-to-action button and linking your product catalog is important. These features allow your customers to book directly or purchase from your Page without ever leaving the site.

prudy fb page showing appointment feature

PRUDY Braiding Studio lists its services and has a CTA button for booking appointments. When a customer is interested in a service, they can click it to learn more and then use the button to book their appointment. This flow provides a seamless experience for customers.

At the time of this writing, Facebook Shops is rolling out to all businesses as a way for them to promote new products.

Tip: A bonus for setting up these features is that they also become available to you if you have a linked Instagram account. Set this up once for two networks.

Set up Messenger & more

facebook business page messenger FAQ

The above are just the basics for setting up a Facebook Page for a small business. There are far more tips you can explore, including using Facebook Business Manager to manage multiple permissions and learning about the verification process to further establish your brand credibility.

Facebook Page promotion & execution

Once your Facebook Page is set up to your liking, it’s time for promotions and posts to begin. Explore a variety of post ideas to bring in more engagement and consider using a content calendar to plan out your work. Having this is in place helps you understand what’s missing and how to space out your posts.

Run occasional discounts or flash sales

graphic showing the types of content consumers like to see from brands they follow on social

Cross-promote your content

As a small business, you need to be savvy about how you use your content. One platform’s content could be reused on another if the audience and goals fit. A small tweak in caption is less time consuming than creating fresh content.

Even better, if you use Instagram Stories frequently, you can link your Facebook Stories to them so every time you publish Stories on Instagram, you also publish the same content to Facebook.

Set up expectations for social customer service

The Sprout Social Index™, Edition XVII: Accelerate found that 47% of consumers think strong customer service makes a brand best in class on social. If you’re going to use Facebook as a platform for social customer service , you’ll need to set up those expectations beforehand with clear information for your customers. Don’t wait for someone to message and then wonder what the next step is going to be or when they’ll hear back.

As mentioned earlier, Messenger has multiple ways for you to manage this expectation, including your own availability for responding to messages. Your away message here should include your hours and helpful links if you have those available.

Schedule posts

Once you have the content and calendar all ready to go, it’s time to schedule all those posts. Facebook has a robust native scheduler or you can use software like Sprout to help manage posts across multiple platforms.

sprout fb publishing

The Sprout schedule not only shows drafts and scheduled posts but the ViralPost feature will automatically schedule based on your brand’s highest engagement times. You may not need a scheduling tool if you’re just starting your social presence, but over time you’ll likely find saving the time and effort for other parts of your social strategy to be an advantage.

Learn more about Facebook for small business

Facebook isn’t a set-up-and-done kind of social media platform. It’s constantly evolving in features, ads and newsfeed algorithms . Your campaign strategy from last year might not work as well this year if you repeat it without consideration of new social trends and features. Because of this constant evolution, it’s important to continue learning and exploring new strategies.

Custom audiences for ads

One of the strongest ways to advertise on Facebook is to use the custom audience feature. You can retarget those who have visited your website, engaged with your ads and most recently, taken certain shopping actions . Custom audiences take advantage of sources that you already have in place, like a newsletter list, and advertises to them. These people are likely more receptive to the ads because they’ve willingly followed or interacted with you already.

Review analytics

Without analytics, you can easily find yourself floundering in the midst of all your content efforts. How do you know if a post was successful if you don’t look at how it performed? Facebook’s native Insights tab gives you a plethora of information from engagement to clicks to Page actions.

Sprout Facebook reporting

However, with business growing, you might find yourself with a need to present analytics graphics to investors or management. Analytics tools like Sprout help you easily understand what’s going on with your Page and will generate presentation-ready graphics for you with the click of a button.

Keep up on new features

As mentioned before, Facebook is not a static platform. New features are constantly added and the advantage of being a small business is that you can easily test these out without a complex and time-consuming chain of approvals and inputs.

For example, your business might benefit from adding a Shop feature, allowing you to tag products on a post and for consumers to purchase from it. A larger business may have difficulty linking a huge catalog but a small business with a focused offering could do it easily.

COVID–19 grants

With the COVID–19 pandemic severely impacting small business operations, Facebook announced a $100 million cash grant for small businesses and an additional $100 million to Black-owned small businesses, creators and nonprofits. Take a moment to see if you qualify for the program.

