There are many ways to use a business plan…

TheThinkerHere’s my proven way that led to success for more than 30 years.

Many years ago, I started my first ad agency for small businesses. I worked in the home for the first three years. I added an employee in year three and moved into an office shortly thereafter.

I wrote a business/marketing plan before officially opening the business and followed it. Actually, I followed it quite closely and began to question some of the objectives. I began to sense the small business owners I met with wanted more than shiny brochures or full spread advertisements.

When I moved into an office I started to refocus the company as a direct marketing agency. One day I received a phone call from a local dentist. He wanted to know how to get more patients.

Back then the only advertisements a medical practice would do was for the local phone book or little league association.

I made a visit to the local American Dental Association. I was told that the location of a practice was normally based on the present population of the community. Their guideline was 2500 to 3000 people allotted for a dental practice to be successful.

My community at that time was home to about 70,000 people. I also was able to discover there were 78 dental practices located in the community. Doing the math, I understood why I received that phone call.

I started providing services to healthcare practices by creating strategic marketing plans to meet their growth goals. I taught and educated the doctors and their employees on using patient knowledge and marketing to their patient’s needs and wants. Doctors collect a lot of patient information. I added a few personal questions to get information to use in our marketing strategy.

This all occurred in the first 5 years of business. Because I had a plan I learned that my customers did not want to use an ad agency sooner rather than later. The word marketing appealed to healthcare providers more than advertising as a way to grow their business.

By re-focusing on becoming a marketing agency also separated me from a lot of the competition of ad agencies and graphic design firms. None of this was in my original plan which quickly proved to me that change was more common than I originally thought.

Since then I have repeatedly change my business model based on customer needs, the changes occurring in doing business, and using the powerful capabilities of technology. I learned the importance of that when I started my company. But that’s another story.

The real value is writing a plan and following it. If you follow a plan as closely as I did, it can lead you to a better place.

And yes, I would do some things differently, but the key was being creative and recognize change happens for a reason, so be prepared for it.

More importantly, your business plan must always be evolving.

Got a question? Ask. Please share this post with anyone you know that may find it of interest.

Everything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.

© 2013 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Solid Stock Art, Windows Clip Art or John Deuerling.

photo credit: Viewminder via photopin cc

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About MarketingDoc 398 Articles
30+ years in marketing. 30+ years as a small business owner. Love music, photography, gardening and just about anything outdoors!

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