Chances are you don’t have a marketing plan.
In fact, unless you’re a large business, or seeking additional finance, you’re unlikely to have any business plan.
You’re unlikely to have any business plan, because uncertainty is dominant.
Most businesses grow organically over time.
They deliver good products and services, because the founders are actively involved in the processes that matter.
Budgets and cash management will be seen as critical, while formal business planning will be unlikely.
Sales and marketing planning will be minimal, with new business coming predominantly from contacts and referrals.
Like most small businesses many will fall into the trap of trying to meet every customers needs.
It’s hard to turn away new business and just too tempting to take on every potential customer, however disparate they may be.
The problem is it’s impossible to focus on any number of customers who require different things.
It’s distracting and costly.
Within a few years most businesses will find that their customer base is really mixed and that their ‘products’ have been begun to diversify in unplanned ways.
While it may seem like growth, the reality is if the customer isn’t a good fit for the business, it can block real growth.
What this means is that the essence of the business has changed, posing a long-term threat to it’s success and even existence.
A situation that can be amplified if this is the time that the founders influence starts to wane.
If terminal decline is to be avoided it is necessary to undertake the effective marketing planning that should have been done at the outset.
At it’s core will be a clear definition of the business’ values (it’s essence), it’s target customer groups and the products it intends to offer them.
These elements will position the business in the market, providing a solid foundation for long-term success.
Within the clearly defined target market(s), attention can turn to establishing and introducing their products to the newly defined customer segments, more effectively than their competitors.
The plan is not rigid, it will need to evolve and adapt to changing needs and circumstances.
It will keep the business focused on serving their clearly defined market segments.
Segments that can be refined, with new segments being added over time, to continue growth in the long-term.
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