Biggest Marketing Mistake #4: Business Plan Neglect

A recent article in Psychology Today explains why even very intelligent people make “boneheaded” decisions.

It describes a couple who took the “shortest” way via GPS unit. Being so focused on it, they missed indicators outside the window of a definitely less-traveled, narrow road deep in the woods. After sliding off the road, they nearly froze to death waiting to get a signal to call for help. (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201112/deadly-mind-traps)

By not consulting a map, they were unaware of the longer but safer highway and could have avoided danger all together.

Not having or consulting a good business plan is like GPS-focused driving without a map. Business plans, developed and used appropriately, will help you avoid the dangers of my top three biggest mistakes: not knowing your audience, wasting money and wasting time http://wp.me/p25Cue-2i.

It is human nature to jump from one good idea or approach to the next and lose sight of your company’s ultimate destination. It is difficult to see a room clearly when you are wearing reading glasses designed only to help you focus on the fine print.

Action is much more gratifying than planning, but context is necessary to prevent going astray.

A surprising amount of small businesses do not bother with business plans. If they have business plans, they are often collecting dust.  If that is true about your company, your competitors will sure appreciate it!

If your eyes are glazing over, you are not alone. When you think of writing or updating a business plan, you get visions of two-day, off-site jury duty-like lock-ins.

It does not have to be this way. Many executives find that a consultant is very useful for writing, researching and asking the big questions to provide the big picture.

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Not having or consulting a good business plan is like GPS-focused driving without a map.

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We believe that to get the most from your marketing and communications investment, you need to write or update your business plan so it is current with trends and company growth. If your business plan is buried in a pile or sitting on a shelf somewhere, it is not a guiding map.

The biggest part of a business plan is the marketing plan, which guides the communications plan, which guides the social media plan. Marketing plans often need refreshing as new competitors, products and services change the competitive scenery.

And your company must have a value proposition. In layman’s terms, that is a fancy way of identifying what makes your company, product and services unique in ways that benefit current and potential clients. Trust me; a lot of companies do not have them.  (Value propositions will be covered in a future blog.)

And, finally, if you talk to a marketing, public relations and/or communications firm that does not at least ask about your marketing and other plans, don’t hire them. Working in a vacuum leads to missed opportunities.  And that is one of the many perils of neglecting the business plan.

That leads to Biggest Marketing Mistake #5: Hiring the Wrong Communications/Public Relations Firm. In next week’s blog, I will provide tips on hiring the right firm for your company.

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