Importance of business plans prior to your launch

For an online business, a detailed and in depth business plan is usually not necessary unless you are trying to combine your online business with a traditional business. For most online business startups, the detail involved with planning a traditional business is not required. However, it would still be beneficial to you if most of the topics were still covered, even if only briefly. Having a written plan in front of you will help you to focus on important aspects of the business.

You may not have thought much about your competition or outsourcing some of your work, but things like that will impact your ability to make a profit. And you will find this especially so in the beginning phases of your business. Even you are just opening a lemonade stand in the front yard, you will still need to know what Susie is selling her lemonade for on the next street over!

So, although a detailed business plan may not be required for an online business, I am going to include it here so you can at least look at and consider each section and determine yourself if it applies to your business.

Here I shall be discussing the basic steps involved in writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary: The first step involved in writing a business plan is the executive summary. Here, include everything that you would cover in a five ┬Éminute interview.

Explain the fundamentals of the proposed business: What will your product be? Who will your customers be? Who are the owners? What do you think the future holds for your business and your industry?

Make it enthusiastic, professional, complete, and concise.

If you are applying for a loan, state clearly how much you need and be precise in how you are going to use it. Also include detail about how the money will make your business more profitable, thereby ensuring repayment of the loan.

2. Business Description: After the executive summary, you need to write a short description of the business you are going into. You need to give a general description of the industry your business belongs to. You will write about your company’s mission statement, goals and objectives, business philosophy, as well as its legal form of ownership (sole proprietor, corporation, LLC, etc.).

Describe your most important company strengths and core competencies. What factors will make the company succeed? What do you think your major competitive strengths will be? What background, experience, skills, and strengths do you personally bring to this new venture?

3. Marketing Analysis/Strategy:┬áThe next thing to write (after the general description) should be your marketing strategy. For new or existing businesses, market analysis is an important basis for the marketing plan and will help justify the sales forecast. Existing businesses will rely heavily on past performance as an indicator of the future. New businesses have a greater challenge – they will rely more on market research using libraries, trade associations, government statistics, surveys, competitor observations, etc. In all cases, make sure your market analysis is relevant to establishing the viability of your new business and the reasonableness of the sales forecast.

4. Location: Writing down the location of your business is very important. Locations with greater customer traffic usually cost more to buy or rent, but they require less spending for advertising to attract customers. This is especially true of retail businesses where traffic count and accessibility are critical.

If an online business, you need to go into detail how you will attract customers to your website. General statements like “I will use Face Book ads and email marketing” will contribute almost nothing to helping your cause unless you have detailed statistical analysis of tests you have conducted or of another similar business you have been associated with. If you do not have any data upon which you reference your estimates, it could show lack of proper thought to the remainder of your business plan.

5. Competitive Analysis: Business by nature is competitive, and few businesses are completely new. If there are no competitors, be careful; there may be no market for your products. Expand your concept of competition. If you plan to open the first roller skating rink in town, your competition will include movie theaters, malls, bowling alleys, etc.

6. Management and Operations: Because management problems are the leading cause of business failures, it is important to discuss management qualifications and structure. Resumes of the Principals should be included in supporting data. If your business will have few employees and rely heavily on outside professionals, list these key people and their qualifications. If you are seeking financing, include personal financial statements for all of the principals in the supporting data section.

7. Personnel: The success of any company depends on their ability to recruit, train and retain quality employees. The amount of emphasis in your plan for this section will depend on the number and type of employees required.

What To Consider When Planning Your Marketing Strategies

Here are some of the factors that you should consider when setting up the marketing strategy:

Benefits of crafting an effective digital marketing strategy
Today, digital growth demands for multiple-channel marketing campaigns. Having a clear marketing strategy helps you get an idea of how your multiple marketing channels relate with each other. Using the right strategy will ensure that everything is running smoothly whether it’s paid digital ads or content marketing.

A good marketing strategy is crucial when it comes to determining the amount that you should spend for your marketing campaigns. It allows you to determine how to allocate budgets and milestone costs.

An effective digital marketing strategy will help you identify where your prospective customers are located and how you can reach them. Different audiences require a certain strategy to engage them. For example, you may consider using social media campaign for a certain audience, while others might be more likely to engage with compelling PPC campaign.

1. Project Kick Off
As a professional digital marketer, I understand that identifying objectives and goals is the first step to a successful marketing campaign. Learning about a few facts regarding my clients helps me create a cohesive project timeline, as well as project brief.

The initial phase is critical whether you’re dealing with a new brand that is looking for the best place to start or an existing company that is looking for effective ways to maintain and improve their client base.

Please note that your kick off will help you have a clear understanding of the overall project.

2. Market Research & Analysis
Carrying out research and analysis is essential in order to determine the cultural and market trends that are linked to the brand and the customers. At this stage, you should typically audit the industry and evaluate its characteristics and landscape.

By doing this, you will easily determine your target audience and have a clear understanding of what they want. In addition, it helps you come up with a strategic process that reveals what your clients actually need from your company or brand.

3. Engagement phase
The third stage is the engagement process. At this period, you should determine how you can best interact, engage, connect, and communicate with the right audience at the right time, using the best tactics.

I often take advantage of key performance indicators which show me whether the company will get more customers when I implement certain tactics. Yes, I can easily do this because, at this point, I have gained a thorough understanding of the industry and objectives.

I write compelling content that is dedicated and tailored to address specific audience needs during the engagement phase.

4. Effective Concept Development
Now, we proceed to the effective concept development stage, after laying a proper foundation in the initial stages. Go ahead and develop campaign creatives for your digital marketing project.

Individual needs of your clients, the ultimate goals of your brand, as well as each and every piece of creative, come first. This way, you can easily execute effective tactics that serve your customers’ purpose and needs.

5. Execution Plan
It is advisable that you create an effective action plan for executing your ideas during this stage. Refresh an effective strategy when dealing with both new and existing brands.

You should present a timeline for the execution of all initiatives, develop effective media plans and make recommendations for budget allocation.