Take Facebook for Business courses

It’s to Facebook’s advantage for business owners to get the most out of their platform. Because of this, the company created an entire resource library for businesses . The resources range from new features relevant to businesses to singular courses to helpful case studies for inspiration. Exploring resources like this and reading about new Facebook strategies puts you ahead of the curve and at a competitive advantage to other small businesses.

Facebook doesn’t have to be a daunting platform for small businesses. Once you break it down into steps, a Facebook marketing strategy is easy to learn and execute. Small businesses need to pay attention to details like the CTA button and set up Messenger to take full advantage of what the platform offers. With the right approach and upkeep on new features, you’re well on your way to being a pro at Facebook. For the latest data on how marketers and consumers are using social media, explore the Sprout Social Index™: Social Media Trends for 2022 & Beyond .

Resources for you

The creator economy: making dollars and sense out of social partnerships, [workbook] social listening step-by-step in 90 minutes, the sprout social index, edition xviii: us forecast, prepare to launch with a social media campaign brief: template, recommended for you.

26 Facebook statistics marketers should know in 2023

How to Advertise on Facebook + Strategies [Complete Guide]

How to schedule Facebook posts

How to build a facebook business page that attracts customers.

Build and grow stronger relationships on social

Sprout Social helps you understand and reach your audience, engage your community and measure performance with the only all-in-one social media management platform built for connection.

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$353 million in ssbci funds going to small businesses in 4 states.

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Reauthorized Plan to Help Small Businesses

‘historic investment’ in small businesses.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Janet L. Yellen, added: “This is an historic investment in entrepreneurship, small business growth, and innovation through the American Rescue Plan that will help reduce barriers to capital access for traditionally underserved communities. These SSBCI funds will promote equitable economic growth across the country.”

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Facebook Marketing for Small Business: How to Grow in 2023 and Beyond

Facebook Marketing for Small Business: How to Grow in 2023 and Beyond

As a small business owner, you usually don’t have the bandwidth or funds to invest in comprehensive digital marketing plans like big companies do. Unpaid social media marketing helps grow your business without a dedicated marketing team or a big budget. With 2.9 billion active users , Facebook is the most popular social network of them all. No matter what kind of business you have, your customers are likely on Facebook. What’s more, 2/3 of Facebook users visit a local business’ page at least once a week. It’s no wonder that 93% of marketers use Facebook, and 54% of them rank Facebook as the most important social network for marketers. Facebook can help you magnify brand awareness, find new customers, nurture customer loyalty, increase website traffic, improve sales, and enhance customer service. All it takes is a free business page to get started.

Can your small business do well on Facebook?

Any business can do well on Facebook — whether you own a local tea lounge, ecommerce store, hair salon, or landscaping business. If your customers are on Facebook, you can be successful on the platform. But if you only have time to focus on one or two social media platforms, you want to make sure Facebook is most popular with your current (and future!) customers. Here’s how to find out.

1. Ask your customers

The easiest way to find out if Facebook is a good place to reach your customers is to ask them. If you have an email list, send a brief survey to your customers asking about their social media habits. Ask which platforms they use most often and where they like to follow brands. Typeform and SurveyMonkey are two free survey tools to try. Typeform has a social media survey template you can use to get started. Customize it so you can get the information you want about your customers. No email list? Ask customers whenever you have a chance, whether that’s at the checkout in your physical store or during a client’s appointment.

2. Compare your target audience to Facebook’s users

Different audiences are more active on certain social media platforms than others. You can compare the demographic (gender, age, geographical location, income, etc.) and psychographic traits (interests, values, beliefs, and personality) of your target audience with the social media platforms you’re considering. For example, Facebook is most popular with millennials.

facebook plan for small business

Aside from teens, even other age groups have more than 290,000,000 users making the platform worth exploring. But if teens are your target audience, you’ll want to consider other platforms like TikTok, where 25% of users are in the 10-19-year-old range.

3. Take a peek at your competitors

If businesses similar to yours have a large following and are getting lots of audience engagement through comments and likes on Facebook, it’s likely your target audience is on Facebook. After all, your competitors’ customers are potential customers for you, too! You just need to start posting. If your competitors aren’t on Facebook, it might not be the right platform. That said, if multiple customers have told you they’d follow you on Facebook, it could mean there’s untapped potential in your niche, and you’ll be the first to discover it.

