So you have your written business plan and know that you are going to sell donuts. What is next in line? Why a marketing plan of course. You will need to figure out two things: how to connect people with your product and how to make them realize that they have to have your product. I want to discuss the parts of marketing without delving into specific ideas in this series of articles. I will save that for later.
The number one rule is that you write it all down just like you did for your business plan. You do not have to write the next best selling novel, just put your strategies on paper in an organized fashion. It helps to let your family and friends read the finished product so they can critique it. Let them ask you questions about the content. If you cannot explain what is written there or elaborate on a concept then you might need to rethink something and go at it a different way. This written plan will be your blueprint from getting your business concept off the ground and rolling along.
Another reason to write your marketing plan down is because it holds you, the business owner, accountable. The plan is a physical entity that shows how you are going to go out and get those customers. Psychologically, writing something down helps make it real in a person’s mind. Lots of people have good ideas, but they don’t put everything together and act on them. That what separates you from the rest of the pack.
I am assuming your donut venture will be classified as a small business and that chances are good that money is not falling off trees into your vat of oil. You will have to be careful with your funds for marketing so as not to exhaust your resources. Having something to refer back to lets you know where to go next in a cost effective way
And the final reason for writing it all down is that you will want to refer back to the plan later on. Maybe you put it away for a while and ran your business without referring to is because you were successful. It will be there to help get you back on course if you need it. It will also make interesting reading when your business is turning a profit years down the road and you begin to feel nostalgic.
Business evolves, it seems, on a day-to-day basis in the 21st century. Owners have to sometimes change their business concepts to meet current need if they want to continue operations. That means that a new marketing plan may be needed. Maybe one is needed every year. Maybe one is needed every six months. Who knows these things, but my point is that you need to stay flexible. The marketing plan is there to give you guidance but can be modified. Never throw out an old marketing plan–use the content to make the next one better.