Did you know that approximately 90% of all start-up businesses fail within the first 12 months?
And that 1 in 10 businesses that survive the first year, only 66% go on for another year?
A big number of small business start and run without a marketing plan (or any kind of promotional plan at all). No wonder the percentage of failure is so high.
After working in marketing for more than a 15 years, it really frustrates me to see this happening.
I understand that putting the time aside to work on a plan when you are already so busy is hard. But trust me, it will pay off in the long run and here is why:
1- The Big Picture
A marketing plan will give you the clarity to see the big picture. You know, what you want your business to look like in one year, 2 years, 5 years from now.
Ok, 5 years is overwhelming, so focus on this year only, or perhaps 6 months if that makes you more comfortable.
Having your big goals in mind will help you prioritise your actions and budget, so you can focus on activities that will bring you closer to your goals.
2- Identify opportunities to promote and grow your business
In my experience, if you don’t have a marketing plan, you get caught in the day to day activities and forget to work on your business. It’s easy to miss out on great opportunities.
By taking the time to research the market and to prepare a strategic plan you can easily spot great opportunities to promote your business and prepare ahead of time.
I will give you a practical example. Let’s say that you have done some research while planning your marketing for the year and have spotted an expo or festival that you hadn’t thought about before.
After assessing the pros and cons, you decide this is a great chance to launch a new service which will be available around that time of the year. So you go on and apply to be a speaker or exhibitor in that event. You prepare all your content, collateral, offers in advance. You source sponsors, so you don’t have to foot the bill all by yourself. You start promoting your participation in such event in your newsletters, social media, media releases and through your sponsors or third parties.
Ultimately, you give yourself the chance to build momentum and a lot of buzz around one single event, all because you planned ahead.
Now, consider the opposite scenario. If you haven’t planned, none of the above would be possible. What a missed opportunity!
3- Assess and adjust
In marketing, there is no one size fits all. Every business is different. There is no one formula that will take you “there”. That’s why it is important to assess and adjust regularly.
Having a plan will help you analyse and measure which marketing activities are working for you and which ones are not.
Don’t immediately discard any tactics that aren’t working. Consider changing some aspects of it first and give it another go. It may be that your copy isn’t speaking to your market, or your images aren’t the perfect fit rather than the channels that you are using.
It may take a bit of time to get it right, but once you have the right mix you should start seeing great results consistently.
But, don’t get too comfortable. Just like your business, marketing is always evolving. Great results today don’t mean great results tomorrow. You will need to keep assessing and improving along the way to reach new heights.