The Most Important Thing A Small Business Needs To Succeed
You spend a lot of time thinking about how to make your small business successful. But if you’re focused only on what’s happening inside your business, you may be missing the most important element of ensuring your business’s longevity. In order to stand the test of time, you need to understand how people see your business from the outside.
The most important thing you can do for your business is to develop a marketing and branding plan.
Why is a marketing plan important?
By the time you’ve completed your marketing plan, you will have a good understanding of your business objectives: ideal customers will have been identified; brand characteristics will reveal themselves, and measurement tools you’ll need to identify what’s working and what’s not will come to light. Deciding how to portray your business to others forces you to understand your business in a new way.
When done correctly, your marketing and branding plan helps promote areas and initiatives that will move your organization forward. The final plan will read like a business report that you’ll be able to refer to regularly and share with key stakeholders in your business.
How should you get started?
Before you start writing your marketing plan, it’s a good idea to do a SWOT analysis of your business to identify, and clearly define, your company’s areas of strength and opportunity. Doing this will allow you to easily identify your marketing goals, and develop the communications strategies that will support your plan.
A good marketing plan targets prospects at all stages of your sales cycle, so be sure to identify tactics that will address all stages. The marketing tactics you choose must reach your prospects when they’ll be most receptive to your message. Keep in mind that tactics can be adjusted based on cost and effectiveness.
What should your plan include?
A marketing plan should consist of at least four sections.
In your analysis section, you will want to determine your current market and business position. In your strategy section, you will clearly identify your business objectives and how you plan to reach them. You should also have a section dedicated to the tactics you are going to take to reach your strategic objectives. Finally, you are going to want to identify the measurement methods you will use to determine which tactics are working and which are not.
Each section should have subsections making it easier to stay focused. These subsections will break down the bigger concepts into smaller chunks of actionable items. This will also allow you an opportunity to set up a manageable schedule to tackle the plan.
If you would like to discuss how I could help with your marketing and branding strategy, please contact me for a free business consultation.