When you run your own business you have to look at things slightly differently and nothing illustrates this more than when you are trying to put together a marketing strategy for your business. You need marketing for both short and long term growth. You must put yourself in the shoes of your customer while still thinking like a business owner. Many business owners out there still struggle to put together even a basic strategy and that alone is why so many businesses fail in the first five years.
Start with your mission
Your marketing strategy starts with your mission statement, and every business needs to have one. What is it that you want to accomplish, what does your business stand for? The life of your business is volatile enough with the day to day struggles that you have but your mission statement provides the foundation on which you build your business. It can also help put you back on the right track when you are trying to find direction. Don’t have your mission statement, here is some help in putting one together.
Developing a Strategy
You also need to understand that a marketing strategy is more than just finding the right customer. It is a great deal of work to not only find the right customer but to also identify holes in the market and how you can use that information. You need to do research and understand marketing demographics, how can you present your products and service to these customers and have that resonate. You also need to have all of this line up with your financial goals.
The Difference between a Strategy and a Plan
There is a pretty big difference between having a strategy and having a plan in place. The terminology is often used interchangeably and that creates confusion. Your strategy is the ‘bigger picture’ or your overall approach to meeting your business goals in the long term, the plan is how you are going to achieve these goals along the way. The plan has far more flexibility and you will be testing and adjusting along the way. It is in your interest to understand the difference, you won’t be able to accomplish anything without know WHAT you want to accomplish.
Your marketing strategy needs to be built on sound research, you need to put clear goals in place and they need to be realistic. It is these goals and strategies that will get you through the lean times and help you manage the busy times without pulling your hair out. Being an entrepreneur is far from easy, but the right plan can make it a lot less difficult.