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HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE OVERALL BUSINESS PLAN
FOCUS ON DEVELOPING A SMALL BUSINESS’ BUSINESS PLAN
In writing your business plan it’s a good idea to begin to set goals for your overall
on an annual and a long-term basis, (preferably 5 years).
All businesses large and small should have a set of goals and a strategic marketing plan as part of their business plan.
Most small businesses should have the above as a part of its written business plan.
This means the small business owner must either teach himself and his staff,
or get a business consultant to teach them, how to write the business plan that’s going to make money and keep the “doors open.”
An online search may provide a business plan template where you can find good examples of business goals.
As stated in another post regarding setting goals that make money, most successful businesses have explicit and implicit goals.
When we discuss implicit goals we mean that top management may not have expressly discuss what all their implicit company’s goals may be but their performance, actions, and decisions can sometimes reveal what implicit goals that they’re are trying to accomplish for the firm.
The firm may have many hidden implicit goals.
Most are not openly discussed nor are they written down, but they’re goals nevertheless.
All or most of a company’s IMPLICIT goals usually are hidden but their performance, actions, and decisions may reveal implicitly what they’re are trying to accomplish for the firm.
In order to get some idea of just what a firm’s implicit goals are can sometimes
be viewed in the company’s annual business plan
There analysis and study of something as simple as a review of a company’s product line,
many times will reveal a company’s implicit product strategy.
For example, as a product strategy is the company’s focus on producing or marketing one product, many products, or a certain kind of product.
For example, are one of their implicit goals focused on having a narrow or a broad product line?
Another mostly implicit goal is product distribution.
How are they going to distribute their product and by what method?
Another goal rarely written down is the quality of the product.
Is the firm going to market high quality, medium quality, or very low-quality product or service?
Many times the goals discussed above are not part of a firm’s written business plan,
but it is often evident that product differentiation is one of their major goals.
One of the problems encountered in analyzing and studying a
company’s implicit goals is that you’ll often find that because
these goals are not discussed or written, many times a firm’s
employees don’t fully understand or are not in line with these
implicit goals thus much time these goals are not viewed
the same way throughout an organization.
Misunderstandings about these goals in an organization’s levels of management can create all types of issues in the major functions of any type of organization.
Therefore it is a good idea to at least provide management at all levels the dreams (implicit goals) of the company and top management.
While the implicit goals may go unwritten, it is almost mandatory for an organization to have clear, consistent written, and disseminated explicit goals.
When the goals are written and disseminated, everyone in the organization understands
exactly what the business is trying to achieve and the responsibilities of each one of
them have in achieving the firm’s goals.
Since it is next to impossible to discuss any firm’s implicit goals because they are often a part of
management’s intents, instincts, focus, and decision-making.
We’ll focus here in this post on the firm’s expressed explicit management goals.
These goals should be written out and most small online businesses should definitely
have a small business plan format.
The goals are often very explicit and tentative.
The tentative goals, although, explicit and written,
need to be tested for relevancy and their ability to be achieved.
Let’s start our strategic plan for having a presence on social media marketing this way.
Let’s focus on the elements to include in social media marketing goals to make them work;
Our outline of the necessary elements is:
1. Identify Business Goals
2. Set Marketing Objectives
3. Identify Your Market’s Desired Customers
4. Research Expected and Current Competitors
5. Choose Potential Advertising Channels and Marketing Tactics
6. Create a Content Strategy.
7. Develop finance Plan for All Goals and Operations
8. Assign manpower responsibilities and roles
Below We’ll Discuss Each of the Above Elements In More Detail:
IDENTIFY OVERALL BUSINESS GOALS
You’ll want the social media strategic plan to serve all your goals.
You should try to develop a social media marketing plan template.
Its okay to analyze, review, and use some of the strategy of the top social media marketing companies.
Clearly have in mind what you want to achieve for the year and in the overall plan.
There can be no movement for you without you having clearly in your mind
what you want to achieve.
After analyzing and establishing your firm’s overall needs, you need to decide how to use the various social media in the pursuit and ultimate solving of those needs.
You’ll business plan will probably need to discover and include such goals;
goals that measure,
the firm’s expected profitability,
getting and maintaining a customer base,
reducing advertising and marketing costs,
how to get better market penetration.
SET MARKETING OBJECTIVES AND PLAN
Set your goals and make them precise but flexible.
Always allow for some form of measurement that’ll tell you when you have achieved each
For example, if one of your objectives is to reduce marketing costs, then, how much reduction in advertising or manpower is needed before the goal is achieved.
Another example, you might have as an objective is to increase email marketing, but how much of an increase is needed must be analyzed and detailed.
All company objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
Never set your goals too low or too high.
If you set your goals too high and you don’t achieve them, you have set yourself up for failure.
