2017 is quickly approaching and everywhere you look fellow entrepreneurs are talking about planning for next year. You may already have your beautiful planner ready, or have a list of activities you want to implement, but do you have a marketing plan?

I’ve been writing marketing plans for 15 years and have spent the past few years working with Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs on how to plan. No matter what size your business, a great plan will give you greater focus and help you prioritize the ripest of initiatives. However, it may also be a little daunting if you’ve never done a marketing plan before, and that’s why I’ve written this blog to help you get started.

There are 3 core components to any successful marketing plan

  • Opportunities
  • Goals
  • Action

How do you define your opportunities?

I love this quote from Peter Drucker: “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” Opportunities are everywhere, however it’s important that you have a few rich opportunities to underpin your plan.

The best way to uncover opportunities is to complete a situation analysis – a fact based analysis of your business. A thorough situation analysis is essential for laying the foundation for an impactful plan and with some time spent here will help you uncover powerful opportunities for your business.

There are many ways that you can do this, but personally I appreciate the simplicity of a good SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity, and threats) tool. When examining your strengths and weaknesses, focus on the internal aspects of your business. For example, a question to ask yourself for strengths could be, what do you do better than anyone else? This may be around how you provide exceptional customer service, or that you have really strong planning skills. For weaknesses, what tasks do you avoid because you don’t feel confident doing them?  This may be that you struggle to consistently post on social media (I’m guilty of this one!) or that you struggle with writing engaging copy. What ever your strengths and weaknesses are, be honest with yourself and look for the way to exploit these as opportunities.
The opportunity and threats portion should concentrate on the external aspects to your business. For example, when looking at opportunities examine the trends that you currently see.  What’s going on in your area of expertise? Is everyone around you doing webinars? What are customers asking from you that you currently do not provide? When examining threats, think through the obstacles and risks facing your business.  You have no control over these threats, but it’s important to be aware of them. For example, are you seeing lots on new competitors launch products similar to yours? Are changes in social media algorithms making marketing challenging and costly?  Write down your top 5 opportunities and threats, to ensure that what you have represents your very best thinking.

If you are struggling with completing a SWOT, ask for help from a fellow entrepreneur, your customers or someone close to you that sees your business in action. I always suggest to clients to have at least one person provide input for the SWOT, as they often see your business differently.

Once you have all of your SWOT inputs, review and list out your top opportunities. Do these excite you? Can you already think of marketing activities to deliver these opportunities? Spend some time crafting these and prioritize your top 3-5. Once you have these you are ready to write down goals to deliver the opportunities!
Now you know how, let’s get started!

To download the free InsieMama color in SWOT tool and define your opportunities today click here: http://insiemama.com/kick-start-2017-plan-today/


0078_608_TenconiDanielle founded InsieMama to bring world-class marketing skills, learned over 15 years building brands in the corporate world, to help grow small business. She motivates clients to continually raise themselves, and their businesses, to a higher standard of performance through targeted marketing consultancy tools and training. Danielle is a Military spouse with two small boys and has lived all across the world. When she is not building small businesses or spending time with family, she is an avid yogi and runner.

You can connect with Danielle on Instagram, Facebook  or via her website.