Tips To Creating Your Own Marketing Strategy

Developing and creating marketing strategy is an essential for any types and forms of business. If you do not have one, it is a must that you create one, your efforts, time and money are likely to be inefficient and useless.

You should create your strategy which focuses on making sure that your products and services meet what the customers want and needs. This is important in order to develop a long-term and profitable relationship with your customers.

The main goal of a marketing strategy is to identify and to communicate with what benefits of your business could offer to your target market. Quite genius!

In order to achieve those goals you have set in your mind, you will need to create a smart strategy which can respond to customers’ perceptions and demands.

Tips below could help you define your key objectives and goals in reaching your customers, on the other hand, this could help you identify which customers you should focus on. Smart list for smart and effective action.

  • Identify your Key Elements. The acknowledgment that your existing customers will fall into particular groups or segments is one of the key elements for a successful marketing strategy. Characterize them by their “needs” and “perspective”. Market research could help you identify these groups and especially their needs, address them in a more fruitful way than your competitors, this should be the center of interest of your strategy.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses. Your strategy takes account of how your business’ pros and cons will affect your marketing. A genuine Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis could be a great start, to begin with. This one is a substantial idea to conduct market research on your existing customers, it will also help you to build a more genuine portrait of your reputation.
  • Developing your Marketing Strategy. Understanding your business’ pros and cons and the other external variables to consider, you could develop your strategy that engages to your own strengths, match them to the transpiring opportunities. These questions below could possibly help you develop your marketing strategy:
  1. What changes are taking place in the business’ environment?
  2. Are these opportunities or threats?
  3. What do I want to achieve?
  4. What are the customers’ demands and needs?
  5. How do I target the right potential customers?
  6. Which are the best way to connect with my customers?
  7. Is there something missing with my customer service? Do I need to improve it?
  8. If I change my products and services, could it be possible that it will be more profitable?
  9. How do I price my products?
  10. Which is the best way to promote my products?
  11. When can I finally conclude that my marketing is effective?
  • Tips and Drawbacks. Think about how you can get the most out of your existing customers before looking at new markets. It’s more economical and swift than finding new customers. Take time to think and consider, could it be possible to sell more to your existing customers? You could always search for ways of improving the possession of customers. Your marketing strategy document should:
  1. Examine the different needs of different groups of customers
  2. Focus on a market niche where you can grew rapidly
  3. Goal to put most of your efforts into the 20 percent of customers who provide 80 percent of profits

Avoid these:

  1. Makes assumptions about what customers want.
  2. Ignores the competition.
  3. Trying to compete on price alone.
  4. Relies on too few customers.
  5. Trying to grow too quickly.
  6. Becoming complacent about what you offer and failing to innovate.

 

Plans For Your Business Venture

Whatever the health and condition of your business venture, it will benefit from planning. Business planning of all types provides a roadmap that guides the leadership team to successfully achieve business goals.

I’ve taught business plan writing for more than 10 years and I’ve also developed a one-day business plan writing workshop. As I see it, the process of business planning gives company leaders opportunities to see the big picture and remove “magical thinking” from the process. Business planning first reveals if the proposed goals are potentially viable and second, requires that we devise strategies that will make them a reality.

What your team wants to achieve will shape the plan that is written. For example, if the mission is to launch a start-up that will require significant outside investment, then the plan will include detailed financial projections. Additionally, marketing strategies that delve into customer acquisition, the competitive landscape, the logistics of the product or service launch, messaging and sales distribution, along with operational aspects such as manufacturing, staffing and quality control, must be thoroughly detailed.

Solopreneur consultants will focus heavily on marketing, in particular defining the target clients and client acquisition; providing services for which there is adequate demand; and appropriate pricing. Financial planning will focus on allocating the budget to support promotional strategies and marketing campaigns.

Whether the plan will be used to launch a big venture and attract outside investment money or open a boutique-style consulting service, include the following elements:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Present the business mission statement here. Include as well the date the business was formed; the leadership team and other key management personnel; the credentials or experience that make you and the leadership team uniquely qualified to launch and successfully run the venture; the business legal structure (LLC, Sole Proprietor, or Corporation); the products and services; one or two key competitive advantages; a concise overview of sales projections; and the amount of capital needed if recruiting investors or obtaining bank financing is a goal.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION

It’s traditional to present a brief description of your industry and its outlook, nationally and regionally. Give the details of your products and services and briefly discuss how they’ll be used by target customers. Identify whether the venture is B2B, B2C, or B2G. If the organization holds a patent, review the competitive advantages that it will convey. Have there been any technological advances that will help or hinder the enterprise? Divulge the details here.

