When I interviewed small business owners, mainly in Calgary, and asked them what are the biggest marketing mistakes that they have experienced over the course of running their own company, not having a marketing plan was mentioned the most.
Very often when we begin a business, we think that let’s just see how it goes and then see what to do next. The logic for that is that we don’t know so many things anyway, so there is nothing to put in the plan. When I started my first consultation company, this is exactly what I thought. I had a lot of work initially and landed a large client that paid my bills nicely, but realized after 6 months that this is not what I get all excited about doing. I also understood that I do not really know what I wanted to do. I just wanted to have my own business and use my Marketing experience gained from working for large companies. I had not considered what services I would offer and what clients I feel moved to help, how and where I market myself. Since I did not find the experience of working on my own any different than working for another company, I ended up thinking that having my own company is not for me.
Next time I started a business it was no longer on my own, but with two other people, and one of them already was running a successful company. We started with a business plan, marketing plan, product development plan while constantly working on the product. That was the right thing to do. Even though we always did not agree on what the future might hold, at least we had discussions about it and established the best course of action based on what we knew at that time. All of us ended up selling our shares in the company in the end, but the sale could only happen because we had consciously developed the company and thus created some value to sell.
When I started Coaching by Ave Peetri Inc., I had learned from the past, but still decided to speed up the time to market and hired a business coach. She has been of tremendous help in getting my business set up and provided lots of support when I needed it the most. Most certainly one of the first things I have created is a business plan and then a Marketing plan, that I now follow and update on a regular basis.
In addition to helping me navigate the course of growing my company, the plan helps me stay motivated. I can see how much I have done already and I know that my goals are achievable. I might have to change some of the tactics, but that does not take me off course.
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