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The Importance of Marketing Planning for New Businesses

07 Nov 2011 8:44 PM | Working Women (Administrator)
Blog by: Liane Caruso of Limelight Marketing Consultants

Women entrepreneurs are truly fabulous. We commit ourselves to owning a business, diving in head first and sharing our business dreams with anyone who will listen. One of our biggest strengths is one of our biggest weaknesses, and as women entrepreneurs, we overcommit!  We naturally take on too much, wear way too many hats and can quickly become overwhelmed. And before you know it, we can easily – without intention – set ourselves up for failure.  One way to avoid that is have a solid, strategic marketing plan in place. Haven’t you ever heard “He who fails to plan, plans to fail?” Ladies, we love planning parties, dinners and events, so let’s plan for our business!
 
Many new business owners don’t take the time to create a plan because the plan in itself is overwhelming.  But, without a plan, how do you know where you’re going or where you’ve been? Have you laid out a budget? Who is going to help you execute your plan? How can you tell if your efforts are successful or where are the budget pitfalls? The purpose of the marketing plan is to define your market, identify your customers and competitors, determine your strengths and weaknesses, outline a strategy for attracting and keeping customers, and to identify and anticipate change.
 
Knowing your customers is the cornerstone to your success. If you don’t know their likes, dislikes or expectations how do you assume to fulfill their need? If you’re marketing to the wrong target market, you’re wasting a lot of time, energy and hard-earned money.  Also, make sure you have identified your competition including their strengths and weaknesses. How and what are their marketing efforts? What is successful for them?
 
Set your goals and objectives. This is like a big To Do list for your company. What woman doesn’t love a To Do list? Be bold! If you want to be a 3-million dollar company in three years, why not set that expectation for yourself and your company? Mary Kay Ash, one of the most successful women in business said, “Shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.”
 
Establish a budget. “What should my marketing budget look like?” You have to spend money to make money.  However, there are MANY cost-effective marketing options out there to explore so make sure you’re weighing your options and getting multiple quotes.
 
Basically, without a well thought out plan, you will be reacting, which could lead to additional spending that is not aligned strategically with your sales objectives and goals for the year. Give yourself a couple of months to create the plan and it does not have to be set in stone. Your company and marketplace will evolve and your plan should too. It’s a living, breathing document that will help guide your day-to-day activities.
 
Need help? There are consultants out there who can help you create a strategic marketing plan for your business. One comes to mind that I’m particularly fond of: Limelight Marketing Consultants. Call or email anytime with questions to liane@limelightconsultants.com or (813) 388-9384.

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