How to get started with Facebook marketing for small businesses

Getting ready to create your first post? Use these Facebook marketing tips to set your business up for success.

1. Fully set up your Facebook business page

As a small business marketing on Facebook, your business page is like your homepage on the platform. It tells potential fans who you are and what you do as a business. So it’s important to set up your business page for recognizability.

facebook plan for small business

The about section of Bombas'. About: We make comfortable essentials, because your first layer should be your softest layer. We spent years rethinking socks and t-shirts, so we could create apparel that's better, built to last, and helps give back. For every item you purchase yourself, we donate an item that is specially designed to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness. To date, we've donated over 40 million items to communities across the country. Thank you for making that possible.

Now you’re ready to draw in fans!

2. Know your content types

Video posts see the highest engagement rates . And posts that contain photos see higher engagement rates than posts with links or plain-text posts. However, every type of content has its place on Facebook, and it’s worth using all of them depending on how you’re trying to engage your audience.

Want more info on content? Here’s how to craft high-quality Facebook posts .

3. Be relatable, not salesy

Your fans came for your products and services, but they stay because they like your style and how you engage with them. Think of social media as an extension of your brand’s personality . You can still post promotional content — it should just be in the mix with plenty of engaging non-salesy content to make your brand worth following on Facebook. Apparel brand Bombas shows their personality through a fun poem while reminding fans of their guarantee:

4. Publish media directly on Facebook instead of linking out

Sometimes you’ll want to get people to your blog or website, but you’ll benefit by posting media directly on Facebook when possible. The Facebook algorithm favors media that’s published directly on the platform over something linked out. So limit how frequently you post to other websites. Plus, posting directly on Facebook enables conversation right on the platform, which is better for engagement and leads to more eyes on your content. Food blog Ministry of Curry posts a video version of a recipe on their Facebook page and links to the blog for the full version.

5. Adapt your content for Facebook instead of copy-pasting from other channels

Several of your fans probably follow you in multiple places. They might be on your email list or follow you on another social network like Instagram or Twitter. You need to provide a unique experience for these people, so they have a reason to follow you. Instead of just posting the subject line of a recent email that promotes a new blog post, adapt your content for different platforms, so there’s something new for your followers to interact with. Consider creating a TL;DR version of your blog post as your Facebook post or asking relevant questions to spark conversation.

6. Interact with your fans

Social media is more than posting great content — it’s building relationships with your followers. So engage with your fans ! Like and respond to their comments to keep the conversation going. It will encourage people to keep interacting with you on Facebook.

7. Consider starting a Facebook Group

With over 10 million groups on Facebook and 1.4 billion people using them on a monthly basis, Facebook Groups are a fun way to build community around your brand and a loyal following. Groups can be a way for your brand to keep people motivated through challenges, you could offer sneak peeks or exclusive discounts, or it could act as a resource for people seeking advice around shared values. Eco-friendly home goods brand etee has an exclusive Facebook group for its Plastic-Free Club — a membership that grants its members lower prices on its products. CEO and co-founder Steve Reble engages members with sneak peeks, asks for product feedback, and starts discussions around environmentalism. Fans come to support each other in their quest to live a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle.

facebook plan for small business

8. Post on Facebook consistently

It’s going to take time to build your fan base, but don’t be discouraged! It might seem like you’re not reaching anybody at the beginning, but if you keep posting consistently, your fans will get in the habit of interacting with you, and you’ll slowly grow your Facebook presence. Once a week will be plenty to start.

9. Measure the right metrics for success

As you build your Facebook presence, you’ll want to make sure your efforts are paying off. The number of fans and likes you have in the beginning will be low to start. That’s normal! It will take some time to take off. The important thing is these numbers improve over time. Use your metrics to find the types of content your fans are engaging with and make more of it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using Facebook Insights .

Save time on Facebook marketing with a social media scheduling tool

As a small business, marketing on Facebook is no small task. You have dozens of projects to manage and a small team to get it all done. Sometimes it’s a one-person show! So you need to make it as easy as possible on yourself to create and maintain your Facebook content calendar. Save time with a social media marketing tool like Buffer. With Buffer, you can schedule your posts weeks in advance so you never go dark on Facebook. Plus, Buffer is free for up to three social media accounts. And you can schedule up to ten posts on each account which is plenty for a small business to get started with Facebook marketing.

