Wednesday, May 25, 2005

*** Step 1. MP - "How to Gain More Business and Make More Money"

This is step one in the Marketin Plan series (MP)

The idea is simple really, yet most small business owners don't think it's quite necessary. It's a marketing plan. (And I mean one with substance people.) The plan should be a minimum of 6 pages for the small business owner, laid out for the year, with goals, how to obtain those goals, a time frame for each task, a budget and all. Large businesses have marketing plans hundreds of pages long.

As we continue posts to this blog, you'll see how easily you can create six pages of marketing material within your plan.

I have two words for those of you who still don't have a marketing plan.

Get One.

Step one is to sit down and think about where your business is really going. I don't mean think about what you sell (not yet anyways), if you're moving down the street or not next year, I mean what areas of your company are growing.

Just taking this one step at realizing which parts of your marketing plan from last year worked (if you had one) and which ones didn't, is a big step to improving upon your marketing efforts, attracting more business, and making more money.

If you concentrate more of your efforts in your biggest area of growth, I assure you next years growth will be monumental if not exponential.

Businesses must be flexible to stay alive. They must change with the times, or be left behind by their competition who are providing their customers with what they want. In-turn, your marketing plan must also be flexible. This is key - The world is changing where you see your highest growth rate. Focus here. 70% of your marketing efforts should be placed here - with what you KNOW is working. Leave the rest for trying new products, target market groups, or marketing areas, but don't spend more than 30% on these new areas. You want the most return on your investment, don't you? So spend it where it counts.

Now it's ok if last year you didn't have a marketing plan and aren't sure of where your highest growth rate came from, but that alone should show you the benefit of having a plan - that you can now shift funds and focus this years efforts on what you know brought the best return on your investment last year.

Some of you might be wondering how you know which part of your marketing plan brought the most business in. This can only be deciphered through a step in which even businesses with a marketing plan sometimes forget to put effort towards. You just have to follow up with your customers who come through the door. Whether it is a survey at the retail counter, an evaluation card that you place on the tables at your restaurant, or even face to face - just ask how they heard about your business. (More on follow ups and evaluation cards in a future post.)

So step one in creating this year's marketing plan is to review last year's (if you had one), and see what worked. If you didn't have a plan but did do some small time marketing campaigns, try to think about where most of your business came from. Focus 70% of this years efforts and budget here and you'll see an explosive growth on your bottom line.

Click here to read the next post in the MP series.


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