Planning For Success: The Importance of Having a Marketing Plan

When I began my journey to become a home-based business owner, I knew exactly why I wanted to do it: I wanted to be home with my child more than working in a full-time job would allow. I didn’t want to miss out on her life because I was always working. This was a simple, yet very powerful “reason why,” and it provided the necessary drive and motivation for me to quickly build a successful business.

Identifying Your “Reason Why”

If you want to build a successful home-based business, you must start with a powerful “reason why.” I believe that reason must be deeper than just making money. It needs to be an emotionally charged reason that will carry you through the ups and downs of business start-up, and keep you motivated and determined when obstacles arise — which they most definitely will.

Once you have identified your “reason why” it’s time to develop a plan. Your plan is your “how.” While most people can easily identify their “reason why,” many do not take the next step and map out a plan. They have an idealistic view about being able to create a wonderfully balanced life by starting their own business, and very quickly discover they have either created a job for themselves that requires them to work around the clock, or they struggle to make any money at all because they never really thought their business idea through.

Taking the time to develop a plan forces you to think your business idea through and ensures it is viable before you start, so you can avoid finding yourself stuck in a bad situation later.

If you think about it, we plan most things in our life. We plan weddings and when to start a family. We plan birthday parties, vacations and anniversary celebrations.  However, many people go into business, which involves their livelihood, and they don’t create a plan. They just start operating their business, yet there is so much more at stake. You are counting on earning an income, and in many cases your family is counting on that, too. To just go out and “wing it” is a pretty irresponsible way to approach it.

Yet nearly every client I work with, when asked the question “Do you have a marketing or business plan?” either answers “No” or shares an answer that tells me they don’t really understand what a marketing or business plan is.

Unless you are planning to seek bank financing or venture capital for your business, you don’t need a full-blown business plan. But you do need to do some research upfront to make sure your business idea is viable and to create at least a basic plan to focus your activities.

Your plan should include setting the goals you would like your business to achieve, at least in its first year. Your plan should also include a budget that estimates your business expenses and projections for the revenue you plan to make. Your plan should detail the products and services you will offer, who you plan to offer them to, and how you will get the word out and market your business.

Unfortunately, unlike in the movie Field of Dreams, just because you build it does not mean they will come. You first need to make sure your business fills a need in the marketplace. Then you have to be very clear about the products and services you are going to provide and the unique way they fill that need. Last, you have to be able to find customers. Your plan helps you accomplish all of this in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. If you forego developing a plan, you may be successful, but you will very likely spend more money and time than if you had taken the time upfront to plan your success.

 

About Debbie

After spending 32 years in marketing, Debbie now spends her time blogging, teaching online courses, doing volunteer pet therapy, and encouraging others to follow a more inspired path through life.

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