Did you find this article helpful? You might also like our all-you-need social media toolkit.

The all-you-need social media toolkit

Publish Flawlessly. Analyze Effortlessly. Engage Authentically.

Buffer is the all-you-need social media toolkit that lets you focus on doing what you love for your business.

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3 steps small-business owners can take to build successful (and affordable) influencer collaborations

In a world where mega-influencers can be paid tens of thousands of dollars to post on social media, influencer marketing may feel out of reach to small-business owners with smaller budgets. But working with influencers can be an expedient marketing channel for getting your brand in front of aligned audiences, building trust, and even gaining new customers in a cost-effective way.

Molly Fedick, founder of nonalcoholic beverage company Buzzkill Wines , saw her direct-to-consumer sales jump 327% when she started investing heavily in influencer marketing. This didn't surprise her, she told Insider, since she came to understand the value of activating a niche influencer community in her last role as the creative director at Hinge. 

Alexandra Shadrow, founder of Trailblaze Consulting , said she's relied heavily on influencer marketing for a recent client, live resale app Jamble . 

"We could build our own community from scratch one by one, or we could leverage communities that already exist to create a much larger community much more quickly," she said. Shadrow, with over 10 years of influencer-marketing experience and an influencer herself, collaborates with over 600 influencers a month to help grow their user base on both the seller and buyer side.

Shadrow and Fedick shared with Insider the best practices they've used to ensure their influencer collaborations are successful — while staying within a small-business budget.

1. Focus on engagement and fit more than follower size

Rather than going for the biggest influencers in your industry, Shadrow recommended stepping back and making a checklist of the criteria for your ideal influencer. 

For her, the No. 1 thing she looks for, even over a big audience size, is a strong engagement rate. 

"Think about this: An influencer with 10,000 followers and a 20% engagement rate has an active audience size of approximately 2,000 people. Compare this to an influencer with 100,000 followers and 1% engagement — only 1,000 people," Shadrow said. 

This can allow small-business owners to target more affordable micro-influencers that have small but mighty audiences. She uses the free Chrome extension UpDog to gauge the engagement rate of influencers she's considering, and looks for people with at least 5% overall engagement on their pages.

She also ensures the influencers they pick are an industry and value fit. For Jamble, that means a focus on thrifting and sustainability — and that their page is not oversaturated with brand deals. "If a person is willing to promote every brand under the sun, it's very likely that you're going to get lost in the sauce of all the other collabs that they're doing," Shadrow said. 

2. Understand the different ways you can offer value — and stay under budget 

When it comes to paying influencers, there are plenty of ways to make this approach more budget-friendly. 

Depending on the community they're targeting and the product they offer, business owners may be able to get away with simply offering free products in exchange for promotion, Fedick said. She mostly reaches out to influencers who review nonalcoholic options or make mocktails, and offers to send the free product (which only costs her around $35 with shipping). 

"I'll tell them I'm a small, one-woman show with basically no budget to spend, but what I can do is I can send you product, and I can send you as much as you want," she said. Fedick estimates this strategy has helped her achieve over 2 million impressions on others' TikTok channels, based on data reported to her by the influencers she collaborates with. 

If you are entering the world of paid influencers, Shadrow told Insider small businesses can save money by avoiding influencers who have a manager (it will automatically make the cost higher), and being firm about the budget they have. "Do not simply pay the asking price for an influencer," she said. 

Shadrow said she successfully negotiated influencers down from their initial cost to something that felt more comfortable for the brand. "I also share that — if all goes well — there will be more opportunities for a higher budget in the future. The right influencers will see the value in your brand and want to grow with you." 

There are other ways to offer compensation even if you don't have the money. For instance, you could offer an affiliate link where influencers get a percentage of the sales they help drive. Fedick is taking this a step further for a big partnership she has in the works, offering a small amount of equity in exchange for the promotion. 

"They're not getting paid cash upfront, but they have a definite reason to want to push the product as much as possible," she said.

