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Every Successful Small Business Should Have a Marketing Plan

Every business big or small should have a marketing plan. The plan doesn't have to be large, sometimes 1 page will do the job but the act of planning itself is essential to success.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower said "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." What I believe he meant by that is that circumstances change, battle lines change, and the enemy makes new plans but the mere act of planning always gave him advantages.
Planning for your business gives you clarity, helps you to think about your business long term. Planning for your marketing is just as crucial. You may spend a week planning and then put the plans on the shelf until next year but in the act of planning is found the key to your business success.
Today the options for getting the word out about your business are endless; electronic media, billboards, newspaper, social media, mobile marketing, email marketing, direct mail, and I have not yet scratched the surface.
If you are like most small business and I am speaking now about what I would call brick and mortar business. You have several sales people call on you each week. Some may even be your friends. It is easy to fall into the trap of buying special deals that only serve the individual you are buying from and not your business.
But if you have a plan and a budget you will not be swayed. Your marketing will have direction and if you have done your research and stick to your plan making changes when necessary your business will grow.
Take the time to sit down and think about your business and if need be get help and advice from others. Marketing is more than advertising it is everything you do to affect the opinion and purchasing decision of customers. From what a customer sees when they enter your business to decisions about display to proper training of employees.
A great marketing plan delves into every aspect of your business and every part of your business that affects the customer and their decision to buy or leave. The marketing plan must include a budget.
The budget can include but not be limited to advertising costs, uniform costs if applicable. Training of employees should be included and ongoing. Make sure as you roll out the marketing plan you include your employees in the plan. Your employees are on the front line each day and may know your customers and their needs and wants better than you.
Take the time now to write your marketing plan and it will pay dividends long term. Don't worry if you struggle at first and your first efforts are imperfect. As you continue to work on marketing in your business you will get very good at planning and you will have a huge advantage over those businesses that do no planning at all.

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