Most small businesses I work with don’t actually have a marketing plan.
Yes, they know they should have one.
No, they don’t have time to write one – at least that’s what they tell me.
And, yes, as I’ve argued elsewhere, it’s very often a good idea to just forget about writing a marketing plan altogether.
So am I having a change of heart?
If you’re just starting out, taking action is at least as important as having a nicely written marketing plan. Sometimes businesses fail because simply because they spend too much time on the theory rather than the practice of business.
But once you’re past that early patch, when you’ve got some orders coming in, and when potential customers are starting to seek you out, you need a plan.
A real plan.
A plan to help you grow into a real business rather than one with shaky foundations.
The very idea of writing a marketing plan still scares many small business owners, sending them running for the hills rather than to their desks, pen in hand.
I get that. It’s a scary thing. What if you get it wrong? What if your marketing plan is actually the thing that sends your business into a tailspin because you built it badly?
Well, what if you get offered an amazing deal on advertising and you don’t know whether to take it or not?
Or what if your target market isn’t as receptive as you thought but you completely missed the signs.
Or what if there’s a whole new product line your customers would purchase in droves but you don’t really understand what they want from you?
Once you’re on the path to growth, a marketing plan is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.
It will help you understand the world in which your business operates and lead to more efficient use of both your time and your money.
So it’s worth the time you spend on it. Any time you spend on it.
But let’s be realistic here. You’re probably not going to make the jump from zero marketing plan to hero marketing plan complete with sales projections, cash flow analysis, budget planning etc.
So I’m going to suggest something more in keeping with what you might be willing to acomplish.
A bite-size marketing plan. Achievable in hours. Useful for years.
More on that in Bite-Size Marketing Plans Part 2 coming your way tomorrow.
In the meantime, let’s go for honesty in the comments. Do you have a marketing plan for your business? If so, tell us about how you came to write it. If not, what’s stopping you?
[…] as I wrote here, I’d recommend starting with a bite-size marketing plan rather than a full scale […]