Graham McGregor 's Opinion

A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: How to write a business plan for small business

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Image / Thinkstock
Image / Thinkstock

I had the opportunity recently to meet with Nicole Crump the owner of Tactix Marketing.

I discovered that Nicole and her team spend a good amount of time showing businesses how to put together (and put into action) an effective marketing plan.

So I invited Nicole to share some ideas on how to write a marketing plan for SME's.

Here is what Nicole passed on...

Marketing is everything you do to get your market to know you, like you, trust you with the intention of getting them to buy from you.

At its most basic, the components of a simple marketing plan can be boiled down into five categories:

1: Know your business goals

You need to be clear on what you are trying to achieve.

Reflect on why you started your business and what makes your business unique.

2: Understand your customers

Knowing your customers and your competitors will give you great insight into how you fit into the market place and what your point of difference is.

Your point of difference will give you your clear and consistent message.

3: Know your market

It is important to spend time looking at the environment that you operate in to find opportunities for growth.

This includes looking at the factors that may impact your business in relation to political, economic, social or technological changes.

In addition you need to consider factors such as consumer trends, suppliers, distributors and competitors that may impact your business.

4: Consider all the elements of the 'marketing mix' and what needs to be actioned to achieve your goals

This is where you look at the areas including your price, products, promotions, positioning amongst other key area and get the best activities for your situation.

5: Your brand

It is key to spend time looking at your brand and really distilling how you want to be perceived by your customers and if this is currently how your brand is seen.

Marketing is all about your customers, your market and how you engage with them to grow your business.

Creating a marketing plan doesn't have to be complex or time consuming.

Here are five questions to help you develop your own marketing plan:

Remember try not to think about individual activities; where you would advertise or who you might send fliers to.

Instead, think big picture.

So this is more about your vision, your goals and your journey to get there.

The marketing activities will come later; they will be obvious, more targeted and cost effective once you've spent a few minutes on developing a marketing plan.

By each question is an example from a client of Tactix in the web design industry.

Question 1: What are your business objectives?

To continue to drive business growth from finding new customers and by increasing our revenue from our existing customers by offering new online services

Question 2: Who are you customers?

Business owners who operate in industries where their customers look for them online and where driving online sales is important to keep costs down

Question 3: Who are your competitors and why do people choose to do business with you?

We have the experience in creating great websites that not only look great but are simple to use and result in sales

Question 4: What is your point of difference?

Our customer service is amazing so we are easy to work with and our clients always know where their projects are at and can easily get hold of us if there are any problems.

Question 5: How do your customers want to interact with you?

Most wanted phone contact as they required immediate answers but email was the preference for none urgent contact as long as it was answered in a timely fashion.

Time invested in planning your marketing is time well spent and will give you the direction and focus that will invigorate your team and drive your business forward.

"A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there." H. Stanley Judd

Action Exercise:

Take a few minutes this week to answer these five questions from Nicole.

The time spent doing this will make it much clearer about the type of marketing activities you should be engaging in.

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. You can download his 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage' Ebook at no charge from www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com

Graham McGregor

A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

Read more by Graham McGregor

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