As a small business owner, you have been told more than a million times, “You need to market your business. It won’t promote itself.” And many small business owners would gladly agree.
But implementing that advice is harder than it sounds. With all of the marketing advice out there, how do you know where to start? How much money and time should you spend on marketing and advertising and still make a profit?
“Plans to Prosper: Strategies, Systems, & Tools for Small Business Marketing” by Victoria Cook and Stan Washington is a short, sweet guide to specific topics that are often neglected in most marketing books.
It walks readers through a 90-day program intended for them to better grasp how to juggle the tasks of marketing while also managing the business. Plans to Prosper promises that readers will walk away with not just a marketing plan – but an improved perspective with a process to keep it alive.
A 90-Day Prosperity Plan for Your Small Business
As discussed above, the core solution provided by Plans to Prosper is the 90-day plan called the “High Achieving Marketing Process.” The plan is arranged in 3 convenient phases, each 30 days:
In this respect, Plans to Prosper follows the trend of other books focused on quick business planning for results, such as the 7-Day Startup and The One Week Marketing Plan. Like those books, this book doesn’t go into extreme detail on topics. But it does provide targeted information on some areas that business owners often have questions about.
As an example, Plans to Prosper recommends creating a marketing calendar, then provides bullet points on what should be done daily, weekly, monthly and yearly on it.
The plan itself, however is not marked by days. Rather, the authors outline the phases of their plan and provide recommendations and guidance for those phases. Most of the information will be familiar to any person who has ever read a marketing book. But there are a few differences that stand out.
One notable difference in Plans to Prosper is the diminished role of social media. There are no blogger outreach campaigns or tips on which hashtag to use. It’s not that kind of book.
Cook and Washington recommend that owners engage in social media as a relationship and networking tool. But they encourage business owners to limit their time and participation to the channels that actually brings in customers. Particularly of note is this statement from Plans to Prosper, “In my experience, the more you rely on free marketing channels, the less likely you will experience true growth.”
Instead of reliance on social media and free channels, Plans to Prosper prefers a multi-channel approach based on market research (carried out in the first phase), relationship building (carried out in the second phase) and marketing/promotion (carried out in the third phase). Marketing and promotion is part of every phase. But a different aspect receives focus in each phase. This makes the plan cumulative, building on the success of the phase before it.
Who Will Benefit Most From Plans to Prosper?
The book will be best suited for two types of small business owners:
- The small business owner who runs a one-person business.
- The small business owner who has a growing business and recognizes the need for marketing, but is unsure of how to do it or how much to spend.
Plans to Prosper is especially targeted to solopreneurs and people who own a business with a small number of people. Because the authors, particularly Cook, have experience with a one-person business, Plans to Prosper goes into topics from that perspective. Some of the topics in that category include:
- What to charge clients or customers.
- How to find time to market.
- How to deal with obstacles to sales (such as guilt, fear, lack of time, etc.).
- Building referral programs.
Plans to Prosper is also ideal for small business owners who know they want to market, have established a marketing budget, but need specifics to get them started. Cook and Washington provide very specific numbers and percentages that shed light on just what a confused business owner might want to consider.
Plans to Prosper also limits itself to particular issues, rather than general concepts. Some of the topics in that category include:
- Market research.
- Developing a marketing calendar.
- Creating packaged deals.
- Loyalty programs.
The only businesses that might not benefit as much from this book are relatively new businesses. Since they don’t have the research and customer base yet, the steps may not work as effective. Larger businesses might consider the information in Plans to Prosper as well. But the book is highly geared for smaller business who can implement ideas faster and adapt quicker.
In summary, if you are a small business owner or solopreneur and want to know what you can do now to improve your marketing process in your business, Plans to Prosper helps in that regard. If you are a person who wants a straightforward answer to a marketing issue, this book helps you approach that issue in a systematic and targeted way.
About the Authors
Victoria Cook is a trainer, speaker, coach, and founder of The Center for Guilt-Free Success, a business coaching service that helps women. She can be found on the books website and on Twitter @Ctr4GFSuccess.
Stan Washington is a coach and founder of the Honor Services Office, a business software company. He can be found on the books website and on Twitter @KunakaNotes. Plans to Prosper can be found on Amazon. This review was based on a purchase of the electronic copy of the book.