Marketing plan graph

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Are your monthly sales less than you would like? For just a few minutes, stop worrying about that order you just lost and step back.

Take a deep breath and ask yourself:

  • Can I write a list of five types of restaurants that need my product?
  • Or a list of four characteristics of families that need my product?
  • Or three types of companies that need my service?

Well, of course not, Silly…  We sell a product to taxi cab companies.

OK, do car rental companies also need your product?  How about car dealerships? Write a list of those categories.  How about tire dealerships?

Once you have a list like this for your company, make another list:

  • How many such potential customers are there in your area?
  • How many within an hour’s driving distance? (Use the local Yellow Pages or your GPS to find out.)
  • What trade organizations might potential customers belong to?

Keep asking yourself questions like this until you can say, “I have defined my market.”

Next, summarize this information in one paragraph on a piece of paper.

Now write down the ways you can let those potential customers know of your product.

Can you visit them to leave a brochure? Can you use direct mail? How about email, or a website?

If you run a restaurant, maybe the big sign out front and word-of-mouth are sufficient, but if it’s a new establishment, a sales campaign might help create buzz and a daily waiting list for table reservations.

Who do you aim your sales campaign at?…  The market you defined in the above paragraphs. Write the answers on another piece of paper.

You now have the beginnings of a marketing plan.  You are still missing a list of actions you will take and the dates that you will accomplish each of them. 

Once you take that step, you won’t have time to worry about that lost order or the lack of customers walking through the door. You’ll be too busy growing your excellent business.

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How do you define your market?