Developing an effective marketing plan is essential for all coaches and entrepreneurs. Planning is an essential part of our life and provides a road map that we can use to follow and achieve our goals. Developing a life or business plan and following a blue print can save time and money by reducing confusion and eliminating unproductive actions.
Often, people plan events or follow preset plans without even realizing that they are doing so. For example, we plan for vacations, weddings, and other big events throughout our lives. Also, we plan for little things like going to the grocery store or exercising; however, there are many things that become habits and we follow a preset plan without realizing it.
Marketing planning is important for all entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, and other service professionals. It provides the road map that we need to follow and all the essential tools that we should use to achieve our goals. Careful planning eliminates confusion and often allows us to save time and money. Following a marketing plan enables us to choose the best path, see how much we have progressed, see what is working, and what needs to change in order to reach our goals.
What makes marketing planning challenging and what can we do about it?
1. Lack of understanding about the real benefits of a marketing plan
Many professionals have heard of business or marketing planning. They may even know that it is important to have plan; however, they don’t understand the real value of having a solid plan. Some believe that planning is only for big businesses and it is only necessary if they need to borrow money. They look at marketing planning as a waste of time and they believe that they know what they are doing.
However, lack of a marketing plan could really hurt your business. Taking actions without knowing your goals and how you will reach them may not be fruitful. It is similar to driving at 100 mph when you don’t know where you are going. Soon, you will get tired and run out of gas without reaching your destination. A clear road map will enable you to move toward your goals and help you identify actions that will get you there.
2. Thinking that developing a marketing plan is difficult
Many entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, think that creating a marketing plan is time consuming and difficult. Even though planning can take time, it should not be a huge task. I suggest that you start with a simple plan. Most small business owners and solo professionals don’t need a complex plan. A simple plan will do the job and provide what it is needed for your business.
3. Not knowing how to develop a marketing plan
This is the biggest challenge for most solo professionals. They don’t know how to create an effective marketing plan; therefore, they spend too much time and make it really complicated. Most business plans are complicated and designed for bigger businesses, and the ones that are designed for small business owners are still complicated. I believe entrepreneurs need to focus on creating a marketing plan instead of a full business plan, unless they are looking for investors.
An effective marketing plan is not complicated and focuses on attracting clients while creating a marketing system that generates income. Most small businesses need to be nimble and the key to their success is the ability to change rapidly and move in ways that others may not be able to move. Therefore, simplicity is the key and good planning is about creating a clear road map that addresses all the key foundational questions and creates a simple road map that is focused and easy to follow.
Do you have a marketing plan?