MARKETING

This element is a big tent that encompasses sales, product or service distribution, competitors, advertising, social media, PR, networking, branding, customer acquisition and pricing. Plans written for a small organization will spotlight the role of marketing because for Solopreneurs, success hinges on identifying and reaching paying clients, as well as pricing the services advantageously.

FINANCE

Whether you’re wealthy enough to self-finance or the venture is small and not especially demanding of capital investment, the leadership team nevertheless needs to know with a reasonable degree of certainty how much money will be required to achieve important goals.

The plan might be written to support financing for the acquisition of new office space, additional staffing, or manufacturing equipment. Bank loans typically require a business plan to demonstrate how the investment money would be used and how the organization will generate funds for loan repayment.

If the goal is to attract investors, they’ll need to be convinced by the projected sales revenue figures (as will the bank), so they’ll know when their investment will be repaid and when to expect profits if they are made co-owners of the business. A break-even analysis, projected income statement, projected cash-flow statement and projected balance sheet are required by those who will need significant money.

 

Fatal Flaws in Your Business Plan

A business plan is the blueprint that guides aspiring entrepreneurs as they build their new business ventures. From 2008 – 2010, I taught a 20-week business plan writing course at an SBA-affiliated women’s business development organization. We met for three hours each week and students wrote their plans week by week, guided by the lessons.

When evaluating a business concept, unrealistic expectations or flawed thinking could creep in and undermine the planning. Excitement about the idea might distort one’s ability to see potential obstacles. What follows are scenarios that entrepreneurs-in-the-making should beware.

Unrealistic expectations

While it is sometimes true that using yourself as the ideal customer is a smart idea, since you understand the value and availability of that product or service, you might misinterpret the size of the market and the traction that can be achieved beyond a select group of true believers.

Insufficient information

Confirm the need for your products or services when you research and verify the number of potential customers who have the money and motive to buy from you.

Furthermore, make sure that you understand the buying process. Who green-lights the sale? What is the sweet spot price range? Lastly, where do potential customers obtain these products or services now?

Access to customers

Access to customers is everything and some industries or target customers seem impenetrable. You may identify the right customers, understand how your products or services fit their needs and know how to price and deliver. But if potential customers do not have the confidence to work with you because you lack an endorsement from a trusted source, you’ll starve.

Overestimating cash-flow

Usually, businesses won’t achieve desirable gross sales and or show a net profit in the first year of operations. Businesses that require high start-up costs especially will require long ramping-up periods. The business plan must acknowledge the potential for negative cash-flow and demonstrate how fixed and variable expenses will be met during that time. One must know how inventory will be financed, payroll will be met and office rent will be paid.

When writing your business plan, conservative financial projections are strongly advised. Customer acquisition may take longer than expected and the size of their purchases may initially be small. Moreover, it’s possible for a venture to be profitable on paper and still suffer from cash-flow problems, if customers do not pay on time.

Underestimating start-up costs

Developing a reasonable estimate of how much it will cost to get the venture up and running is essential. You must be prepared to meet the cost of all permits, equipment, inventory and staffing necessary to conduct business. If you plan to hire employees, it’s important to have a good idea of your minimum staffing needs up front (you can hire more as revenues increase).

“Magical thinking” business model

The business model illustrates how your venture will become profitable. Well thought-out interactions between marketing, financial and operations processes will promote and sustain profitability and you must map out how these will occur. The business model describes the core functions of the venture.

Likewise, the value proposition of your products or services must be articulated. The overall marketing strategy and selected tactics and resources that will promote the value proposition—intellectual property, patent rights, key relationships, or capital—will be accounted for. Sales distribution channels will be detailed.

Getting to Plan B (2009), by Randy Komisar and John Mullins, details the key business model components and advises business plan writers to segment their models into sub-headings:

  • The Revenue Model, to describe what you’ll sell, your marketing plans and how you expect to generate revenue
  • The Operating Model, to detail where you’ll do business and how day-to-day operations will function
  • The Working Capital model, meaning the business cash-flow requirements. Understanding cash-flow helps you know when money will be available to meet expenses like rent and payroll (it is distinct from revenue). A business can generate adequate revenue (sales) and still suffer from cash-flow problems.

Your business model will keep you organized and your priorities realistic. Matters such as quality control, collecting accounts receivable, inventory management and identifying strategic partners will mean much more than your number of Facebook followers, for example. Best of luck to you and your new business!

Three Ultimate Keys for a Successful Business

Money can’t buy us happiness, nor poverty can. So it’s crucial to earn money even if you are not inclined towards being a rich person. As grown-ups, we all think to make money. Some opt for jobs, while rest try to do business. Jobs are easier, have fixed monthly income with predefined office timings. No headaches as such. So why people turn towards doing business?