3. Create an ongoing, two-way relationship

Fedick recommends focusing your time on forming legitimate relationships with influencers. For example, she always works with the influencers she's collaborating with to figure out what would be exciting to their audiences, such as a coupon code, free shipping, or other perks that would engage their community.  

Fedick also lets the influencer guide the content they create, given they know their audience better than she does. And Shadow, who works on paid collaborations, takes a similar approach. She even provides a short Google document of dos and don'ts and example content, which she finds most influencers appreciate to help guide them.  

Once influencers post, Fedick recommends business owners engage by liking, commenting, and reposting. Not only does this show appreciation, but it also gives brands great content to populate their own channels. "We're all interested in the same topic, so there's no reason that I shouldn't be promoting these influencers to my audience as well," Fedick said.

Finally, rather than sending out hundreds of influencer packages, Fedick recommends focusing on creating deeper relationships with 20 to 50 people. "I don't believe in short-term, one-time-off posting — I believe in long-term partnerships," she said. 

Fedick plans to send a new product they have in development to existing influencers rather than focusing on reaching out to a ton of new ones. "You're only gonna get that type of exposure if you have a real relationship with the influencer," she said.

facebook plan for small business

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How to Create a Small Business Marketing Plan

by Robert Izquierdo | Updated Aug. 5, 2022 - First published on May 18, 2022

Image source: Getty Images

A marketing plan serves as a key component of a business plan . It identifies the target markets and customers for your company’s products or services as well as how to successfully sell to that audience.

While a marketing plan contains the same core ingredients across companies, small businesses face unique challenges. When it comes to a marketing plan for small business , two key factors are at play: limited resources and tight budgets.

To give a sense of scale, a tight budget for a multinational corporation may amount to a few million dollars. For a small business, the marketing budget may be a hundred dollars a month or less.

Consequently, the kind of comprehensive marketing plans employed by large corporations simply won’t work for small businesses. The differing dynamics necessitate a separate approach, which we’ll cover here.

How to design a marketing plan for your small business

A set of six key steps form the core of every marketing plan, regardless of company size. These components can appear overwhelming for a small business, especially given resource and budget constraints.

That’s why every small business should leverage software to create and execute a marketing plan. For instance, one of the more popular marketing channels is email marketing. The steps involved in this tactic alone can consume a significant portion of your resources without the help of email marketing software .

That said, limited budgets may preclude some small businesses from investigating a software option. Fortunately, free software solutions exist, such as Zoho Campaigns .

Zoho Campaigns template options for sign up forms, email series and more.

Zoho Campaigns provides many features in a clean user interface. Image source: Author

So, as we walk through the steps to build your marketing plan outline, keep in mind that software is available to support your marketing plan.

Step 1: Define your goals

Before diving into planning your marketing efforts, take time to clarify what you’re trying to achieve. By setting goals, you focus the limited time, resources, and budget at the disposal of your small business on the activities that move you toward your objectives.

Best practices for defining goals:

Defining your marketing goals can be challenging. Here are some tips to help.

Step 2: Perform research

A marketing plan’s success depends on two things:

Perform research to acquire the necessary knowledge for each area.

Research methods include leveraging third-party reports and industry news, conducting customer interviews, calling local competitors to collect insights, and performing data analysis using available data about your customers. Third-party research and data can be expensive, so look for low-cost or free sources online.

Best practices for research:

Even if you feel like your company has a good grasp of your customers and the market, use research to confirm internal understandings.

HubSpot CRM bar chart representing revenue by source

HubSpot’s CRM delivers insights to improve your marketing strategy. Image source: Author

Step 3: Address the principles of marketing

Every marketing plan involves the four principles of marketing : product, price, place, and promotion. Together, these four Ps form the strategy a business uses to sell its products and services.

Product refers to any offering provided by a business to generate revenue. Price is the amount charged for the product. Place refers to how customers can buy the product. Promotion describes the marketing activities used to sell the product.

If you don’t address each of these four Ps, a marketing plan is meaningless. For example, before selling a new product, a business must determine how much to charge, how customers can buy it (such as through its website), and how best to promote it based on the research performed in step two.

Document the specifics around the four principles in the marketing plan. And finally, determine an approach to test and validate your company’s strategies.

