Are business/marketing plans necessary?

It’s been approximately two months since I officially started my VA business, going online and all of that.  And I feel as if I’ve been running around in circles, accomplishing nothing.  I know that is probably something I shouldn’t divulge, but it’s the truth.  So, it dawned on me that maybe it was time to get serious and actually write out a business and marketing plan for my business.  My mentor has been trying to help me to do this but I just kind of blew it off, thinking why would that be necessary for a simple, part-time home-based business.  But as I am increasingly becoming aware of, it is vitally important, at least to me, to have things written out.  The plans give you a course to take and goals written down so that you know you are on the right track.  If you need actionable steps for your business to grow then you need a business and marketing plan.  Unless you are looking for financing, they don’t have to be formal or anything, but you should have some clear objectives and areas covered.

The business plan is, in my humble opinion, broken down in three main subcategories.  As I said, I am approaching this as NOT needing financing; a plan for financing has more subcategories.  But for my business, there are three like I said.  The first is the Executive Summary where you write a couple of paragraphs explaining the overview of your business, giving you the big picture.  According to my research, this should actually be written last, after you work out the other categories.  Next, is the Company Description – this is vital.  Here is where you determine your mission statement asking three important questions: What are the needs of my clients that I’ll address?, How will I address these needs?, and What are the values/beliefs guiding my work?  Next under your heading is your SMART goals, and I’m not going into what SMART goals are in this post, if you don’t already know then google it, because, frankly, I’m still working them out for myself.  Then you need to list your company’s SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), again google this because I am also working what these are for me and how to apply them to my business.  Also include a list of services offered in a detailed way, concentrating on the advantages your services provide; hours of operation; finally, rates of services.  Additionally, you need to work out what equipment you have and will need and the legal structure of your business.

The next part of the business plan is the marketing plan, and should include industry and market analysis and defining who your niche market is.  This is my main problem, as I have written about before; I don’t know what my niche market is or have a clear idea who my ideal client is. For me personally, the marketing plan is the most important aspect for me, because that is where I am struggling.  But a good marketing plan covers your current situation in detail:  where are you, what are your strengths/weaknesses, how to deal with your competition.  Also, included are who your target audience is where you need to narrowly define and identify their issues and how your services can help alleviate their pain points.  Next, is your marketing goals; according to the experts, here is where you identify your USP (unique selling proposition). This I need to investigate more, so I again suggest you google it and figure out what yours is.  Finally, are the marketing strategies that you will use to get your business out to the correct clients, where you will be most productive?  Answering things like:  what social media platforms will I use?, what is my brand awareness?, how will I create an email list?

As I’ve already said, this is my weak point.  I don’t have all of this worked out and so my business is not as successful as I would want it to be.  So, my first priority is to get all of this worked out and written down, and then I’ll have my mentor go over it and tell me what needs work and what is right.  All, I can say is good luck, things like these plans are part of owning a business and having it be successful. Your best friend at this point is Google; there is a plethora of information for these plans on the internet and you just have to do the research and then do the work to get these plans in place and implemented.

Until next time, blessings to you all,

Elizabeth

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