Business Savvy, Business Start-up

2014 What’s Your Plan?

The new year is here. Have you actually sat down and made a plan for what you want to gain from your business this year? If not, then it’s time to do it or you never will. This is one of the things I find most often that business owners never get around to doing. You get so wrapped up in your business that you actually forget to set goals and make a plan for growth. How can you achieve anything if you don’t know what you hope to achieve? 2014

Do you want to add a new product line to your business this year? What is it? When do you want to implement it? How are you going to market it? What is your overall revenue projection? Maybe you want to increase revenue by 30%. How will you do it? What approach will you take? Will you increase your marketing? If so, how much and with what method? Will you add new personnel? What will that new personnel have to do to achieve your goals? Will you incorporate incentive programs? These are all questions many business owners are asking themselves but you fail to develop a plan to achieve it. Let’s change that and get you on the path to success for 2014!

bpI can’t stress enough how important it is to have a plan every year for your business. Alot changes from one year to another, sometimes even within in a few months. If you don’t have a business plan, step one is for you to make one right now. Make that your new years resolution. I’ve written alot of business plans over the years for a variety of companies, from start-ups to existing businesses and every time, the owners are amazed at what they read. They either look at the plan and think wow we’ve come a long way, or they think how did I get to where I am, or wonder why they are not doing better. The plan provides you with a snapshot of your business and is highly thought provoking. Some of the best ideas for business growth have come out of what is seen in the business plan. You can see first hand the success or failures of your business.

I am amazed everytime I see a business operating without a plan. Whether you are just planning to start a business or whether you’ve been in business for 12 years and still going strong, you should have a strong business plan. You’re in business to make money and to capture as much of your market segment as you can. The plan will help ensure that you’re doing just that and will help guide you to the next level and help keep you one step ahead of the competition.

A business plan is full of information. When it’s written well you should be able to really see your ups and downs, as well as your success and failures. You need to be honest and forthcoming when you write your plan, sometimes it’s not always fun, but sometimes it’s a terrific eye opener. goals

If you need assistance in writing a business plan or setting goals for your business for 2014, Executive Business Services can assist you in doing so. Feel free to contact me anytime.

Wishing you a prosperous new year!

Miss Executive, Tina Holtz

Marketing

Advertising vs. Marketing

Typical advertising mail
Typical advertising mail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is there a difference between advertising and marketing? I believe that there is.

Here’s why. When you advertise you’re branding your business and putting it out there to create a buzz about who you are and what you do. When you market your business, you’re actually promoting your business and nurturing prospective leads and clients, the brand awareness already exists. You can’t market before you advertise. You have to ensure that you targeting the right audience which requires a lot of thought and research. Too often someone opens a business and just expects that business will just automatically roll through the doors. It takes investment of both time and money to make a business a real success.

Throughout my years of experience in the business world, I have seen several businesses fail at  implementing a solid advertising and marketing campaign. Unfortunately business growth can be slowed or diminished when such a campaign is not integrated with a business plan.

The most important aspect of any campaign is knowing who your target market is and where they spend their time learning about your business. For instance, if you’re a local auto dealer, you need to determine who your prospects are and where you should spend dollars in order for them to effectively find you. Local newspapers and direct mail tend to be some of the best solutions for a business of this nature. If you’re an international business however, a local newspaper is not going to work for you. Your advertising might be better through online alternatives and trade shows, as well as international magazine publications. Again, knowing your audience is the most important objective.

Advertising is a needed investment among businesses. Many owners and managers see it as an un-nesccessary expense. This could not be farther from the truth. Advertising in my opinion, should be seen as a business investment. Your goal should be to invest a certain dollar amount to achieve a certain return on that investment. You shouldn’t just spend money on advertising just because. You need to ensure that it works and provides the return you seek. Another important aspect of advertising is to ensure that you track and measure the outcomes of each campaign. This will provide feedback for what works and what doesn’t. Be sure to change your campaigns to fit the needs of your business.

So then what is marketing and where does it fit in the grand scheme of things? Marketing is essentially used after you have implemented a successful advertising campaign and your audience understands your solutions, who you are, and what you do. Marketing is basically keeping your business alive among your audience. You engage on a regular basis, whether it be in local charity events, business events, your local chamber of commerce, trade publications, trade shows, websites, blogs, social media etc. You are maintaining your existence in the business arena.

I have seen some business owners who spend $600 one month, wait for a miracle of new business to come through their door and when it doesn’t, they say advertising didn’t work. Unfortunately their right. You can’t advertise once and expect a result. Statistically it is stated that it takes an average of 5-7 times for a prospect to see your ad or information before they engage to make a purchase or contact. Which means you need to be prepared for the long haul. Be sure to really make an investment in your advertising and marketing campaigns. Success will come when a plan is implemented properly.

Be sure to always include an advertising and marketing campaign within your business plan. If you don’t have one, begin making plans to implement one immediately.

Best of Luck!

Miss Executive, Tina Holtz