Time to Make a New Plan, Stan

By all accounts, we’re pretty much all looking forward to putting this dismal year and an even more dismal decade behind us and moving on. What does that mean for you and your business?

Don’t need to be coy, Roy. Which is good, because coy has never been my style. Direct and to the point, however, work well for me. So here goes.

Here are five simple, yet integral steps for you to get motivated for the coming year and really doing all that you can to get your business growing and thriving. And it doesn’t really matter what business you’re in – the steps are pretty much the same, no matter what.

What do you believe in? I get tired of all the focus on fancy mission statements and all that stuff we so often get hung up on. My gut always tells me to ask clients to keep it simple. What do you believe in? And, once you answer that, what can you deliver? Obviously, if you can’t deliver what you believe in, it won’t work. So answer both of those questions, and then you’re on your way.

Who are your customers? What do you do, sell, provide, etc., that they need? Understanding your customers is a huge step in any marketing plan. And if you’re not sure, bring a focus group of some of your friends or business associates, or a mixture of each, together and ask them for their insight, opinions, etc.

Get on the bus, Gus!

Now, ask yourself this – Where do you find those customers? For example, if you’ve traditionally marketed via print advertising, that’s terrific. But what if your customers, the ones you identified above, aren’t reading newspapers or magazines? You have to go where your customers are, so before you make plans to spend any of your marketing dollars, figure out where those prospective buyers are, and put your money and your efforts there.

It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But I am always amazed how rarely people sit down and ask themselves these simple questions and use them to drive their marketing efforts moving forward.

The next two steps are often the most critical and, unfortunately, something rarely done by small business owners.

How much can I – actually, how much will I is the better statement, allocate for a marketing budget? Marketing isn’t a luxury, folks. Marketing is what makes your business grow, thrive and, ultimately, stay alive. If you make the mistake of thinking that just because you build it they will come, you may as well stop before you even get started and save yourself a ton of money.

So take a good, hard look at your books and make a commitment. Even if it’s just $500 or $1,000 a month, figure out what you can afford to live with and what you’re willing to irrevocably devote to the business of marketing and growing your business. And stick to it!

And, finally, commit to this: Making a new plan, Stan. Every business needs a strategic marketing plan. And once you know what you believe in and what you can deliver, who your customers are, where to reach them and how much you’ve got to do that, you have all the elements needed to make a plan. So, instead of “Ready, Set, REACT” you can instead be “Ready, Aim, Do —-> Succeed.”

Resolve to make 2010 the year that your business thrives!

And if you want to do something fun, join me and 30 other bloggers who are joining forces with @sarahrobinson, the veritable Queen of Escaping Mediocrity, for 30 Days to Change Your Game, beginning January 11, 2010. These blog posts will include inspiration for changing your game, as well as a specific game-changing task you can take action on right away. It’ll be fun, so register now to participate (it’s free!) and start escaping mediocrity right now!

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  • http://twitter.com/mmangen Michelle Mangen

    I'm on it, just registered for @sarahrobinson's event. :-) My plan has been in the works for the last few days and I'm coming along on it quite nicely! I am soooooooooooo excited for 2010!

  • http://twitter.com/IQMZ IQMZ

    Nice read. In 2010 I just want people to do something. I feel like so many people are looking at the pool but are afraid to jump in… I say come on in the waters fine!

  • ShellyKramer

    Good for you, Michelle. Sarah's event will be terrific and it's always nice to dive into a new year with a plan – I'll be there, too :)

  • ShellyKramer

    Thanks Owen. Like you, I'm usually the first to dive in, whether the water is cold or not. Figure that mistakes will happen, but you only live once, so I'm not going to let it pass me by. But I also realize that that's a personality thing and not all people are as nutty as the two of us are. So, like you, I hope they decide that the potential benefits are great enough that they dive in right alongside us.

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  • Jbellflow

    Great Blog! Marketing is the foundation of the success to every single business. Without marketing, no one knows who or where you are. And the marketing plan must be solid or the business will fail. Thanks for the blog… very helpful!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! So glad you enjoyed. And I agree – wholeheartedly. Thanks for stopping by :)

  • http://www.extremejohn.com Extreme John

    I totally agree with your post Shelly.  As an entrepreneur, one has to keep track of the change in the market.  Revisit and make strategic planning as often as necessary.  You should be able to know how your products do impact your customers or if they still are.  Customer’s taste may change over time, and you should be prepared to handle these scenario.  Great marketing tips by the way.  Thanks for the post.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks John … one of my favorite quotes is from Charles Darwin … and while it won’t be verbatim, the gist of it is that it’s not necessarily the fittest of the species that survives, it’s those who are most adaptable to change. Makes sense when it comes to business, too :))

  • http://osakabentures.com/english-2/saulfleischman/ Saul Fleischman

    While I wont be able to quote “Chuck-D” perfectly, I think it was something like this (even better, I think): “[it is not the strongest who survive, not the most intelligent, but rather those that adapt best to change.”
    Thanks for the Triberr support, btw. Say hi sometime, okay?

  • http://callboxinc.com/ Judy Caroll

    You hit the nail on its head again Shelly, very helpful.  If we don’t know who and where are customers are, probably we don’t know why we are in business in the first place.  I remember the words of Yogi Berra, and I believe this too makes sense in business, ” If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.  Thanks.  

  • Anonymous

    So glad you enjoyed this oldie but goodie. And yes, you (and Yogi) are correct. You’ve gotta have a plan!

  • http://www.cheap5fingers.us/ jater

    nice and great 

  • chatmeter

    These are some great tips! Marketing is absolutely one of the main things people need to be focusing on (an I’m not just saying that because I’m a marketer). You could have the greatest product in the world, but if your customers can’t find you, you will not succeed.

  • ShellyKramer

    Thanks! This is from the oldies but goodies file – glad you enjoyed :)

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