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Build Your Business With a Marketing Plan

Aug 17, 2007
It's a fact that most businesses - online or offline - fail in their first year. I've also seen that many online businesses start but never really get off the ground. They simply sputter along until the owner forgets to renew the website registration, but no one is the wiser.

Instead of letting your business get the best of you, take the bull by the horns and make the decision from day one to build your business for success! Expect success from your business and you will be more likely to succeed!

How do you expect success and build your business to succeed? Here are the steps you can take to make sure that you're always in growth mode:

1. Identify obstacles. It's naive to say "don't let obstacles get in your way." Frankly, obstacles will get in your way; that's what makes them obstacles. It's much more realistic to say, "don't let obstacles stop you." The best time to identify obstacles is proactively before they occur. This involves some brainstorming to determine what MIGHT spring up in the course of the next month or business quarter that could cause you problems. However, even if you wait until an obstacle presents itself, it's not too late. You can still deal with it. When an obstacle presents itself, identify what it is. For example: If you've noticed that business is flagging, is it because the competition is truly offering better service? Or has their service remained the same and yours has gotten worse?

2. Brainstorm ways to solve them. The best success is creative success because it breaks out of the mold of "the way things have always been done." When we decide to get creative, we'll find new, fresh, and affordable ways to solve problems easily.

3. Seek help. Don't be afraid to find people who are good at what needs to get done and ask them for help. If necessary, hire them or form partnerships that will lead to mutual benefit. Business is stronger when we have allies to help us.

4. Create a Marketing Plan. Don't just blindly wade into business. Create an outline or action plan with a step by step approach to point you to tasks you need to do.

How to Create a Marketing Plan:

Many businesses start out with a really strong business plan. If you've started your business with one, then you should be congratulated. A solid business plan is a great foundation to helping your business increase its chances of success.

But now what? Perhaps it's been a few months or a year. Periodically you may check to see how your business plan is doing, and over all you may be doing okay.

I'd like to recommend to you that you also commit to a regular marketing plan. Marketing should be the primary task of any online business owner in the early years of the business. And a marketing plan will help you do just that. Most people find that marketing plans are a little more fun to do because they're less formal than a business plan and you can do it on the back of an envelope if you want. Ask yourself:

Income questions:

* What are your income goals for the year?
* What are your income goals for the month?
* What are your income goals for the day?

Customer questions:

* What customers do you have?
* What customers do you want to keep?
* Will those customers help you achieve your goal?
* What is your shortfall?
* What is it about those customers that you like?
* What customers do you want to get rid of ?
* What is it about those customers that you don't like?
* How many customers do you need?
* Where will you find those customers?
* Where will you find customers like the ones you like?
* How can you avoid customers that you don't like to deal with?
* Where do your favorite customers hang out?
* Is there a way you can got your favorite customers talking about you?

Marketing questions:

* How are you going to market your services this year?
* What worked?
* What didn't work?
* What is your competition doing this year?

Once you've looked at your income, customers, and marketing, you can begin to creatively develop a few ideas that will help you market for the coming year. I like to consider this marketing plan a little "check-up" to help keep on the path to success.

5. Don't forget to implement your plan. Make sure that you're actually doing what you said you would do in order to make your business a success.
About the Author
Jude Wright is the owner of 40 websites. She finds her i-Marketing Organizer invaluable in finding her Internet marketing information fast! i-MarketingOrganizer.com
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