Here’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.