You have just started a small business that you know will work. Your product or services are exactly what the marketplace needs and is willing to pay for. You ask yourself two very important question ever small business owner asks.
What is the best way to market my company?
How can I get the best bang for my buck?
Before asking these question start with looking at your core business strategy. This seemingly simple analysis of your business and the marketplace tend to bog down many entrepreneurs. There is often a desire to be everything to everyone and offer a “I can do anything’ approach. This ‘Me too” mentality more often then not leads to chasing the wrong business for your company.
The best marketing plan starts with a quick analysis of your core business strategy.
Your business Identity
This is where you really need to think about the business rather then yourself. Focus on the capabilities of your business and how they differ from your competitors. Typically this is where a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, opportunity and Threats) analysis is done. Understanding all these areas for your business and your competitive market will help to build a strong marketing plan. When working on your marketing plan as with any other business activity always keep in check your personal capabilities. This is not a resume for you but rather marketing plan for your business.
Your target market, who are they?
In order to ‘get the biggest bang for your buck’ you must understand you target market. Any marketing plan worth the cost of the paper it is written on must clearly describe the customer base you are after. List and group, who these potential customers are, then begin to develop a ‘persona’ for each group or sector. List items such as age range, male or female, income bracket, what do they really want, who makes the final decision etc… This will help you to align your core business strategy with the right customers.
If you build it will they come?
Many new businesses want to capture as much of the potential marketplace as possible. After all they have little income and high overheads. But if you try to be everything to all people you will become, or be seen, as a company lacking expertise. Learn to focus and specialize in a limited range of products or services. This will both help to improve your core competencies as well attract better clients.
These 3 questions must first be asked and answered before you begin to develop your marketing plan. Go out and talk to friend’s family and most importantly customers. Knowing how others view your business is invaluable to understanding the image you project. Search for free samples of marketing plans in order to gain some insight in to how others have solved similar problems. Before you begin writing a marketing plan research as many aspects to both your core capabilities and the most desirable clients you seek. Matching these too together will help to develop a marketing plan for your business.