Saturday, 13 December 2014

Advice to small business owners: Create a Marketing Plan

 Author: Donya Zimmerman

This is the time of the year when as a small business owner you start to prepare for the new business year. The best way to prepare your business for the incoming year of 2015 is to update your “Marketing Plan”. The Business Plan is the road map for operating one’s business. The business plan is made up of a set of objectives and goals to implement so that you can start and operate a business. The Business Plan can be used as a management tool to measure your progress once the business is started. 

The main components of the Business Plan are: (1) Description of your business, (2) The Marketing Plan, (3), (4) The Management Plan, and (5) The Financial Management Plan. 

The main portion of the Business Plan that needs to be checked, reviewed, and revised on a yearly basis is the Marketing Plan. It is always advisable to take a look at your “Marketing Plan” at the end of each year to see how you can improve on the selling, the marketing, and the promotion of the products and services offered by your business. 

The main components of the Marketing Plan are: 
  •  Description of Products and Services
  • Industry Trend Analysis 
  • Target Market Analysis-Customers
  • Competitive Analysis. 
  • Pricing Strategy. Packaging (Optional because does not apply to every business)
  • Distribution Strategy (Optional because does not apply to every business)
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: Business Image Media Plan Selling Strategy 
  • Customer Service Strategy 

The Marketing Plan section of the Business Plan is where you describe the services or products offered by your business. It provides information on how your products or services will meet the needs of your clients and solve their problems. Also, in the Marketing Plan, you will describe your competition and how you differ from the competition. Another main point of the Marketing Plan is to explain how you outshine and stand out from your competition. 

With the Marketing Plan, it is always good to update it on a yearly basis because things are always changing and improving in any field of business. It is always good to take a look at how you can improve on the products or services that you provide to your customers. On a yearly basis, can look at how your business can attract more of the right customers to buy one’s products or services. Sometimes as a small business owner, you may have to stop doing business a certain way and learn how to do business another way in order to attract the right customers to your business. 

For example, I had to take a step back and figure out a way how I could attract more customers or clients who wanted to start their own businesses. I realized in September 2014 that it was not feasible for me to go after one client at a time. I had to figure out a way to present my products and services to a group of potential clients. By presenting my products or services in a group setting, I realized I had a better chance of getting the right customers or clients who would want to buy my products and services. I am in the process of re-doing my “Marketing Plan” for the year of 2015 to find methods and techniques to present my products and services to groups of potential clients, instead of, going after clients one at a time. 

So, now is the time to re-vamp or create a Marketing Plan for 2015 to better present your products or services to your ideal customers. It is always good to create a new “Marketing Plan” for each coming year to improve on how you attract ideal customers who would want to buy your products or services. Now it is time for you to get busy with drafting your “Marketing Plan” for 2015. 

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