Best practices for applying the marketing principles:

Here are some tips to put the marketing principles in play.

Step 4: Establish the positioning strategy

Your company’s positioning strategy unifies the business message to customers. It defines the look and tone of all of your marketing collateral, and it outlines how sales and marketing articulate your company’s offerings to clients.

As such, you must determine your company’s positioning before building and executing a marketing plan .

Many small businesses skip this step because it seems like overkill, but if you don’t establish your positioning proactively, your customers will do it for you. How do you want customers to perceive your business? Now is the time to take control of that.

Best practices for creating the positioning strategy:

Because positioning is difficult to change in the minds of customers, take time to figure out what you want your brand and company’s offerings to convey before your positioning solidifies. To do so, follow these tips.

Step 5: Build the plan

The plan itself is a comprehensive document outlining the marketing or advertising tasks requiring completion to reach your goals within a specific time frame, as well as the associated costs to manage budget constraints.

The plan also includes details about your marketing mix and positioning. It delineates the specific tactics, like direct marketing , you plan to utilize based on buyer personas and customer segmentation.

Best practices for building the marketing plan:

At this stage, you’re combining elements of the previous four steps into a cohesive whole. This then serves as your roadmap to achieve your plan goals. Here are some suggestions to get you there.

monday.com's board system showing information about individual tickets in a colorful spreadsheet look. Includes columns of information such as lead status, sales reps, timeline, etc.

Project management software such as monday.com makes it easy to set up and track marketing plans. Image source: Author

Step 6: Adjust the plan

Even with a carefully considered plan, you don’t know how well it will perform until you execute it. So, be prepared to make adjustments based on the measurable KPIs you outlined.

Best practices for adjusting the plan:

Because marketing is a data-driven profession, as you collect more data from executing your plan, it makes sense that the new data insights will reveal the need for adjustments. Here’s how to implement a process of continuous improvement.

Final advice about marketing plans for small businesses

Larger companies employ a sales analysis, expense analysis, market share analysis, financial analysis...you get the picture.

Since small businesses don’t have this luxury, sometimes you have to make educated estimates to arrive at a decision. That’s perfectly acceptable as long as you learn from your mistakes and are willing to continually improve your plan. This iterative process of learning and refining is the nature of small business marketing strategy .

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Robert Izquierdo is a software expert writing for The Ascent and The Motley Fool.

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How to Develop a Small Business Financial Plan

Smartsheet Contributor Andy Marker

April 29, 2022

Financial planning is critical for any successful small business, but the process can be complicated. To help you get started, we’ve created a step-by-step guide and rounded up top tips from experts.

Included on this page, you’ll find what to include in a financial plan , steps to develop one , and a downloadable starter kit .

What Is a Small Business Financial Plan?

A small business financial plan is an outline of the financial status of your business, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow information. A financial plan can help guide a small business toward sustainable growth.

Craig Hewitt

Financial plans can aid in business goal setting and metrics tracking, as well as provide proof of profitable ideas. Craig Hewitt, Founder of Castos , shares that “creating a financial plan will show you if your business ideas are sustainable. A financial plan will show you where your business stands and help you make better decisions about resource allocation. It will also help you plan growth, survive cash flow shortages, and pitch to investors.”

Why Is It Important for a Small Business to Have a Financial Plan?

All small businesses should create a financial plan. This allows you to assess your business’s financial needs, recognize areas of opportunity, and project your growth over time. A strong financial plan is also a bonus for potential investors.

Mark Daoust

Mark Daoust , the President and CEO of Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc., explains why a financial plan is important for small businesses: “It can sometimes be difficult for business owners to evaluate their own progress, especially when starting a new company. A financial plan can be helpful in showing increased revenues, cash flow growth, and overall profit in quantifiable data. It's very encouraging for small business owners who are often working long hours and dealing with so many stressful decisions to know that they are on the right track.”

To learn more about other important considerations for a small business, peruse our list of free startup plan, budget, and cost templates .

What Does a Small Business Financial Plan Include?

All small businesses should include an income statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement in their financial plan. You may also include other documents, such as personnel plans, break-even points, and sales forecasts, depending on the business and industry.

Ahmet Yuzbasioglu

How to Write a Small Business Financial Plan

Writing a financial plan begins with collecting financial information from your small business. Create income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, and any other documents you need using that information. Then share those documents with relevant stakeholders.