Broadly there are two categories of people who start a business viz.

  • Not interested in doing job
  • Want to do something of their own

People of both categories initialize a start-up business at some time in their life. But, do you know that 8 out of 10 businesses fail in their first 18 months. They fail because most of the businesses are fueled mainly by money. When the money runs out, the business takes its own course and lead to failure.

Business is loosely defined as busy+ness. If you know your product and do improvisations in your product, you are going in the right direction. This article deals with three basics of business, hierarchically. If you follow these basics, a successful business is guaranteed.

    1. Product
      Are you completely aware of the product you are doing the business of? Are you proud of your product? If you are one of the persons who thinks that his/her employees will do all the work and he/she will enjoy the profit, then it will not work in the long run. Most of the big businesses today, started in a backyard with enthusiasts about that product. They succeeded because they loved what they were making, they were proud of what they were doing. You need to be passionate about the product you are doing the business of, and it should be something original. If you want to start a business and still don’t know what to do, then find your passions and you will find the product. A good product can never be denied by a market. Everyone likes to have good things.

 

    1. Packaging
      A market behaves like a herd. Once a product has been seen as a garbage, it takes a huge amount of time, money and tactics to re-establish itself. Don’t let your that awesome product be seen as a garbage, just because it does not have a beautiful clothing. Give it your best or hire someone who can help you with that. Packaging is how you present your creation. You definitely do not want it to be seen as a garbage.

 

  1. Marketing
    This is the easiest part of any business. Today in the era of the internet this part has become quite easier. Almost 25% of total money for marketing of various businesses is spent on internet. Your that awesome product and its beautiful packaging will go in vain if no one knows about your product.

If you invest only money in the business, you won’t last long, but if your product is genuine along with beautiful packaging and wise marketing, you can build the brand that can shine.

 

Top Two Formulas for Creating a Small Business Strategy

If you think that a business strategy is not important because you only have a small venture, then you need some serious rethinking to do. Creating a strategy is a crucial task of a business owner. Even if you only have a garage-type operation or an Internet-based home enterprise, the strategic direction that you will set for your business will determine your failure or success.

Unfortunately, most small business owners are intimidated by the word strategy. They will simply create a short-term business plan for their weekly or monthly operations. If you are following this approach, then you will have a difficult time transforming your small business into a big and highly successful corporation.

You have to remember that creating a business strategy need not be too complicated. There are simple ways of devising a strategic plan for your small venture. Here are the top two models or formulas that could help you.

The Goal-Focus Graph

Creating a strategy graph that focuses on your bigger goals is the easiest and simplest way to formulate a strategic plan. You do not have to earn a business degree to create the goal-focus graph. In fact, you can finish creating the strategy in a few hours.

What you need to do is to get a clean sheet of bond paper. Consider this paper as a representation of your 5-year strategic plan.

The bottom edge of the paper is year zero while the top-most part is the fifth year. On the bottom part of the paper, write the current status of your business. Then you should write your five-year goal on the upper edge of the graph.

The blank space of the paper should represent the x-number of years or months and you must set concrete and quantifiable milestones for each year or month. Make sure to set the major tasks that you have to accomplish to reach a milestone. Once you complete the goal-focus graph, then you will now have a working business strategy which should guide you for the next five years.

Following the Kaizen Model

The Kaizen model is a Japanese invention focusing on performance and productivity. It is practically a hands-on business strategy which could become the unique culture of your enterprise. Even the global MNCs of Japan are following the Kaizen model to chalk-up more achievements.

The Kaizen business strategy is not complicated. In order to simplify your approach, you need to focus your efforts on improving two things: customer relationship and employee morale.

Your intra-corporate strategy should be centered on teamwork, quality, rewards system, discipline, and thrift. On the customer or sales side, the focus of your strategy should be customer satisfaction, giving greater value, building lasting relationships, and maintaining cordial communications.

If you apply the Kaizen principle to your small business, then you are already half-way to your success. This is a proven business strategy that promotes greater customer loyalty and harmonious relationships within the workplace.

Creating a business strategy for your small business is not difficult. You can easily create a strategy as long as your business goals and objectives are clear. Once you have created a strategy for your business, you have to apply it consciously in order to achieve greater success.

 

What Are You Creating Next To Grow Your Business?

Creating new things leads to growth.

Whenever I talk to business owners who want to grow their business, my question is “What are you creating to make that happen?”

Many times, they don’t have an answer. Instead, they are just trying to do more of the same things. More meetings, more conversations, more sales, more customers. And if things are working well, then by all means keep doing them.

