No business can be successful without a proper marketing plan. Creating a plan will help you with starting up your business AND growing it.
Are you like me?
When I started my business, I had clear goals of what I wanted to achieve – e.g. how many clients I want to work with and the income levels I want to reach. But at the time, I didn’t really create a solid marketing plan around it.
It was just easy to go with the flow and do what feels right in the moment. Can you relate?
If so, is it working for you?
After my first year in business, I knew this hum-ham approach wasn’t working for me. At all.
What I found, was that without a plan, important projects were often put on hold, or they crept up on me and there was simply no time to create effective marketing campaigns around them, or things were simply forgotten, and at the end of the year, I didn’t reach my business goals.
But then I got a little bit smarter and decided that it is important for me, for my business, and for my life to create a written, yearly marketing plan of what I want to achieve within a given year.
I am not talking about a plan incorporating ALL the little details. I’m just talking about a plan where I can see the whole year at a glance. A plan to make sure that I schedule the most important business and marketing activities, so that I…
- don’t forget about stuff,
- give myself enough time to pull things off and
- easily monitor the progress I make against my goals.
I call this my annual marketing and event calendar.
It’s a 1-page document that incorporates the weeks of every month to give you a full-year at a glance.
Every year, I populate this document with the most important events and projects that require any sort of marketing activities. I also make sure that there is at least one event or marketing campaign each month that can lead to new clients and new income.
Within this plan, I don’t put down specific dates; just a rough idea of when I want to implement or do something. Then, I print a copy and keep it next to my computer (a printed copy is handy for making quick notes and for referencing where I am currently).
The results of this?
For the past 3 years, I not only reached all the goals and activities on the annual plan. I’ve doubled my income year on year.
So for me, a yearly written marketing plan – even if it is just a basic overview of the most important activities – is an absolute must in any business.
Here are 7 reasons why I believe an annual marketing plan is important:
1. An annual plan will help you clarify your ideas and most important priorities. It will help you determine what you want to focus on for the year, and when you want to focus on it.
2. An annual plan will help you make crucial decisions. With your plan, you know what is important, and is now in a great potition to say “yes” or “no” to opportunities coming your way. With your plan in hand you have more clarity – and the courage – to manage new opportunities rather than to be managed by them.
3. An annual plan will enable you to maintain balance. You’ll be able to quickly see which months are extremely busy and which months are not. It will help you spread out activities so that you do not overwhelm yourself and have enough time to complete things. Also when you are not able to move things around, it will help you to plan in advance on how you will manage those busy times. And, when you find some months are completely empty, it will give you the motivation to find opportunities and activities to grow your client base for that given month.
4. An annual plan serves as a road map for accomplishing what matters most. It gives you a quick glance of what is coming in the next few weeks or months and prompt you to start thinking about those things that will need attention in the near future. It’s like identifying the markers and waypoints along the journey, so that you have enough time to create an action plan for completing them successfully.
5. An annual plan is a valuable financial tool. When planning out your projects and marketing activities per month it is easier to make projections about the number of clients and income per month to ensure it all adds up to your yearly financial goal . Then you can simply evaluate your actual income per month against the projected income to see if you are still on track.
6. An annual plan measures your progress. It tells you where you are and what you still need to do to reach your ultimate goal.
7. An annual plan helps ensure that you don’t finish the year with regrets. For many entrepreneurs, their years are not turning out like they had hoped. They are disappointed, confused, and discouraged. But it doesn’t have to be that way. While you can’t control everything, you can manage your business with a plan and dramatically improve your chances of closing the year on a high note.
So, get started today with creating your own annual plan and let’s make this year your best year, yet.
To Your success