Today we’re talking about business plans. Both small, medium and large-sized businesses should have one. Business plans keep your business on track with goals and priorities while helping drive sales and growth. Business plans should intertwine with your marketing strategies and branding guidelines.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS PLAN?
Think of your business plan as a roadmap for your business. A well-written business plan includes: market research, financial projections, competitor analysis, mission statements, target markets and overall business strategies.
THE 5 MUST HAVES TO INCLUDE IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Business plans include a variety of different strategies and research. However, we believe the following five categories are a must for every business plan:
Defining your mission statement is imperative to your business plans. A mission statement should say what you do, why you do it and how you bring value to your target customers. A mission statement can be longer, but you should be able to condense it down into a one sentence tagline.
For example, STAK Marketing’s one-line mission statement is:
STAK Marketing is a full-service marketing agency giving female-lead small businesses a strong marketing foundation to grow and scale upon.
TARGET MARKETS & CUSTOMER AVATARS
We hate to break it to you, but not everyone is going to buy your product or service. It’s shocking, I know! Your customer is a very specific group of people who are within a specific demographic. To ensure the success of your business you need to know who your target market customers are. It’s important to do market research to identify your target customers, you never want to guess, otherwise you could be wasting precious time and money.
When incorporating your target market/customers within your business plan, I always suggest outlining your ideal customer as an avatar including their age range, gender, location, interests and income.
Knowing your customer avatar will help you strategically market to those groups of people including message tone, branding, marketing campaigns and key messaging.
For example, STAK Marketing’s customer avatar is:
Female from age 30-60 based in the United States with an interest in small business and has already proven to have a successful business plan.
Core Values are the guiding principles of your company. Your core values keep all departments on the same trajectory, with the same goals and the same integrity. Sticking to your core values in everything you do from product creation to customer support and communications will keep your brand tight, ensure trust and help grow your business.
For example, STAK Marketing’s core values are:
- Women Supporting Women
- Open Communication
- Quality of Work
Key Messages are what you want your target audiences to know and remember. With your key messages, what do you want your target customers to do? What do you want your target audiences to know?
Using consistent key messages in all communications keeps your goals on track as a business. All roads should lead back to your key messages.
One of STAK Marketing’s key messages is:
Reliability. Unlike other marketing agencies, STAK Marketing is reliable, dependable and direct. You will know exactly how we are spending your money and our time and will never put you into a standard marketing template.
MARKET POSITION & PAIN POINTS
Marketing position and pain points go hand-in-hand. Like most companies, you are trying to find your position within an already established market. Within that pre-existing market, who are your competitors? What services/products do they offer? What problems do your services/products solve that others don’t? How do your prices compare? What sets you apart from the rest?
To answer most of these questions you’ll want to refer to our previous blog: Understand & Identifying Customer Pain Points.
Do you have a business plan for your business? It’s never too late to start one and it’s never too late to pivot your business based on the business plan! We’d love to hear from you on some of the information from your business plan, what does your customer avatar look like? What is your one line mission statement? What are your core values? What pain points does your business solve? Let us know!
Owner/Founder STAK Marketing
Michelle Johnson is the owner, founder and Chief Marketing Guru at STAK Marketing. Our passion at STAK Marketing is to create beautiful STAKs of marketing strategies that help small businesses grow and reach their goals. STAK Marketing's expertise ranges from SEO to branding, e-mail marketing to website design, PR to advertising and much more - making STAK Marketing a one-stop-shop for all your small business marketing needs.