Creating Your Future with a Marketing Plan
Almost everyone who dreams of starting their own business is familiar with the fact that they should create a business plan. However, often that's where many people stop. When you created your business plan, what did you do with it? You actually have the base for the next step, which is creating your marketing plan. Without the plan of how you are going to market your business, the business plan is just an empty jumble of words speaking of dreams and desires. The marketing plan takes those dreams and creates a strategy for how to make those dreams come true.
Prepare a mission statement
The mission statement should clearly and succinctly describe the nature of your business, services offered, and markets served in just a few sentences. A mission statement is a statement of who you are and what you stand for. It answers the question of why you are in business. Although there are many, many different theories on what makes a good mission statement, here is a site of various examples; http://www. csuchico. edu/mgmt/strategy/module1/sld015.htm
List your ideal client
Describe your services
Who is your competition?
In order to know how to position yourself from your competition, you must know who your competition is. Do some research and determine what your competition offers, how they promote, what they charge for services, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Don't rush through this section. Make phone calls, check the internet, and ask people you know. Feel free to call the people you find and ask questions. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, ask a family member or friend to do it.
Marketing objectives and strategies
When a strategy works, repeat it. If it fails, and you did it right, drop it. Learning to develop strategies that work for your particular situation and personality will take time and practice.
Create the action plan
By monitoring results, you can determine which of your strategies are working and which are not. Identify strategies that generate increased business. This involves tracking and evaluating clients' responses to each marketing strategy. Conduct regular surveys in order to find out what clients like and don't like.
Client comments are invaluable for creating or enhancing your market literature. With permission, these comments can be used as testimonials.
Creating a marketing plan is not something enough people take the time to work on. I have found this to be the hardest part for anyone in small business and have had to spend many hours, myself, struggling over some of these answers. I can't emphasize how important it is to do this work, however. Skipping this step can mean the difference between success or failure. Many people who start a small business are aware of creating a business plan, and stop at the stage of the small market plan topics listed in the business plan. However, the business plan is just the first step. The marketing plan is not the final step, either! This document is the template for creating your marketing calendar that will set your projects in motion for the year. You are creating your future with the marketing plan, and then watching that future become reality with your marketing calendar.