I was talking to a client recently about whether she should focus on a project that she thought would give her clients immediately or longer term planning (creating an overall Marketing plan). This is an issue for so many small businesses that I wanted to address it.
When you first start a business is the time you would ideally figure out where you’re going with your business – who you want to serve, how you can best serve them, what you want to say to them, etc. In other words you’d create both a Business and Marketing Plan. BUT you need immediate clients so you can earn a living. Problem!
Here are some solutions….
Most ideal— Start with the marketing (and business) plan – really focus on it and get it done. SO much flows from your marketing plan that if you have it done it’ll be much easier and quicker from there to figure out what things use to achieve your objective(s). (ie. twitter, facebook, postcards, promotions, etc)
Least ideal— Start with the short term goal of getting more business, and the thing or things you think will get you there. This is not ideal because if you skip doing some of the thinking about your ideal clients, overall goals and opportunities, you might actually be trying to reach the wrong people the wrong way, and wasting time and money. Ouch!
The compromise — Do both short and long term planning at the same time. If you’re already working on a specific project (ie. a new website) you can also think about your overall marketing because the two overlap. Then in your “down time” (I know, there’s not a lot!) you can work on the overall plan. This way you’ll have clients now and down the road.