TOPIC: Biz / Marketing Plan
Biz / Marketing Plan
Your business plan is your chart to success, and as such should not be taken lightly, or done and forgotten. Collaborate with professionals who know how to set you up with a winning solution.

Why Your Company's Business/Marketing Plan Is So Important

Posted by Alec Hess

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If you’re thinking of starting a business; congratulations. There’s never been a better time to go entrepreneurial. You’ve got the idea, now you need the plan.

Today, your business/marketing plan needn’t be a 100+ page document with every conceivable detail worked out, but it better be a road map to sustainable success in a given market. You should establish a sound understanding of the competitive environment, where it fits in that environment and who is guiding it to success and why it will succeed.

One Key to Raising Capital: Companies with the core elements of a business plan were reported as having the strongest financial performance, compared to those companies functioning without one, in a 2011 study by Ohio State University and GE Capital.

For a business to grow and receive venture capital, an investor is generally going to require they see the company’s business plan and determine if the status and direction is something they are willing to invest in. A marketing plan is generally part of the business plan.

Business Plans Are Not Limited To A Single Use: Business plans are statements of intent, goals, strategies and the methods for getting there. Yours should describe the background and workings of the proposed organization, its goals for the future, and how they will be achieved using the organization’s core competencies. Besides your company’s external usage as sales tools for investors, internally, members within your company can view the organization’s critical success path and see how they’re contributing individually to the overall success of the company, often times increasing their drive to produce quality work. If future experience dictates, your business plan can also be invaluable to adjusting original intentions and changing or tweaking direction: pivoting.

The 9 Essential Parts of an Effective Business Plan:

  1. Executive Summary: This is where you state, concisely, your overall intent and goals.
  2. Company Description/Product or Service: Now add more details of your new entity.
  3. Management Team: Map out who you are and who you need to be successful. Only mention strengths and accomplishments.
  4. Market Analysis/Competitive Landscape: Describe how big is your market, and why you can succeed against your competitors.
  5. Marketing Plan: Lay out what you’ll need to do to spread the word, attract customers and make sales, including cost estimates per month/year.
  6. Operations plan: Detail your basic day-to-day operations.
  7. Financial plan: How you plan to pay to play.
  8. Risks: What they are and most importantly, how you can beat them.
  9. Exit strategy: Describe a few ways you would like to sell your new company, if you’re planning to sell.
 
When Your Business Changes, So Should Its Plan: Because your organization will most likely be adapting to new technology, as well as changing demand in the economy, your business plan should be updated at least once a year. If you make major changes, your plan should be updated when these significant alterations take place.
 
A Necessity for Every Business to Succeed? The simple answer is: usually. Every type and size of business, especially small and medium sized businesses, can benefit from a business plan. It’s like charting a course in somewhat unknown waters; you make the best informed guesses you can and then check back from time to time and make corrections, additions and alterations to maximize the success and viability of your original intentions.
 
Finding Flaws is a Good Thing: Your business plan can also build trust by conveying a company’s message to suppliers, customers, and venture capitalists, increasing the overall capacity, reach and capital flowing into your business. It can also expose weaknesses that can then be addressed, making your business that much stronger and prepared for growth.
 
Your business plan should be a work of art, mixing fact and hopes; charting a course of action and putting all your ideas in one easy to use document. It’s not something to be taken lightly and with so much experience out there, be sure you have a good partner to help you with it, or at least solid trustworthy advice.
 
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Alec Hess is a marketer and small business expert as well as Principal of Full Voice Media and Vanguard Healthcare Products; and co-founder of BizSaves; with a passion for online marketing and small business success.
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Some Other Great Articles On Biz/Marketing Plans

Inc.com: How to Write a Great Business Plan Entrepreneur: The Ingredients of a Marketing Plan

   
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