Few small businesses have formal marketing plans, but the effort you invest in one could yield significant rewards. A small-business marketing plan doesn’t need to be lengthy. Once you’ve drilled down to the key points, an effective document could consist of only a few pages.
Here are some basic tips to focus on:
Allow yourself the necessary time, at least two months, to produce a quality document that you will commit to putting into practice.
Plan for a manageable increment of time, such as one year. This allows you to bend with the flow of markets, resources, and staffing that any business experiences. Later on, you can look into ideas for a longer range of time.
Give your entire team across the spectrum of departments—finance, customer service, information technology—access to the drafts of the plan so that you can benefit from their combined experience. They will be the people who bring the plan to life once it’s in place, so it’s essential to hear their concerns in the beginning.
Make sure your marketing plan is in line with the goals and objectives of any business plans you already have in place. Include a budget that details how you plan to achieve your marketing goals and the cost of investment in cash, staff time, and materials.
Take advantage of free assistance, such as the resources available through the U.S. Small Business Administration on its website at http://www.sba.gov. Also consider conferring with fellow successful business owners and experienced consultants who can help you to avoid the pitfalls beginners may encounter.
About the author: The Founder and Managing Partner of CoMetrics Partners LLC, Gary D. Herwitz provides operations consulting to middle-market companies seeking to expand into new markets.