What if I told you it's within your gift to secure the fate of your business for the small cost of a little time and some paper and a pen? That’s right, a solid marketing plan you could increase your odds of business success and I’m going to tell you how. I predict by the end of this post you’re not going to want to gamble and leave your business future to luck alone.
As small business owners it’s us that holds all the cards to our impending business success, or doom. Did you know that a whopping 80% of entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months according to Bloomberg? And, one of the main reasons for these failures was an "inability to nail a profitable business model with proven revenue streams" (Forbes Magazine).
The fact is start-ups need to move quickly without wasting tons of cash to figure out their secret sauce. And, that’s the precise reason I love a marketing plan - it can help focus your resources and plan for growth and avoid that 80% bracket.
But, there’s something about the word ‘planning’ that compels us to either grab our posh pens and pads or stick our heads in the sand. Quite simply, you’re either a planner or you’re not. As a small business owner however, we can’t afford to gamble no matter which camp we naturally reside.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”.
Seneca (Roman philosopher, dramatist, and writer)
3 ways marketing plans predict your business future:
Your values are your reason for being! By setting your core values you’re putting pillars in place which will later help steer management and employees in the right direction, and help you decide if you’re on the right path by creating a solid guide. But, be warned having core values is not the hard part – that’s maintaining them!
This is the aspiration bit. Your business vision should be BIG and EXCITING. If everything goes right, this is how your business will have changed the world! The clearer you articulate your reason for being, the less time and resources you’ll waste later trying to fix poor communication, employee engagement and unwanted cultural behaviours.
By mastering an effective mission statement, you’re clarifying the intentions of a business while being inspirational and meaningful to customers and employees. Without a mission statement a business may struggle when it comes to planning for its future. Your mission statement can help you make sound decisions, which can be beneficial to your revenue stream.
So, now you know the power of the marketing plan – and that’s just from the first three things to include. Developing a marketing plan requires research, time and commitment, but is a valuable process that will greatly contribute to your business success. In case you need more convincing, here’s some other benefits:
Help you to find out what makes your business unique.
Identify your target market and understand how you can serve their needs.
Identify competitors and what your target customers think of them.
Position your brand so your target market understands why you’re different.
Set specific, measurable goals and time frames for your marketing activities.
Map out a strategy to reach your target audience.
Save you time and money by focusing your tactical marketing activities.
Gives you control of your business in an uncertain world.
But, remember while it's important to have a marketing plan, it's just as important to keep it up to date. A marketing plan is something you should consider of value and a practical tool, not something sat in a drawer gathering dust.
I understand that starting or running a small business is exciting, but also terrifying - I've been there! You're probably sold on the idea of working for yourself, but haven't taken the leap yet, 100% committed to the idea, but not sure how to make it a reality or you've started and you're not getting the sales you need or you’re doing well and now it’s time to grow. Whatever stage you're at, a marketing plan will help steer you.
So, whether you’re a natural planner or not, I hope this post has inspired you or at the very least, given you the confidence to create a plan for success. And, if you’re still on the fence, I guess the question to ask yourself is whether you’re prepared to gamble with the future of your business? I’m not a betting man but if I was, I’d hedge my bets on those business owners out there with a planned future over a non-runner (or should that be non-planner?).
Award winning communications professional and hater of "fluff".
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