Have you ever decided to join a kayaking race and jumped in without a paddle? You can’t steer away from potential accidents, or even keep up with, let alone, pass the competition to gain the lead. Building a business without a strategy is just as frustrating. How will you avoid the inevitable pitfalls, or adapt to a rapidly changing market in order to maintain a competitive advantage? How will you even know where you’re going in the first place? At first, answering these questions may seem daunting. However, successful businesses understand the winning formula – developing an effective marketing strategy.
Your job is to run your business, make the best bread, take the best pictures, sell more houses, or whatever it is that YOU’RE great at. When you have your own business you’re now responsible for everything, from changing the light bulbs to creating a website. You know marketing is a huge part of what makes or breaks small companies but it’s hard to know where is the best place to invest your limited resources. Sadly, over 90% of small businesses fail within the first five years and the majority of the reason is either bad management or awareness.
To get started on strategy you have to understand three things:
Where do you want to go?
Identify the road ahead. Do you want to open another location, hire new employees, expand the business or are you happy with the way things are but are focused on keeping your current audience?
Where are you now?
First, assess your business’s current situation. How are you doing compared to the competition? Are profits increasing or decreasing? What changes are happening in the market?
How will you get there?
Now it’s time to develop a detailed strategic plan that includes the brand’s positioning and how each element of your marketing efforts will work together to support that positioning.