But in order to improve things in a bigger way, we have to innovate. And innovation means creating and trying new things.

Create New Things To Sell

Creating something new could mean a new product, or program, or package. Having something new to sell can open you up to customers who weren’t buying your previous offer, but might be interested in something a little different.

This often happens with my clients who build online courses and training programs. They are able to sell the program to people who hadn’t signed up for one-on-one services. It’s a different approach, a different price point, and a different opportunity.

Having a new offer opens up conversations with people that had previously been at a dead end. It can create momentum in your business, and lead to growth in areas that didn’t exist before!

Create Things To Reach More People

The best way to reach more people is to create things to help you get in front of them. This is where content comes in!

What can you create to provide value and give to people? Can you send them a blog article? Offer them a free PDF download? Invite them to an event? Engage with them through a video or audio series?

Content is a hot-button word in marketing these days because it works!

It’s the best way to find and reach the people who are interested in what you do. With my clients, I recommend creating 1-4 Nurturing Content pieces each month, and one Catalyst Content piece every 12-18 weeks.

Creating content is what allows you to get in front of people on a regular basis in a positive way, rather than with the same annoying sales pitch.

Creating Systems

Another thing you can create to grow your business are systems and processes. What is your process for following up with people? What is the sequence of communications? What do you provide to build a relationship and earn their trust?

Maybe you need to create a leveraged program, sales process, or customer service system. What are the pieces of the system? Once you create it, you can use it over and over again.

So it comes down to this…

If you want to be growing, then you also have to be creating. The fastest growing businesses and individuals have time built in to create things in these categories for their business.

 

Painting Business Plan – 9 Tips For Creating A Killer Business Plan

The ideal “painters marketing plan” should include these following components

1.) Finding All the Painting Customers You Can Handle. If you know how to do this you got it made and you can make as much money as you want. Whether a small, 1 to 2-man painting operation or a painting company that has a large painting crew, you can make it happen when you know how to find customers.

2.) Knowing How To Estimate Paint Jobs – for maximum profits, this is the second power stroke that should be in a painters marketing plan. When you know how to get as close to the “threshold of pain” as you can get, (the maximum you can charge someone before price resistance kicks in) whether residential or commercial, you can MAX your profits.

3.) Customer Retention – just how much is a painting customer worth to you? When you know that, you will really do whatever it takes to hang on to them. Finding new customers is not always as easy as painting for the existing ones. If they run out of things to paint over time, how many “referrals” can they give you? Why wait 10 years for them to call you again when you can be painting for their family and friends right now?

HERE ARE 3 WAYS TO SQUEEZE MORE PAINTING BUSINESS OUT OF EACH EXISTING CUSTOMER:

4.) Go the Extra Mile – always do a great job and even do a little more to please your customers. This gets you more repeat business and gets them talking about your painting service. And “word-of-mouth” advertising also kicks in, which is the BEST form of advertising there is!

5.) Thank You Cards – sending out thank you cards after every job completed “shows professionalism” and creates more business for us house painters. Plus they see your contact info again and will put it on file for future use.

6.) Customer Rewards – reward your loyal painting customers who give you lots of repeat business and especially those who refer you to others. Surprise them with a gift card for their favorite restaurant maybe.

7.) A Painting Business Newsletter – these are considered the BEST way to stay connected to your customers. E-mail newsletters are the easiest to send out. Physical mail newsletters get better response than digital ones. Using both in tandem is a winner. The idea is to “stay connected” and never let a customer lose your contact info. That could mean losing out on a $10,000 job maybe or even MORE!

8.) Word-of-mouth – again, this is by far the best form of advertising. Do everything you can to get your customers buzzing about your painting company (in a good way of course) and recommending you to new painting customers. This is the number one thing a painting business owner should incorporate in their painters marketing plan. It’s like having a small private army of affiliates selling your goods for you.

9.) Offer Your Painting Customers A Referral Fee. Offer them a 10% – 20% commission for any new business they get you. This could be like putting “gas on a fire” for you. I’ve never had to pay anyone for referrals but it’s an idea I thought I would mention anyway.

 

How Business Succession Planning Can Protect Business Owners

What if something happens to you, and you can no longer manage your business anymore? Who will then take over your business, and will it be managed the way you want?

Establishing a sound business succession plan helps ensure that your business gets handed over more smoothly.

Business succession planning, also known as business continuation planning, is about planning for the continuation of the business after the departure of a business owner. A clearly articulated business succession plan specifies what happens upon events such as the retirement, death or disability of the owner.

