You have just been offered a great business opportunity. Now what do you do next? First you need a business plan; a business plan is a blue print to follow as you build your business. It must be flexible but yet stable. Next there comes the marketing plan; your marketing plan is the foundation in which you are building your business. It must be detailed, smartly done, and pleasing to the consumer. I hope to cover four significant points that should be addressed in a successful marketing plan. The first is the geographical region chosen for your clientele. The second is identifying your target market. Third is your competitive advantage, if any, and finally, if you as a business owner have completed a formal marketing plan and you had to change it along the way, why?
You might ask yourself what a geographical area has to do with establishing your target market. This is the beginning; ask yourself whose needs are you trying to meet? Are you trying to keep it local, or are you trying to reach out nationally? With the location you have chosen what type of competition do you have, and how diverse is that competition? You need to know what will pull the costumers in, and what you can do to convince them that your business is the better choice. This knowledge comes after narrowing down your target market.
Let us take a look at your target market; you need to make sure it is not too general. The needs of the customers must be determined. This is accomplished by conducting a market research. Market research can be accomplished in many ways. It must have a clearly defined objective and one-on-one data must be collected. The way this data is collected can be as easy as a survey, focus groups, or simple daily transactions. After the data has been gathered and analyzed then any competitive advantage should be clearer. “Most of the restaurants in this area sell pizza and are not open for breakfast”, said a deli own in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He recently opened a small town deli serving both breakfast and lunch. He feels his competitive advantage is that his deli is open for breakfast and his menus are more diverse than the local pizza restaurants. What is a competitive advantage you might ask? It is anything that a business may do, offer, or implement that their competitors do not. This should give them an edge over their competitors and help them to find their niche in that particular market. Joseph had also mentioned that he began with a detailed marketing plan, but it was flexible enough to help him alter it when he needed to, in order to overcome unforeseen obstacles that might occur. The key point here is that it is crucial to have a detailed marketing plan. Do not forget it must be flexible and if possible have a back up plan. Proper planning is the key to success when opening a business. As I said earlier, your marketing plan is your foundation to build on, but it is up to you to wisely choose your tools to aid in your success.