2 Time to Start Your Business Plan

Chapter 2
Marketing Plan

Why do you need a Business Plan?

The example might be you taking a trip to the grocery store. You know you’re going to go for milk, eggs, and butter—you have a plan that’s to get the milk, eggs, and butter. You always make a list when you go to the store. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3 items or 10 items—always make a list (a plan)! That way, you know you’re going to get home with everything that you were supposed to get.

Business is no different. In fact, it is far more important to devise a plan for your business than it is to make a grocery list. It needs to be a written plan; it is not sufficient to have a plan in your mind. If you don’t have a written plan it is highly probable that you won’t hold yourself accountable to any plan. But if you write it down, then the plan will actually motivate you and keep you on track.

So how do you start?

Here is where you look at what am I going to sell or what service am I going to offer.
This is where you start.
Once this decision is made your path should be the following.

Know your market: is the mantra here.
Any good business man will tell you that the first thing you do is find out,

Who is my:
1:            target audience and why?
2:            how am I going to market to them? The sales process. How much profit can I make and how much do I need to make?
3:            where should the business be? Location, a Mall, a Strip Mall, main street, or where are my customers going to want to find me?
4:            what is my proposition – what are the key elements of your product or service – how are you going to deliver your product.
5:            implementation of your plan.
6:            review.
7:            revised and back to number one.

At first glance it may seem simple, it is meant to be a short list of what your business plan should be. There is really a lot more that goes into a business plan but this will get you started. We really suggest that you get a book about the business plan and follow whichever one that you prefer. A business plan is a whole book in it’s self.

On the simple side, let’s see who our target audience is.

You can start off by saying or asking where are your customers currently looking and shopping?
How do you figure this out?

By using a keyword search tool, whether you want to market your product online or off-line, the Internet provides some great resources to help you find and understand your customers and how they are searching for looking for your product or service. Begin with a single word or short phrase (2 or 3 words) to describe your product or service, and then expand into the long tail phrase (4 to 8 key words) that might be used to describe your product or service when searching for your product or service.
(Sorry for the double speak) Start by visiting the free Google keyword tool at:
Other keyword tools:
Micro Niche Finder at http://1thin.com/MNF
A great tool that I personally use.

Which one of the keyword search tools you prefer is up to you, there is a lot more that I have not mentioned here.

The newly released (beginning 2011) Google Wonderwheel (free) is one of the best planning tools you can use.
For finding the general scope of the market, and finding related markets. You probably don’t realize how your products can tie together until you see something that shows you in print and the Wonderwheel does just that, graphically.

Simply search Google (from a Google search page for best results) for a keyword or phrase and then look alongside the left-hand navigation pane for Wonderwheel (Free). Click it and study the results.

It might even be in your best interests to try multiple keyword search tools to see what different results you might get;
Check at http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster for tools on Bing dot com and Yahoo has a number of sites for tools so here goes the list for them;
http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/indexing/webmaster-01.html (if you type this one in the dash(-01.html) is included as it is shown)
http://www.search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html to submit your site to Yahoo.
This could help broaden your scope of your total market by helping you see markets that you didn’t see before.
Now if this list doesn’t confuse you about all of the search engine tools that are available then check out this sites;

To get the most value from your keyword tool, you are going to pick what key words best describe your product or service.

This will then give you results of actual searches that people have made over the last 30 days (with most key word tools) using your keywords or phrase.

This is the same basic method that you would use creating your USP/elevator pitch, more on that later.
What is different here is that you are trying to locate where your customers are and how they are searching for your product or service.

Now that we know our customers, how are we going to reach them?

We go more into this in the chapter about Marketing. While you are working on your business plan take a look at the Chapter on Marketing to see what you think and feel would be the best marketing plan. Then come back here after you know how you intend to start marketing to your customers.

Where we locate our business?
For some this can be your hardest decision, because you are trying to save money to open your business.
The easiest I think is to start your business in your home and spin off into a location after you get input from your current customers and have the cash flow to warrant the move. That doesn’t always work, as some businesses must have a bricks and mortar location.

A point that needs to be noted here, is that in Real Estate the mantra is three words  “LOCATION – LOCATION – LOCATION”, this is one that I have been reminded of through my whole life as my mother was a Real Estate Broker in Silicon Valley and Property Manager as well and even there the mantra is the same.

Now that I said all of that, You need to decide how much you need to worry about the location of your business. I know that not all businesses have the optimum location and to some it really doesn’t matter.

Example might be a supply house for the retail businesses around town or local delivery service. These could be in some business park or warehouse somewhere in your town. Now a barber or beauty shop should be in a well trafficked area. This is the general thought on this type of business.

How are you going to deliver your product to your customers?

This is all about your product and how your customer takes possession of your product or service.  Cash and carry to me is the best deal that you can offer you customer. They pay for the product or service and take delivery of either now.

When going into a customer’s home to deliver a product that they have purchased from you, the sale is not complete until the customer signs off on the delivery / install.

Keep in mind that if you deliver your product then you need to make your delivery / setup the best that you possibly can. This can mean that you include the delivery and installation is included in the purchase price.



2 Responses to “2 Time to Start Your Business Plan”

  1. Awesome blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go
    for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any tips? Thanks!

    • Thom says:

      Well Amazon Coupons, If that site is yours, you look as if you don’t need any help from me, you are doing just fine. Now my tips to you would be, about writing is to just do it and let the spell checkers of today be your guide. On the other hand you could take a writing class in the local college, this would help. Or find a book that you like on, how to write, but make sure that you like how the book is written and can follow the author easy.
      Now the free platform WP is in my estimation one of the best ways to go but pay for your own hosting, it can be inexpensive to start and is generally expandable, just pick a good hosting company. I prefer Hostgator or Blue Host right now. 2 reasons for that, 1 is that you pay for hosting you can post ads but if you go with a free option you can’t post ads. 2 is WP platform is free from the 2 sources that I mentioned and easy to install. I offer videos on how to install WP but so do a thousand others, Google, How to install Wp.
      I am a co-organizer for a WP Meetup group where you can ask questions of us and the Meetup group or you can just post your questions here. http://www.meetup.com/tri-valley-ultimate-guide-to-wordpress/

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