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How can a marketing plan help your small business?

Do you have a marketing plan?

I love working with small business owners.  They are passionate about their product or service and work hard to provide the best to their customers.  They also remind me of my work with non-profits; driven by their mission, but usually short on time and funds.

cost analysisUsually, both non-profits and small businesses realize the need for professionals to help in some aspects of their business.  They hire accountants and lawyers to make sure their business runs smoothly and legally.

But, most don’t think about hiring marketing consultants.

At a minimum, marketers can help with planning and then touch base during the year when needed.

Here’s how a small business will benefit from partnering with a professional to create a marketing plan:

  • Know your competition:  

    One of the basics of a good marketing plan is a competitive analysis.  Every few years you should get an understanding of your direct and indirect competition.  You don’t always have to be better, you just need to be different.   Know your niche and own it. Do something uniquely different and get noticed.  And, keep in mind, indirect competition takes many forms, something most small business owners might not take into account.

  • mobile phone technologyKeeping up with trends:

    In the past, marketing required a lot of money for advertising. Thanks to the internet, small businesses can compete at the national level without huge advertising budgets.  But, technology changes constantly and so does the way consumers make purchasing decisions.  It is unlikely that a small business owner can be an expert in their field as well as an expert in all aspects of marketing.  A well thought-out plan will coordinate all aspects of marketing in a way that a small business owner can easily implement.

  • Time, time, time:

    It takes time to make a plan.  Time a small business owner might not have, but your consultant will.  It also takes time for that plan to come to fruition.  Plan now, execute tomorrow and reap the benefits the next quarter.  By correctly timing your marketing efforts you can better manage your workload.

    Your marketing consultant will work with your time constraints to hand-pick tactics that will succeed. Also, they will coordinate your marketing efforts with any industry specific events or trends.

If you are a small business owner and don’t have a current marketing plan, figure out how much you can afford for a professional.  Then work with a marketing consultant to split the work to fit your budget.  Maybe you can do some of the research and save some money.  Take advantage of their expertise to create your plan for financial success.