A small business’ marketing plan plays a critical role in the success of the business. Small businesses that have a clear marketing plan  continue to grow and meet their objectives, while those with a poor marketing plan get stuck in survival mode wondering why they are not seeing much momentum.
If you are not seeing much progress in your small business, and or you want to increase your small business’ profitability, then you need to improve your marketing plan .
Improve Your Small Business Marketing Plan
According to management training and consultancy firm Guthrie-Jensen Consultants, a solid marketing plan lays down the structure of how you are going to promote your business throughout the year, and allows you to look back to see what worked and what did not the previous year.
“There are many how-to’s that other marketers swear by when it comes to creating a marketing plan , but it’s hard to determine which one to use for what kind of organization, especially for start-ups, because there’s not one marketing plan that fits all business concerns,” writes Guthrie-Jensen in a post on the company’s blog. “The way to come up with a good one is to use the right tools  and take the right steps.”
Steps to Create a Winning Small Business Marketing Plan
The first step to create a winning marketing plan is to know your business and your competitors well. Perform a SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats] analysis to know your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and threats that could deter progress,” says Guthrie-Jensen.
Once you know your business and competitors well, it’s time to determine your target market. Narrow down and define your target customer to know where to focus your efforts. Answer the question, “Who do you serve?” Then, list down specific and realistic objectives you want to achieve, adds Guthrie-Jensen.
Specific and realistic small business objectives may include creating brand awareness, generating product interest, increasing customer engagement, and closing new sales.
The next step is to create an action plan, a schedule and then a budget for executing the plan. Once the plan is in action, monitor, manage and improve it for best results, says Guthrie-Jensen.
Small Business Marketing Plan Tips
Some top tips the management training consultancy firm offers for creating a solid marketing plan include:
- Have a unique selling point to set you apart from other similar businesses.
- Study your target audience and know the exact time they’ll need your product or service, so you deliver at the most opportune time.
- Set clear, measurable and realistic objectives, and know how to achieve them.
- Re-adjust your goals and objective as required.
- Always look at the bigger picture.
Build a Solid Marketing Plan – Infographic
To help you with building your small business marketing plan, Guthrie-Jensen created a useful infographic  showing the importance of having a marketing plan. Check out the infographic below to learn more about why and how to create a great marketing plan for your small business.
Image: Guthrie-Jensen Consultants