For example, say your firm’s last year was a fairly profitable year with sales at 15 percent above the previous year.
To set your sales goal for the new year at twice the 15 percent sales for the present year is not kosher.
This sales objective is probably not achievable.
Setting up an unachievable goal like the example above means you just defeated your goal, and you’ve set yourself up for failure.
Take the time to refine your goals so they’re are germane to a company’s overall objectives and vision.
Attaching a timeframe to the failure or achievement of a goal is imperative.
You must establish a time frame for the achievement of any and all your objectives.
Failure to set a time frame for goal achievement means at times you may be distracted from
achieving an important goal because of the expiration of the time for the achievement of the goal.
IDENTIFY YOUR MARKET’S DESIRED CUSTOMERS
Research and identify the ideal customer profile for your business.
Especially if your focus is to advertise and sell to a specific group.
To be effective your promotional message must target the right
audience at the right place and time.
Be aware of who your Target Audiences are.
Below are elements that can be include in a potential customer profile.
C. Previous Purchases
E. Customer pain or Other Problems;
H. Likes and Dislikes;
When you know and understand the above things about any prospective customer it’s then easier, cheaper, and more
economical to market to these customers on any social media platform or for that matter any platform.
The more specific information you collect on a prospective customer,
your probability of more conversions on all advertising and promotion channels will increase.
RESEARCH EXPECTED AND CURRENT COMPETITORS
To be an effective media marketer researching your competition is extremely important.
This research not only keeps you apprised of their activity, it provides an idea also of what is
working so these ideas can become part of your marketing efforts.
The first thing you need to do to research your competition is to compile a list
of at a minimum 3 to 5 of your successful main competitors.
Analyze their content strategy, search for their social networks, and duplicate in your marketing
efforts the good factors and avoid the bad elements of these competitors.
Get a picture of these competitors number of fans or followers, posting frequency,
and time of day for most of their activity.
Pay very close attention to their type of content they’re posting and its context.
Look at how these competitors respond to their fans or followers.
Be very aware of their social media engagement this will explain a lot about what your
competitors are promoting and seeing.
From this review you should also get an idea to how you measure up against your competitors.
CHOOSE POTENTIAL ADVERTISING CHANNELS & MARKETING TACTICS
In their business plan many online businesses create accounts on every popular social network.
They do this when they write their basic social media business plan.
To be profitable and successful, they should avoid the above time wasters by targeting and discovering the right platform(s) to be engaged with.
Do this by analyzing and studying your customer’s persona and profile data.
Use the platforms that are most profitable and best for you and your product.
When your target customers are found mostly on one particular social media platform, more than the other platforms,
this is the platform where your advertising, social interactions, and marketing focus should be.
CREATE A CONTENT STRATEGY
Never let anyone tell you different, content and social media have a strong relationship.
Website content is absolutely necessary for social media marketing.
There is somewhat of an irony with content and social media.
For example, without great content social media is boring and null and without social media, content will never be read or discovered.
The use of good content in and on social media should result in profitable conversions.
Utilize the 3 main facets of any successful media content strategy.
They are the type of content, time of posting, and the frequency of publishing.
Determine whether your content is going to be humorous, serious, highly educational,
or something else altogether.
When is the best time to promote on social media?
There are many studies that allegedly give a specific time to post on social media.
Our advice, test and figure out the best time for yourself.
Remember, posting frequency is as important as your content.
A FINANCIAL PLAN FOR ALL GOALS AND OPERATIONS
In budgeting for your foray into social media marketing look at the tactics, you have
chosen to use to achieve your business goals and objectives.
Make a comprehensive list of the tools you’ll need to achieve these goals.
In your social media marketing plan make a total list of the financial tools you’ll need to accomplish
your objectives, and how much will these tools cost?
For example, to achieve fiancial objectives you have set, at a minimum, you’ll need funds for discovering;
a. A means to monitor social media marketing
b. Email Marketing and CRM
c. Services that You’ll Outsource. e.g., graphic design or
Next, to the above objectives list the probably annual projected cost for achieving this objectives.
This financial plan will be a guide to your overall budget, your finances, investments, cash flow,
and financing that is necessary for smooth operations.
It’s your option whether to establish your budget first and select which tactics to be used that
fits that budget’s objectives.
Other planners establish a strategy first and then determine the budget to fit the strategy.
ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITIES AND ROLES
In your final plan define who’s responsible for what.
Defining who’s responsible for what in an organization and plan increases productivity,
avoids confusion and curtails overlapping efforts.
Once everyone has been trained and know their role, it’s time now to start planning the execution process.
Remember, your social media strategic plan is not the ten commandments and you may have to revise it frequently.
We welcome all comments about this post. If there are questions about anything In this post, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org