Often small businesses choose tools and technology without knowing their overall strategy, people, and processes, which is problematic and costly. To grab an axe and run into a burning building without accessing the weak points, who needs saving, and where the exits are is not heroic: it simply creates more work for the folks who must clean up the rubble. And no one wants to end up in rubble.
According to Outbound Engine, 50% of small business owners do not have a marketing plan. A marketing plan is the internal compass that guides the promotion and growth of a business. Without a marketing plan, businesses face budget problems, loss of customer volume, lack of customer acquisition, and possible closure. Without a plan of action, all your efforts can seem haphazard and are ultimately, a gamble. No need to be Dr. Strange to see that most outcomes without a strategy in place will end up a failure. Without a plan, you’d be like the Joker, just a dog chasing cars, unsure of what to do if he ever caught one.
A complete business diagnostic includes reviewing your:
Current business, marketing, and financial plans
Financial position and goals
Current and future goals and objectives
Perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
Think about when you paint a room. To do the job well, there is far more entailed than simply rolling paint on the walls. There is much prep work involved: selecting the correct color requires painting samples of color on various walls to see how it looks in your particular context and light, taping all the edges, throwing down tarps, making sure you have the proper brushes, and having wet wipes on the ready for the inevitable slip ups. You will always be tempted to skip a step. Maybe you think, “Nope. I am not going to try out paint samples. I saw this color on Pinterest and Grape Mist is the perfect greige for my bedroom.” Well, I hope you like purple, Karen, because you just painted your bedroom violet. So now you must decide if you just live with results that don’t make you truly happy or begin again. And unless you are the Flash, doing something twice takes extra time and money. Don’t paint your business into a corner of just living with a status quo that does not meet your clients’ needs or develop growth.
You may be thinking that you did all this years ago when you first began your business. However, as markets evolve, our plans must evolve as well. Sometimes we must take a second pass to make sure our plans set us flying in the right direction. Or, in the words of Agent Carter, “All we can do is our best, and sometimes the best we can do is start over.”
A thorough analysis of your business will result in the ability to create an action plan. This action plan will outline the steps you need to take to improve the overall health of your business and may include marketing, communications, and sales. A business review also includes an in-depth review of a business’s resources because few supers operate entirely alone—Batman has Robin and Alfred, Spiderman has Ned in a chair behind a computer, and Iron Man has Pepper Potts.
A personalized Diagnostic and Action Plan will sort out your business’s priorities, strengths, and adversaries. If growth (revenue generation, for example) is deemed as a priority, your strategy should reflect this. In order to determine what tactics are necessary to reach your business goals, you should seek to know the following:
Market research and description
Definitions of target markets
Insight to market opportunities
Insight into company
With the knowledge of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, target markets, and greatest allies, your next super move will be to craft a battle plan with your new insights.
After all the necessary research is complete, you will begin to craft your marketing Growth Plan. A Growth plan will outline for you the tactics your business needs to take knowing that Batman was right, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” Thestrategy mentioned in previous blog postsgives you a good lay of the land. Your strategy will give you the big picture. Whereas a growth plan is more tactical.
Perhaps it’s world domination you are after, but your Growth Plan will have all the research from the strategy step, as well as your:
For example, a good Growth Strategy outlines the overall mission or growth goal of the business, which includes S.M.A.R.T. goals, and the Growth Plan outlines how a business will increase revenue through actionable tasks with key performance indicators. (Planning is one of our superpowers. Our plans have plans.) The strategy is the “who”, “what” and “where”, and the plan is the “when” and “how”. The purpose of MPWRSource’s strategy is to drive growth, which includes increasing revenue and ROI for clients through a variety of means. Therefore, the Growth Planoften includes, boosting brand awareness and sales qualified leads through digital, inbound and content marketing strategies and plans. The tactics used to implement these strategies and plans include blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, graphic designs, social media campaigns, videos and podcasts, and content scripting all to help promote the brand and generate sales qualified leads. Finally, the Growth Plan outlines the sales process and sales game plans.
Having this information ensures that you are not only an expert in the what you do, but also become an expert in your market, i.e., the whom you are doing all the things for. After all, it is Captain America’s love for his country and its people that compels his heroism.
We recognize that these plans are a vital aspect to a small business’ ability to succeed; designed to be actionable growth strategies that empower your companies’ greatest asset: its people.