Does Your Small Business Have A Marketing Plan?

While this is a serious question, we understand that for many small businesses, especially ones dependent on finishing the year with a strong fourth quarter, asking about future marketing plans for 2017 may even seem laughable. After all, who has time to even consider how you’re going to market your business in the coming year when there’s so much on your plate right now?

As an entrepreneur, even if you aren’t overwhelmed with business during this final stretch of 2016, you may believe that your particular industry is too volatile for a twelve-month marketing plan to be effective. While there are some industries that do require alternate marketing plans or timelines, for the vast majority of industries and small businesses, a twelve-month plan covers the right period of time. This essentially provides your business with some strategic guidance while also providing the flexibility to respond to a changing and evolving marketplace and industry.

Why Twelve Months?

If you are one that has chosen not to utilize a marketing plan in the past, you may be asking yourself, “Why twelve months? Why not six months, eighteen months, or five years?” If you previously managed or worked for a larger business, you may even be familiar with longer, more in-depth marketing plans that cover a far greater period of time.

Although the “twelve-month rule” isn’t set in stone, marketing experts have determined that it is optimal for the majority of small businesses. A small business can be more volatile and susceptible to unexpected and unforeseen changes than a larger business. Still small businesses benefit from strategic planning in order to ensure that their marketing is on track with their other short- to mid-term goals, especially the ones related to growth and market share.

Keep Your Plan Reasonable And Manageable

As we previously mentioned, effective marketing plans for small businesses must be more modest and more limited in scope than those drafted for larger businesses. In no way does that mean that you’re setting your business up to underperform or to fail. No matter how committed you are to your small business or how grand your ambitions may be, going overboard with your small-business marketing plan can be disastrous. You can possibly overextend your limited resources in an attempt to market your business too broadly by drafting a plan that is too inflexible or far reaching to adequately account for unforeseen changes in your business and the marketplace.

Create Realistic Goals and Aspirations

However, this doesn’t mean that your twelve-month marketing plan has to be simple or basic, either. Your marketing plan should be drafted and designed with realistic goals and aspirations in mind, but balanced with as much knowledge, insight and expertise into your business as you and your team can apply. While the scope and goals of your plan may be limited due to limited resources and the size of your business, the elements that make your small business unique and drive you to become a successful entrepreneur should be fully represented and maximized in your marketing plan. The ultimate goal of fully utilizing that uniqueness should help propel your small business to the next level of success!

In our next post, we will delve into the details of how to create a formidable and realistic twelve-month marketing plan for your business!