It Doesn't Have to be a 200 Year Plan

Today I saw a headline about making a 200 year plan.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Oprah Winfrey have created fortunes that will allow them to affect the future for millions of people for decades and generations. 

For us it's a little more personal. 
You, like me, have likely chosen the path of entrepreneurship for some other purpose. Instead of Gate's original grand vision of a PC on every desk, at home and at work; and his updated goal to give every person in the world a chance to live a healthy, productive life, you likely have aspirations for your family: time together, comfort, joy. 

It's okay to have a plan that ends with a comfortable personal retirement.
It's not okay to think things are going to stay the way they are now until then.

A marketing plan doesn't take us to the end.
It gives us the luxury to live until then with the comfort that comes from control and knowledge. Taking responsibility is how we can sleep with the risk.

It's good to know where the next client is coming from!

How to Calculate Marketing Time

It took me awhile to learn that people don't pay for good ideas.
People pay for making ideas happen.

That was how I embarked on my search to discover how much time should be spent getting the business, and how much time should be spend doing the business.  Here's the good news:

20% marketing
 5%  administration and management
75% production

Break that down.
Say you're ready to work five 10-hour days -- a 50 hour week.
Twenty percent of your time must be spent marketing.
Twenty percent of 50 is 10.
Ten hours a week are for marketing. When you're at full capacity.

Full capacity is the number of clients you can serve in 75% of the work week hours.
Seventy-five percent of 50 is 35.
How many clients can you work with in 35 hours?
To make the math easy, let's say seven: five hours for each client, each week.

But right now
you only have three clients.
Three clients get 15 hours.

What many people do is expand the amount of time they give those three clients.
Thrilled to have clients, they rationalize that if they over-deliver these three people will refer others.

That concept has two catches:

  1. The people referred are going to ask about price and service, and expect the same value.

  2. There won't be enough new clients, quickly enough, from this small set, to keep the business expanding.

All hours not serving clients get transferred to marketing.

Thirty-five hours are for production.
Fifteen hours are being used for existing clients,
leaving 20 hours each week to add to the marketing time budget.

There is always going to be a 10 hour marketing budget; add the 20 hours that aren't being spent with clients and there are now 30 hours available for marketing -- at this stage of the business.

With a marketing plan you know what to do.
And now you know when to do it.



You Wouldn't Build A House Without A Plan

Our hero is driving for the first time on a road near his home. The road is well-paved, and he hasn't seen another car in 4 gentle curves. The fields on either side are verdant, interrupted for a moment by a small sign on the left that reads: 


Slam. Brakes. Pull over. What?
How could this be true?
Five acres in this paradise for an amount he can get his hands on in a few hours?

So he does what you or I would do . . . (what millions of people with a good business idea do) . . . he rushes straight to Home Depot to buy some lumber.

You didn't start your business that way,
did you?

Rolling toward the checkout he turns right on the plumbing aisle. Toilets. He's going to need a toilet. It's only a few hundred dollars, he may as well get it while he's here.

Loading $3500 worth of wood, power tools and the porcelain into his car (doesn't fit, worried it may fall out, but the price of the property is so good!) he pulls out into traffic and heads back to paradise, where he drives off the road into the middle of gorgeous to unload. Nothing fell out. Must be a good omen. This was meant to be, he thinks with a smile.

Are you picking up on the metaphor?
A good idea could become a good business,
but the concept isn't the most important part. 

  1. For our hero the first step is to call and find out where the available property is.
  2. Before he pays for lumber he needs to know what, exactly,  he's going to build.
  3. And while he will need a toilet . . . first the land needs to be surveyed, purchased and cleared; a contractor chosen; the house designed and framed.

A marketing plan is to a business
what the design is to a house.

SuccessPrints - drawings - floorplan.jpg

A marketing plan means
you build a business
by design.

There Have to be Four

A marketing plan has four sections:

  1. Advertising
  2. GateOpeners
  3. Referrals
  4. Customer Service

Each section must have six components. 


The Advertising section could have

  1. business cards
  2. website
  3. expos
  4. social media
  5. blog
  6. American Cancer Association - Relay for Life

And each component (you knew this was coming, right?) has to have four factors or uses.


When you know these things you know, automatically

  • when to say yes to an advertising opportunity that walks in the door, and when to recognize that a great price isn't a good deal
  • how to choose between cold calling for two hours or perfecting a project for a client 
  • what to give clients as a thank-you gift when they send you a referral and what to put in a golf tournament goody bag
  • who to target market to -  so that working always equals making money
  • where to spend associate membership dollars and how to prioritize networking events on your calendar.

You will make money with a marketing plan.