It’s not like we plan to fail. Rather, as the old saying goes, it’s that we fail to plan. Can you have success without planning? Yes. Can you have success without developing a strategy? Yes. Can you have success without execution? I don’t know of a good example how. And it all hinges on you. Don’t you just love Venn Diagrams?
Start With You
The one constant everyone has, assuming that constant is somewhat stable minded, is the “you” in the equation. You know what you want your end result to be–or should have a good idea. You know what resources are available. You know your skills and abilities. Importantly, you know your personality–at least to some degree.
Most of us, we solopreneurs, have limited resources simply by the virtue of having only one set of hands, one brain, and a limited number of man hours per week. If you have a few associates on staff or contracted to work with you that certainly improves what you can accomplish provided you have the right strategy, plan, and execution of that plan.
Make a short list: number of available hours, short term budget, fulfillment resources, ideal target audience. Now develop a plan that uses all phases of your business. This isn’t a marketing plan–it’s an operational plan. Most of us don’t even have an operational plan. What we do have includes things like what time we consider ourselves “open for business” and a generalized version of what products/services we offer. Then we often don’t even stick to those.
Have a meeting. If it’s only you and there truly is not another person for you to bounce things off then have a meeting with yourself. This requires a tremendous amount of discipline because you’re either a “yes man” or a “party pooper”. Writing down your thoughts and leaving them aside for 24 hours is one way to have a meaningful self-evaluation of your own plan. You may want to consider spending a few dollars to hire a Life Coach or Small Business Adviser to help you. They can ask questions you may never think of and help you solve your own pain before you set out to solve the pain of others.
Build Your Own Strategy
It’s time to develop a strategy. The strategy tells you what needs to be accomplished in the greater world; your market. A strategy deals with the long term function of your organization. In this case we’re concerned only with the Marketing Strategy.
By now you should already have a good idea where your ideal customer can be found. Perhaps it’s in social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Instagram. It may be that direct mail or radio works better for you (a higher return on your investment).
Develop Your Own Plan
Make measurable, achievable goals. The plan involves the steps you will take, or assign to others, to achieve your goals. Your plan deals with short term steps needed to implement your strategy.
You should have developed your product/service line and know what you have to offer. You should know who your realistic target audience is. You should have a general idea of how many hours are required to deliver your product or service. Use that in formation and develop a plan of how to let your target audience know what you will do for them. Don’t know how? That’s where research, education, experience or/and a professional comes in. Yes, you may need to spend a little funds to do it properly (read that “without wasting a lot of resources on things that don’t have a chance of working).
Your marketing plan should include steps required to do what needs to be done to implement your strategy. Take it to the level of detail where if you needed to take a vacation you could turn your plan over to someone else and they could make sense of it and carry on in your absence.
Implement The Plan To Satisfy Your Strategy
Go forth and do! Rinse. Repeat.
There is a reason the plan should involve measurable way-points. If you don’t know whether or not your plan is working or has worked there is a very good chance you’ve wasted time and resources. Some say, “that’s the cost of education”! If you’re like me you can’t afford too much education and you need results.