Just a few sheets of paper and rigorous implementation. That’s all. 🙂 Sound easy? It is supposed to be easy, but many fails in both planning (or writing) the few sheets of paper and rigorous implementation. I may not be able to help you with the rigorous implementation because it requires resources such as many and people to hire to “rigour” it, but i can surely assist you in fighting the other half; the solid few sheets of paper. Which i refer as “marketing plan” for small business owners and entrepreneurs. i am fully confident that small business is going to thrive in the next century and going to become “d” business not far from now. So you still want to know about the “few solid sheets of paper”? You should be because it’s going to save your business, not to mention other than that.
Few months ago i gathered substantial amount of information (both in theory and practical application) from various sources. Sources are from books like philip kotler, malcolm mcdonald, sergio zyman, levitt, jack welch, fenwick (digital marketer) and many more. other sources like harvard business review, MIT Sloan Management Review magazine, mckinsey, boston consulting group, gartner reports, tns and so on. I also chat with few local and international marketing practitioners, and lastly my own experience as marketing and strategy consultant. What i gathered? You only need to have a few solid sheets of paper to plan and make your marketing work.
1. Your customer
This is key in any marketing plan and business. You don’t equate your customer with other business customers. For example if you are selling Japanese car, you can’t equate the need of your customer with the one that going for European car. They are just different. Always look at your customer and write down every single thing about them. Ask the 5W 1H questions to yourself, people around you and the customers.
2. About You
As business owner, i know sometimes we get too deep into our own idea and we were blinded by the beauty and joy it brings but guys, when something going too sweet, you got to be careful. It is like when you first dating a girl and you like her so much; that whatever your friend tell you was ignored. That is the same feeling when we are too engrossed with our own ideas. We need to open up and look for other angle and ready to accept criticism of that idea. I have been there and i have lost quite a bit just because i fondle the “business” and drown together! 😛
3. What is your business
You need to ask this question from the practical side in terms of its capability and capacity. Capability is skills set and capacity is ‘engine size” – how much can you do. For example as a new restaurant you have the capability to cook nice food but you don’t have the capacity to do food delivery yet. You follow? And when you ask this question, do not ask and answer intellectually because you end up confuse yourself. Plan for 6 months first before looking at how the business should be in 6 years.
In distribution principle, the bigger your network and distribution channel the better your business is. this is fact and true. Check how else can you distribute. If non-perishable and dry product, you will find it easier but can you afford to buy bulk and warehouse it? If food or perishable item, you will find a bit challenging. if you are in service, can you duplicate your service using network or join venture with other similar service provider but in a different market? Think of this.
If you don’t announce it, people don’t know. Put aside some budget to spend on marketing campaigns, and please try using online marketing as one of your strategy. Global business is not so global anymore, transportation is getting cheaper and if you are in knowledge business, you can do it online now. If physical product, make sure you tap sources like social media (Facebook, MySpace and Ning), blogs, websites, online banners and search engines. big billboards, tv ads and print ads are traditional media and exorbitantly expensive. The ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) also very low. I recently with a client and compare to Phase 1 and Phase 2 marketing spending, they shaved almost 50% spending in Phase 2 and getting better results!
If your business is labour intensive like restaurant, service counters or manufacturing then you need to look for competent people that can run machine, understand operation and willing to work with haphazard processes (unless you run a franchise business). Simply because as a new business and small, or new product, we dont know how the product or business perform in the market. It can be a bomb or doom. But what i learn is we need to give some time to let it grow.
For a new business, fliers is a must. don’t start the business without it because you are risking a lot of eyeballs especially if you have a physical shop. You want to attract people to come to your fish shop, trading shop, saloon, data centre and so on. While eyeballs don’t give direct business, eyeballs can develop trust, reach and build confidence. my experience in restaurant and service business, the moment i put in fliers, i can safely sure i will get the next 2 months business. Yes, it is that powerful but there will be a lot of wastage too. Especially if your business is on green product, you gotta think again! 🙂
Price determines your profit. I just got to know my client today (a new Head of a Food Division) just told me that the previous Head screwed up on the pricing for their newly operated food court. Now after 3 months operation, they are heavily debted and this is because the food court was well received and jammed-packed daily and it runs 24 hours. the problem is, with every customer they sell they are losing money. You follow me? So, the more they sell while they have the volume but because the pricing is at below cost price (for some internal reasons and overly subsidied), the food court makes losses in 3 months! be careful about pricing my friend. Have a pricing plan and pricing points. it is ok to give discount and promotions, but you need to plan it.
Starting a new business or new product always come with risk factors. I am not going to brag about risk management just like some investment banker, typical consultant (that never run real business) and academician (intellects that never be in the real market!) because they don’t really know what we are facing down (or is it up!) there. Risk comes and goes on daily basis but we need to identify what type of risk. is it bearable? are they harmful? how long you expect to last i.e. crisis? how do you plan to recover? what is the cut-off point? what is the business impact? who is involved and get affected? how you want to compensate or recover? what is your nett risk/loses? These questions, are brushed aside or “simplistically” not important by those 3 categories of people. When in risky situation i have only one advice: search for information and data aggresively. dig dig dig!
What you really need is a few great strategies. in fact i currently practice, at maximum is three solid strategies. enough to make a difference, even a small step but it is still superior than not moving at all right? it is better to own and run a slum laundry but with solid strategy rather than an exclusive laundry without strategy. you lose money greatly without strategy. but from my observation, good strategy need some time to get effect, so give it time to flourish. nonetheless, it shouldnt take too long because if it is too long and persist, consult your doctor!! 😛
I am sharing more of these findings, views, knowledge, experiences or “whatchaever” you call it in my Marketing Plan E-book which is in the 2nd final process of editing and polishing. it should be released in a couple week time. READY!! You can BUY it NOW ONLY USD 19.90 with LAUNCHING DISCOUNT!
I highly recommend you to purchase it, and i guarantee you it is going to be very cheap and worth money spend. it is so low that you will not believe it. i shall put the content to be viewed on SlideShare/Entreprenovator so you can know what are you buying. Like i said, in marketing you just need a few solid sheets of paper and you are ready to go guys. Forget about marketing software and all those bombastic name gadgets/technology for marketing, as small business owners and entrepreneurs we have our guts, instinct and balls to keep the business afloat and running. So, let’s just do that first and make your money and more profits.
Cheers! Should you require any further information please email to [email protected]