Why You Need a Business and Marketing Plan

Business Plans

A business plan isn't only about appealing to banks and investors, it’s actually a great tool for entrepreneurs and business owners to manage their businesses direction.

A business plan helps you

  • Determine where you are now in relation to where you want to go in your business

  • Identify needed resources to start and run your business

  • Develop clarity and focus on what needs to be done

  • Gain insight to and understanding of your industry, market, and more

  • Calculate business costs and what you need to charge to build a profitable business

  • Hone in on your offer, how its different from your competitors, and how it benefits your potential client/customer

  • Obtain additional financing (if needed)

  • Decide if you need to hire or contract resources

Marketing & Sales Strategies

Marketing and sales have to do with knowing your market and competition, designing your product messaging, pricing, and other marketing strategies to maximise sales.

This should involve the 5 P’s of marketing, these are:

Product: Describe your product or service offering to the customer by your business, including the physical attributes of your products or services, what they do, how they differ from your competitors and what benefits they provide to your potential customers.

Price: Cover your pricing strategies that you will implement to help you reach your desired profitability. Consider the following, How you will price your product or service so that the price remains competitive while still allowing you to make a good margin of profit? When calculating price, make sure you take into consideration both fixed expenses (those that don't change) and variable expenses (costs that aren't set), as well as your time and expertise, to insure you're charging enough to make a profit. Highlight whether or not your price will be lower or higher than your competition and how you justify the difference (what do buyers get by paying more for your product?).

Place: Where will your business will sell its products or services and how will you get those products or services to your customers?

Promotion: What marketing methods will you use to communicate the benefits and outcomes of your products or services to your target market? Where will you advertise? What percentage of advertising will be handled by each advertising option? How much business do you anticipate each form of advertising will result in? What’s your budget?

People: Define your sales strategy. Who are the people or teams that will be providing the service and what kind of training will they need?

Ultimately, the 5 P's form the basis of your marketing plan. If you want to make your marketing plan a standalone document, you'll also want to include the information you prepared in the market analysis section for your business plan.

Evaluating Marketing Effectiveness

Measuring your marketing decisions and considering how you'll know what strategies are working and those that aren't is crucial to having effective plans. There's no sense in wasting time or money on marketing tactics that don't work. If you use social media to promote your business, you'll want to measure your social media analytics. Plan in A/B testing to make sure you're using your best offers and tweak these over time, there isn’t anything worse than having stale marketing assets because your audience/customers will get bored of seeing the same thing. Whatever form of marketing you use, find a way to quantify results so you can know whether it's worth your time and money to continue to use it.