Why do business owners fail to plan? For one thing, planning requires much time and effort. In other words, planning may feel like a roadblock on your road to success. Also, you may feel as though you’re too busy to plan.
I understand. If you’re starting a new business, you probably feel eager to begin. If you’re running a business right now, you probably can’t afford to use your productive time for planning. Actually, you can’t afford to not plan.
If you’re ready for success, continue reading to review an overview of business and marketing planning.
What is planning? If you were going to start planning right now, what would you do?
Generally, planning is a process that prepares you, your business, and your managers for long and short-term decision making. Ideally, planning will help you capitalize on the positive capabilities of your business.
Although your business requires several different types of plans, you should have an overarching business plan that coordinates and integrates them. So your marketing plan, HR plan, production plan, and financial plan should all work together to support your common goals.
The Big Picture
Ideally, planning will help to ensure that everything that’s done within your firm contributes to a valuable overarching objective. So, identifying the purpose of your business is your first step. Next, you’ll complete your strategic plan.
What’s Your Mission?
Aside from earning healthy profits and providing you with a secure income, what reason does your business have for existing?
Start defining your mission by asking some vital questions:
- What business are you in?
- What customers do you want to serve?
- How can you develop relevant capabilities?
- How can you stay focused?
Formalize your business’ mission into a mission statement. It should concisely describe your company’s purpose and what it wants to accomplish in terms of its products, resources, and customers.
Create your mission statement with an eye toward the future. Think about how Kodak boxed itself in and now is a little-known brand. Also, consider Xerox which became a provider of “document solutions” rather than only copy machines.
Consider Your Environment?
Identify the internal and external environmental factors that influence your business. It’s your job to figure out how to mitigate the negative aspects of your environment and exploit the positive ones.
Conduct an organized SWOT analysis so you have a circumspect view of your firm.
You have full control over your business’ internal environment, including its strengths and weaknesses. However, you can’t control the external factors that can both present opportunities and threaten your success. For instance, you usually can’t control external factors such as political, social, and economic trends.
Use the SMART model to set goals for your business. Write them down so that you and your team know what you’re trying to accomplish. Afterward, you can monitor your progress toward achieving those goals.
If you own or manage a large company, you’ll need to set goals for each of your business units or departments.
In corporate your goals as part of your long-term business plan.
Create Your Portfolio
Take an inventory of your business’s tangible and intangible assets and plan how to leverage them to achieve its goals.
Use the BCG matrix to asses the products and brands that your business currently offers. If you don’t have many “stars” in your portfolio, you should consider in either improving your portfolio via acquisition or by investing in product development.
On the other hand, you’ll have to look for ways to jettison the “dogs” that are preventing growth.
Define Growth Strategies
If your business doesn’t grow, the marketplace will leave it behind. Customer preferences and expectations constantly change. Technology also changes, affecting how your business operates and what products you sell.
For your existing products and services, you can achieve growth by either increasing product sales to existing markets (a market penetration strategy) or introducing your products to new markets (a market development strategy).
Similarly, you can achieve growth by introducing new products to your current markets (a product development strategy) or by selling new products to new markets (a diversification strategy).
Your marketing plan should support your overall business objectives. Therefore, you should review your SWOT analysis from a marketing perspective.
• Target market. Rather than trying to sell to everyone, define the type of customers to whom your business intends to sell. Create a persona of your ideal customer and design your marketing mix for that one person.
• Product strategy. What products and services do people or businesses in your target market demand?
• Pricing strategy. Low-price strategies often result in a “race to the bottom” and challenge long-term profitability. Find ways to balance the price of your product with its perceived value.
• Promotion. How will you connect the members of your target market with your products and services? You can include online and offline sales, marketing, and advertising tactics.
• Logistics. How will you distribute your products and services to customers after the sale?
Creating a marketing plan was a first step of an ongoing process. Next you’ll have to implement your plan and measure its results.
Define key performance indicators that you can use to measure your business’ success. Specifically, you’ll calculate your marketing plan’s ROI.
Schedule periodic reviews so you can optimize, over time, your plan and your business’ performance.
Need help? Contact Bruce Tyson to get a business and marketing planning quote.
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