A business plan serves as the guidebook to your business. Your business plan should communicate what your business is, how you plan on growing it, and what steps you are going to take to achieve your success.
Your business plan also has a huge effect on your marketing efforts. Your business plan can help you decide what type of marketing will add value to your business and which types of marketing will simply be time wasters.
By writing out your business ideas and goals, you can determine your target market. Your target market is the group of people that you want to promote your products or services to. Determining your target market is the first step in planning your marketing efforts.
Having a business plan, and knowing who your target market is, will lead you to create your marketing plan. A marketing plan is similar to a business plan in the sense that it acts as a guide and helps you stay focused.
A marketing plan is a written plan of action that communicates how you are going to market your business. There are many ways to market your business, such as flyers, paid ads (newspapers, magazines, online), business cards, speaking in front of groups, becoming a guest on a radio show or television program, pay per click campaigns, direct mail, and more.
Your business and marketing plans serve as tools in deciding which marketing ideas will work best with your business and your particular brand. It can be easy to try too many different marketing approaches. Whenever you feel confused about your marketing efforts, take some time to re-read your business plan. This can help you decide if the new marketing idea will actually reach your target market and if it is worth trying.
Developing relationships with other business owners that offer complementary products is a great way to market your business. When you know which direction you plan to grow your business, you can start scouting out possible future business partners.
For instance, if you have created your own line of organizational handbags and would like to start offering diaper bags, you can start researching the top baby focused websites and see if they would be interested in helping you promote your diaper bags.
Your marketing plan should also include information on how you plan on keeping your customers after the initial purchase. Some ideas include customer-only sales, backend sales opportunities, customer-only freebies, etc.
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.