“Creating a financial plan is key to any business and essential for success: It provides protection and an opportunity to grow,” says Yüzbaşıoğlu. “You can use [the financial plan] to make better-informed decisions about things like resource allocation on future projects and to help shape the success of your company.”

1. Create a Plan

Create a strategic business plan that includes your business strategy and goals, and define their financial impact. Your financial plan will inform decisions for every aspect of your business, so it is important to know what is important and what is at stake.

2. Gather Financial Information

Collect all of the available financial information about your business. Organize bank statements, loan information, sales numbers, inventory costs, payroll information, and any other income and expenses your business has incurred. If you have not already started to do so, regularly record all of this information and store it in an easily accessible place.

3. Create an Income Statement

Your income statement should display revenue, expenses, and profit for a given time period. Your revenue minus your expenses equals your profit or loss. Many businesses create a new statement yearly or quarterly, but small businesses with less cash flow may benefit from creating statements for shorter time frames.

Income Statement

4. Create a Balance Sheet

Your balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’s financial status at a particular moment in time. You should update it on the same schedule as your income statement. To determine your equity, calculate all of your assets minus your liabilities.

Balance Sheet

5. Create a Cash Flow Statement

As mentioned above, the cash flow statement shows all past and projected cash flow for your business. “Your cash flow statement needs to cover three sections: operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities,” suggests Hewitt. “Operating activities are the movement of cash from the sale or purchase of goods or services. Investing activities are the sale or purchase of long-term assets. Financing activities are transactions with creditors and investments.”

Cash Flow

6. Create Other Documents as Needed

Depending on the age, size, and industry of your business, you may find it useful to include these other documents in your financial plan as well.

Breakeven Point

7. Save the Plan for Reference and Share as Needed

The most important part of a financial plan is sharing it with stakeholders. You can also use much of the same information in your financial plan to create a budget for your small business.

Janet Patterson

Additionally, be sure to conduct regular reviews, as things will inevitably change. “My best tip for small businesses when creating a financial plan is to schedule reviews. Once you have your plan in place, it is essential that you review it often and compare how well the strategy fits with the actual monthly expenses. This will help you adjust your plan accordingly and prepare for the year ahead,” suggests Janet Patterson, Loan and Finance Expert at  Highway Title Loans.

Small Business Financial Plan Example

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Download Small Business Financial Plan Example Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Here is an example of what a completed small business financial plan dashboard might look like. Once you have completed your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements, use a template to create visual graphs to display the information to make it easier to read and share. In this example, this small business plots its income and cash flow statements quarterly, but you may find it valuable to update yours more often.

Small Business Financial Plan Starter Kit

Download Small Business Financial Plan Starter Kit

We’ve created this small business financial plan starter kit to help you get organized and complete your financial plan. In this kit, you will find a fully customizable income statement template, a balance sheet template, a cash flow statement template, and a dashboard template to display results. We have also included templates for break-even analysis, a personnel plan, and sales forecasts to meet your ongoing financial planning needs.

Small Business Income Statement Template 

Small Business Income Statement Template

Download Small Business Income Statement Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this small business income statement template to input your income information and track your growth over time. This template is filled to track by the year, but you can also track by months or quarters. The template is fully customizable to suit your business needs.

Small Business Balance Sheet Template 

Small Business Balance Sheet Template

Download Small Business Balance Sheet Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This customizable balance sheet template was created with small businesses in mind. Use it to create a snapshot of your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity quarter over quarter. 

Small Business Cash Flow Statement Template 

Small Business Cash Flow Template

Download Small Business Cash Flow Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this customizable cash flow statement template to stay organized when documenting your cash flow. Note the time frame and input all of your financial data in the appropriate cell. With this information, the template will automatically generate your total cash payments, net cash change, and ending cash position.

Break-Even Analysis Template 

Break Even Analysis Template

Download Break-Even Analysis Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This powerful template can help you determine the point at which you will break even on product investment. Input the sale price of the product, as well as its various associated costs, and this template will display the number of units needed to break even on your initial costs.

