We recently surveyed a small group of small business owners asking them just two questions:

  1. What is your top business concern today?
  2. When it comes to marketing your business, what do you struggle with most?

To be sure, this survey wasn’t scientific. Both questions were multiple choice. It was offered to you, our readers and email subscribers. Our email data base is a small exclusive group of business owners who are current, former and prospective customers. Being a successful marketer, it pays to know your customers. Your views and opinions are important to the success and growth of our business–to our profit and loss. That’s why we asked!

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Unsurprisingly, 60% of the respondents agreed that profit and growth is their top concern. As a small business owner myself, I am not surprised. There are a variety of reasons why we choose to run our own companies. Making a profit is always going to be at the top of the list followed by freedom to do what we love!

The response to the second question caught me off guard. When it comes to marketing, the majority (40%) say that they struggle most with creating a marketing plan. Hmm… a marketing plan or a plan of some sort is basic, isn’t it? A marketing plan is where everything about promoting your business starts.

Creating a marketing plan isn’t easy. It takes time, thought and consideration to define goals, identify the perfect customer, understand the marketplace and the competitive conditions in which you operate. Your pricing model helps define your unique position in the marketplace. With the knowledge gained from this in-depth analysis, a written plan with goals and strategic direction creates a foundation for decisions made about marketing and advertising throughout the year ahead.

A marketing plan is a living document. You created one when you wrote your business plan and launched your business. Off and running, you got customers and you were in business. Making decisions based on your plans is not only smart thinking, it’s cost-effective. Instead of shooting from the hip and responding to every “shiny object” that is presented to you, decisions are made that meet the objectives of your plan.

But wait….there’s more!

A core strategy isn’t enough. Because 83% of every dollar spent today begins with an online search, you must have an online marketing plan. This includes a separate (but integrated) strategy for content, social media, and email marketing. You also need a lead generation plan and a conversion plan.

No wonder so many people fret about having a marketing plan! There are more ways to market your business because of the opportunities presented online.

If this sounds confusing and overwhelming, here’s an excellent overview of a comprehensive marketing plan from Duct Tape Marketing. You can download it HERE.

This where a marketing agency like Next Stage Marketing comes in. We have created plans for ourselves and for clients just like you. We don’t just employ cookie-cutter tactics. Your business isn’t like any other business—and your online marketing strategy isn’t either.

Isn’t it time you had a plan? As wisdom dictates, if you don’t have a plan on how to get to where you want to be, how will you know when you arrive?

The New Year is just around the corner. If profit and growth are truly important to you, make 2017 the year you get serious about creating a marketing strategy that helps you grow your business. Let’s talk about how Next Stage Marketing can be your marketing partner for growth and success.