Most people want to be successful, but few plan to be. Very few people take the time to plan anything. Most people take more time to plan their vacations than they do to plan their lives. The most important thing you can do right now for your business is sit down and develop a marketing plan. Most business owners fail or they just move along because they do not have a plan or goal for their business.

I want you to decide right now to make a detailed plan of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. It is the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” You can say, I want to make more money or I want to be rich. That is nice, but too vague. You want $25,000 sales per month. That is not a plan.

A plan is a detailed specific road of how you are going to reach the targets you set out and the date that you want to reach them by. An example is that you can set sales goals. You can sell so many of your products for a week or so many of your services for a week. You should offset these in net profit instead of gross profit because that is the money you are making.

I know one gentleman who grosses $7,000,000 a year. Very impressive. He takes home $100,000 of that. That is not very impressive. It maybe nice to have $100,000 a year, but it is not impressive when you are grossing $7,000,000. That will not tell you how well you are doing.

You want to put down the numbers in net profit. If you know your net per sale, and most business owners do not even know this, but if you do, you are way ahead of the game. You can work backwards on how many sales you need. Then all you have to do is increase your number of sales per week or net profit per sale.

Develop a strategy for making those numbers. Decide how you are going to advertise. How am I going to get referrals? How am I going to get people to buy more often? How am I going to get people to spend more? This is the beginning of your marketing plan.

Do not panic if you have a bad week. Just get right back on track and try to achieve the next week’s goals. You want to get to know the numbers for your business. It is a business of numbers. You need to know the net profit per sale, net profit per service call, and how much it costs to get your new clients. These are critical in knowing where you are and if you are achieving your goals.

Take some time each week to plan. It is critical. Here is a guide for you to use.

Write down your goal for your total net income you want next week.

Write down the number of new clients that it will take to get that.

Write down your goal for number of repeat clients that you want to achieve.

Write down how many service calls you are going to make if you are a service business.

Write down how many products you have to sell.

Write down the net income for each item and your average income per client.

You will come up with the total income you are trying to achieve. Each week put down the actual numbers you will achieve and you will find out if you are reaching them or not. Then you will know if you need to increase marketing and in what areas.

One great need of small business managers for 2012 is to understand and develop marketing programs for their products and services. Long term small business success depends on the ability to maintain a strong body of satisfied customers while continually increasing this body with new customers. Modern marketing programs build around the marketing concept, which directs managers to focus their efforts on identifying, satisfying, and following up the customer’s needs – all at a profit.

In addition, periodically assess customers’ feelings and opinions toward the business and how well their needs are being satisfied. This can be done through surveys, customer comment cards, or simply by asking them, “How are we doing?”

Assessing performance and asking for customer input brings us back around market research again. Your marketing plan is a continuous effort to identify and adapt to changes in markets, customer taste, and the economy for the success of your small business.

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