“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” (Unknown)
1. Set your goals
Establishing clear, specific, measurable, achievable, and time-oriented goals requires time and thoughtfulness. Be ambitious but realistic. We do not want you to get depressed at the end of your term simply because your goals were exaggerated. Also, to avoid disappointment, set the dates to review your progress and make corrections. Have you forgotten: “Man supposes – God disposes”?
2. Make your goals specific and measurable
“I want to make my business profitable” is not a goal. A vague goal is as bad as not having it at all. Set specific objectives by considering the following: What precisely do you want? Why do you want it and when? For example, “Loose 7kg of weight in 6 months from now by the date of my boyfriend arrival”.
3. Do not forget about action plan
Okay, your goals are set. They are to the point, measurable and precise. But how will you get there from where you are now? What are you going to undertake? Continuing our example, it would be: “going to a gym 4 days a week and not eating after 7pm”. Think about the schedule to check the progress.
4. Make your product or service standing out of the crowd
What makes your product or service unique: operational excellence, product leadership, the lowest prices or customer intimacy? What sets it apart from your competitors? What value do you provide? Describe in detail your product or service, highlighting its special features. Think hard about your competitive positioning and branding strategy. Know your customers’ wants and needs, likes and dislikes to create right images and words that will sell your product or services to more people more efficiently.
5. Do your homework – do market research
To create a good marketing plan you have to do lots (and we really mean it) of research to gather enough information to determine if there is a demand for your product or service, what the industry trends are, who your potential customers are, who your main competitors are, what your strengths, weaknesses, competitive advantages and marketing opportunities are.
6. Define your target market
In five words your target market is: WHERE YOUR MONEY COMES FROM. Who, why and how often is going to buy from you?
7. Think about how you are going to reach your target market
How will your prospective customers know about your product or service? It is real MARKETING, developed from the original meaning which referred literally to going to market to sell or buy goods or services. It is a KEY ELEMENT of your entire marketing strategy. Marketing campaigns play dramatic role in your company life and include many different media to choose from. It is crucial to remember that poor marketing can drive a very good company out of business or vice versa, make a company with a less than average product successful.
8. Develop your marketing budget
What are the costs that you allocated for your marketing campaigns? Remember, MARKETING IS NOT A LIABILITY, IT IS AN INVESTMENT that generates cash flow to your bank account and gives opportunities for your business growth. Be careful and realistic with your numbers, don’t forget that expenses are always much bigger than you expect.
9. Do not try to be perfect
Please remember that there is no limit for perfection. You are not going to get an award for “the best business plan ever”, so, spend reasonable time and efforts to develop it. Usually it takes 2-3 months. Ask for professional help to speedup the development.
10. Start it now!
Not tomorrow, not in a week, not next Monday. NOW! No procrastination required.