Personnel Plan Template  

Personnel Plan Template

Download Personnel Plan Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this simple personnel plan template to help organize and define the monetary cost of the various roles or departments within your company. This template will generate a labor cost total that you can use to compare roles and determine whether you need to make cuts or identify areas for growth.

Sales Forecast Template

Sales Forecast Template

Download Sales Forecast Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

Use this customizable template to forecast your sales month over month and determine the percentage changes. You can use this template to set goals and track sales history as well.

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template

Download Small Business Financial Plan Dashboard Template Microsoft Excel | Google Sheets

This dashboard template provides a visual example of a small business financial plan. It presents the information from your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in a graphical form that is easy to read and share.

Tips for Completing a Financial Plan for a Small Business

You can simplify the development of your small business financial plan in many ways, from outlining your goals to considering where you may need help. We’ve outlined a few tips from our experts below:

Jesse Thé

Do Small Business Owners Need a Financial Planner?

Not all small business owners need a designated financial planner, but you should understand the documents and information that make up a financial plan. If you do not hire an advisor, you must be informed about your own finances.

Small business owners tend to wear many hats, but Powell says, “it depends on the organization of the owner and their experience with the financial side of operating businesses.” Hiring a financial advisor can take some tasks off your plate and save you time to focus on the many other details that need your attention. Financial planners are experts in their field and may have more intimate knowledge of market trends and changing tax information that can end up saving you money in the long run. 

Yüzbaşıoğlu adds, “Small business owners can greatly benefit from working with a financial advisor. A successful small business often requires more than just the skills of an entrepreneur; a financial advisor can help the company effectively manage risks and maximize opportunities.”

For more examples of the tasks a financial planner might be able to help with, check through our list of free financial planning templates .

Drive Small Business Success with Financial Planning in Smartsheet

Discover a better way to connect your people, processes, and tools with one simple, easy-to-use platform that empowers your team to get more done, faster.

With Smartsheet, you can align your team on strategic initiatives, improve collaboration efforts, and automate repetitive processes, giving you the ability to make better business decisions and boost effectiveness as you scale. 

When you wear a lot of hats, you need a tool that empowers you to get more done in less time. Smartsheet helps you achieve that. Try free for 30 days, today .

Connect your people, processes, and tools with one simple, easy-to-use platform.

Gov. Kelly congratulates Kansas Small Business Development Center Award winners

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Gov. Laura Kelly opened this year’s Kansas Small Business Development Center Award Ceremony at the statehouse, saying “It’s your small businesses that add strength and vibrancy to our communities. You are the pillars to our cities and our towns”.

13′s Melissa Brunner emceed the event.

“This is an event we hold every year. It’s really just for the small businesses. They get honored in both the House and Senate with proclamations and it’s really kind of fun for them to be honored in that way,” says Director of the Small Business Development Center, Greg Jordan.

Seventeen businesses from eight regions received awards. Some local winners included Stumpy’s Smoked Cheese, in Topeka, Aero-Mod Inc., and Coldsteel Sluggers, both in Manhattan, Trox Gallery & Gifts, in Emporia and Allen Meat processing.

“As a small business owner there’s a lot of sacrifices that our family goes through, that our kids walk right alongside us and it’s really cool to be recognized for that, for our hard work and everything that we do to make our business grow,” says owner of Stumpy’s Smoked Cheese, Stacey Cook.

Each region selects an emerging business of the year and existing business of the year winner. This year one exporter of the year award was also given out.

“We exported a lot in the 90′s and then hadn’t exported for a while but needed to get back into that market and the SBDC pointed us in the right direction and made us real smart really quick on exports. We were able to procure a large project in North Africa and working on another one and in fact just yesterday I shipped equipment to three different countries and so we linked up with them and started doing some work and immediately had some great results,” says General Manager at Aero-Mod, Andrew Ryan.

Each winner also got a chance to showcase their business with a display table.

“Just don’t give up. Keep believing in yourself because if that’s your passion and that’s what you want to do it’ll work itself out. Look for your resources. They can help you, have a great staff and create support,” says Karna Lackey, owner of Sew In 2 Quilt.

To see the full list of 2023 SBDC winners click here .

Copyright 2023 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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We are committed to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners across Australia.

We provide tailored financial solutions that help you reach your goals, whether you’re starting, running, or looking to grow your business.

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