A good business succession plans typically include, but not limited to:

·Goal articulation, such as who will be authorized to own and run the business;

The business owner’s retirement planning, disability planning and estate planning;

·Process articulation, such as whom to transfer shares to, and how to do it, and how the transferee is to fund the transfer;

·Analysing if existing life insurance and investments are in place to provide funds to facilitate ownership transfer. If no, how are the gaps to be filled;

·Analysing shareholder agreements; and

·Assessing the business environment and strategy, management capabilities and shortfalls, corporate structure.

Why should business owners consider business succession planning?

·The business can be transferred more smoothly as possible obstacles have been anticipated and addressed

·Income for the business owner through insurance policies, e.g. ongoing income for disabled or critically ill business owner, or income source for family of deceased business owner

·Reduced probability of forced liquidation of the business due to sudden death or permanent disability of business owner

For certain components of a good business succession plan to work, funding is required. Some common ways of funding a succession plan include investments, internal reserves and bank loans.

However, insurance is generally preferred as it is the most effective solution and the least expensive one compared to the other options.

Life and disability insurance on each owner ensure that some financial risk is transferred to an insurance company in the event that one of the owners passes on. The proceeds will be used to buy out the deceased owner’s business share.

Owners may choose their preferred ownership of the insurance policies via any of the two arrangements, “cross-purchase agreement” or “entity-purchase agreement”.

Cross-Purchase Agreement

In a cross-purchase agreement, co-owners will buy and own a policy on each other. When an owner dies, their policy proceeds would be paid out to the surviving owners, who will use the proceeds to buy the departing owner’s business share at a previously agreed-on price.

However, this type of agreement has its limitations. A key one is, in a business with a large number of co-owners (10 or more), it is somewhat impractical for each owner to maintain separate policies on each other. The cost of each policy may differ due to a huge disparity between owners’ age, resulting in inequity.

In this instance, an entity-purchase agreement is often preferred.

Entity-Purchase Agreement

In an entity-purchase agreement, the business itself purchases a single policy on each owner, becoming both the policy owner and beneficiary. When an owner dies, the business will use the policy proceeds to buy the deceased owner’s business share. All costs are absorbed by the business and equity is maintained among the co-owners.

What Happens Without a Business Succession Plan?

Your business may suffer grave consequences without a proper business succession plan in the event of an unexpected death or a permanent disability.

Without a business succession plan in place, these scenarios might happen.

If the business is shared among business owners, then the remaining owners may fight over the shares of the departing business owner or over the percentage of the business.

There could also be a potential dispute between the sellers and buyers of the business. For e.g., the buyer may insist on a lower price against the seller’s higher price.

In the event of the permanent disability or critical illness of the business owner, the operations of the company could be affected as they might not be able to work. This could affect clients’ faith, revenue and morale in the company as well.

The stream of income to the owner’s family will be cut off if the business owner, being the sole breadwinner of the family, unexpectedly passes away.

Don’t let all the business you have built up collapse the moment you are not there. Planning ahead with a proper business succession plan before an unexpected or premature event happens can help secure your business legacy, ensuring that you and your family’s future will be well taken care of.

 

Business Planning Tips

Business plans varies with each and every individual. Some prefer technological based business, some prefer learning based business and some with entertainment based business but all together their motive is to get profits from their work.

Business ranges from large to small levels. Now- a- days promoting a business via digital marketing is very simple and its very effective for the purpose of leads generations. As said, business structure (plans, designs) completely varies to each and every business.

The one who has a plan to start a business has to travel a lot of procedural steps. Implementing the business ideas is tougher than generating the ideas. The one who is ready to start his own business must be ready to face all the pros and cons of it. The market standard get varies with each and every business, so all the investors cannot not except the same profit as like all months.

Apart from making money, carrying a business has social responsibilities too. For example, running a company includes proper employees work management, proper revenue generation, proper infrastructure and so on. Here the owner of the company should not focus only on the profits, so apart from this he has to think the about the welfare of his employees and their families. Thinking about the environmental issues is an important step in carrying a business. For example, a person owning the industry has to think of the environmental issues and recommended to use the proper safety measures which does not affect the environment.

If you have a plan to start your own business then consulting a business consultant for financial services are highly recommended. The key aspects of the best business consultancy are:

1. Marketing services

2. Financial services

3. Joint venture services

4. Infrastructure services

5. Set up analysis services

Starting up a business involves risk and difficulty. Before getting into their own business each and every individual has to do research on their business products. No business can be setup without any finance. The financial service plays a major role in setting up a business and in promoting it to an extent. Thus, having a clear vision over their work plan is safe and mandatory. The person who is ready to start their own business should have a rough estimate of how much money is needed to start their business and how much profit they can generate annually.