Marketing Plan Writing

Plan for Success

January is such an exciting time for businesses.   Owners normally find themselves rejuvenated after the holidays and ready for an even BETTER new year.   The desk gets cleared, the blank pages come out, the pen is poised and the first question that comes to mind is, “where do I start?”

Here is the thing with planning and goal setting.   It’s fun, especially when done at the 50,000 foot level that entrepreneurs love.     However, somehow these great ideas need to be realistically achieved or you are simply setting yourself up for failure.

Here are some guidelines to Plan for Success:

Start with the end in mind.

Where do you want to be a year from now? Obviously one of the main goals you should determine is your gross revenue for the company and the net pay that goes into your pocket.   But some other goals you may want to achieve relate to company growth (e.g. # of employees, new regions, products & services, etc).   There is also nothing wrong in throwing in personal goals.   Life is about balance.   Good health, a positive outlook and peace of mind always make for a more productive business owner.

Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

Stay away from obscure goals.   SMART goals are:

a) Specific – Avoid generalizing in your goals.   Make them as specific as possible by incorporating as many of the following as you can into each goal.

  • Who is involved in the goal?
  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • When will the goal be completed by?
  • Where will this goal take place?
  • How will this goal be reached?

b) Measurable – Ask yourself, “How will I know I achieved my goal?”   You will need to include measurement in your goal so you know you have succeeded in reaching them.   (e.g.   Increase of 2 employees, overall business growth of 6%, etc).

c) Agreed Upon – Goals should be agreed upon by all those that will be involved in making them happen.   Even if you are solopreneur, if you delegate to others, ensure that they understand the importance of the goal.   You also must agree to yourself that this goal is important.   It is a good idea when making goals that you set priorities for each goal and that you put some serious thought into whether or not they are TRULY important to you.   Because when the going gets rough, its easy to abandon your goals.

d)  Realistic – One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to set yourself up to fail.   The goals you set should be achievable within the time period you specified.   It is an art to determine goals that stretch you just enough without becoming unrealistic.   The more facts you are basing your goals on the better you can predict real results.

e) Have a Target Date – Always, always include a target date to achieve your goals.   Then note those dates in your calendar.   Important to note here is HOW much time you allocate to each goal.   Too much time affects your overall performance and not enough time sets you up for failure or poor quality.

Work Backwards

Once you have set your long term goals, you will need to break those goals down into monthly, then weekly then daily mini-goals.   I’m a big fan of Excel sheets and calendars to show you what you need to do at specified intervals to achieve the end result.   This is time management at its best and will help you to be as productive as you possibly can.

You should identify others that you need to delegate to in order to achieve your goals and when they need to complete their tasks by.   Working backwards helps you avoid being at the same place a year from now, wondering why you didn’t succeed.

Review, Revise, Re implement

Schedule regular intervals throughout the year to review your goals and whether or not you are on track to achieving them.   If you are ahead or behind schedule, determine what has caused the change, revise your plans accordingly and reimplement for the remainder of the year.

This is a vital step to staying on track.   Just like a captain steering his ship, a business owner needs to check direction and adjust for unforeseen circumstances to get to their final destination.

Goal setting and company planning should be done every year you are in business.   Not only does this keep you on track, but it keeps you motivated.   As a mother and an entrepreneur, who doesn’t need a little dose of motivation at times to keep you moving forward with your dream!

Cidnee Stephen

about the author

Cidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success- a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget-minded small businesses and professional services. She has helped hundreds of small businesses get out of their peak and valley ruts to finally achieve that next vital level of success. Cidnee is also a sought-after speaker, writer and blogger on marketing topics that affect small businesses and B2B service based operations. Subscribe for Free to her bi-weekly marketing tips for small businesses and also receive a special report on the 7 Steps of Marketing Success. Follow on Google +

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