Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Business Marketing: Bill Bartmann's 5-Step Marketing Plan

All successful businesses have a solid business plan, a loan proposal, and a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a map to your customers. Here are five steps to building a marketing plan:

Identify the Product or Service

Why will people buy your product? Focus on 1 or 2 items that distinguish you from your competitors, quality, convenience, and price; whatever is the most important to your customers. Define your market and position your product. Who are your customers? Where are your customers? What type of marketing will reach your customers? How will you price your product? One method is to pick a price and watch what happens. The market will tell you if you need to make an adjustment.

Identify how you fit in your Industry

Identify your strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats that could impact your business. Do not ignore reality; everyone has weaknesses; identifying them is an opportunity to fixing the problem. Focus on the ones that you can change. Recognize opportunities that can come up and define how you plan to take advantage of them. Be aware of possible threats, including economic conditions, changes in legislation, trends and technology.

Market Goals

What are your goals? Concentrate most on your early goals, but also define goals for the future. Write down your short term goals – where you will be in the next 30 days to 6 months; your mid-term goals – what things are like in 6 months to one year; and your long-term goals – your achievement in 1 – 5 years. Don’t bother to set goals any further ahead than this for now; goals will likely need to be adjusted when you see how things really go.

Strategies and Tactics

How will you accomplish your goals? What do you have to do to set the wheels in motion to move toward your short-term, mid-term and long-term goals? What actions and strategies must you employ to be successful?

Create Measuring Devices

You need to set deadlines for reaching certain milestones to be used in determining if you are on track in meeting your expectations and accomplishing the goals that you have set. This way, you will know if you are moving far enough in the right direction to do what you have set out to do.

A great marketing plan is the key to your success. It is a document that you prepare for yourself to refer to often. Simple is better; make sure it is clear and concise, easy to read and easy to comprehend.

Bill Bartmann has over 40 years experience in business; he has built 7 businesses in 7 industries. Bill Bartmann’s Billionaire Business Systems is an online course that describes, in detail, how to create a Business Plan, a Marketing Plan and a Loan Proposal. Bill Bartmanns program walks the entrepreneur on a path to business ownership, from getting started to growing and expanding a successful business. Visit http://www.billionaireu.com/ to learn more.

Bill Bartmann’s Business Essentials: Writing a Winning Business Plan

Many businesses that fail do not have a good business plan. Your business plan is an essential step in your education as you clearly define the goals of what you are doing, why your are doing it and how you are going to accomplish it. You are not writing a novel to impress the public; you are preparing this document for yourself and for others that you will have a business relationship with, including lenders, partners, vendors and suppliers. Your business plan will demonstrate how you will succeed; and therefore, they will succeed.

Lenders will look at your business plan and come to a conclusion that they can or cannot safely invest in your business. If you present them with a plan that shows a business that has great potential, then they are more willing to fund your business. They know there is a good chance that you will repay the loan, with a good return.

If you plan to enter into a partnership, then you must earn the trust of your partner, so he will be willing to invest time and money into the venture. Your business plan should demonstrate, clearly and concisely, your vision of how the business is going to look.

You can negotiate lines of credit with vendors if you show them a clear business plan. They will want you to succeed so that you become a regular customer; therefore, building their business.

Your business plan should demonstrate that you are serious and focused on your commitment to build a successful business. You need to demonstrate skills, knowledge, experience and what makes you stand out from the rest of the companies in your industry.

So, how do you present all of this? The rule is “thin to win.” The more “wordy” you are, the less you know; the less you understand what you are getting into. An efficient business plan looks very crisp and clean, with easy to read font. Many experts have created many styles of business plans. Here is an overview of what should be in a business plan:

The Executive Summary is very important; it is the first part of the business plan; how well it is written and the message it conveys will determine the reader’s interest in reading the rest. The Executive Summary contains:

Your Vision Statement
Your Mission Statement
Action Steps
Table of Contents

Company Background – This section contains the name of the company, your personal history in the business, your experience and the stage of development you company is at. It’s OK to disclose if you are a new start-up. Describe what makes your company unique, patents, trademarks, knowledge, experience and anything that sets you apart from your competitors. Do you have any industry advantages, a better system or are you in a prime location?

Products, Goods and Services – Here, you describe your products and services and how they benefit consumers. Demonstrate uniqueness, value and reasons why you feel more people will purchase from you than from your competition.

Market Analysis – This section will show your business as one with the capacity to survive; the ability to sell your product or services. You will be demonstrating your understanding of the economics of your business if you clearly describe the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities that are part of your business. Being able to recognize where you might be weak and what you intend to do shows you thought things through. Recognizing possible threats to your business, like market trends, fads, advances in technology, etc… will also demonstrate good planning. Stating possible opportunities that can come from your business helps a lot too.

Marketing Tactics – Describe your retail techniques and pricing analysis. Show that you understand your market and how you determined the price of your goods or services.

Management Team – This section is about you and the key managers or department heads in your business. It does not contain long bios; just credentials and qualifications that are significant to your business. This section is also used to disclose how you compensate the key people in your business; their annual salary. You will also include staffing milestones here; if you plan to hire more people, when you plan to do so, and how many employees you project your company will grow to support.

Operations Plan – Here, you share more relevant information about your business and its assets, including plant and equipment; describe the physical facility. How much working capital is needed and how will it be spent? How do you plan to find quality help and train them to develop your labor force?

Financial Statements – If you have a history, here is where you put your Profit and Loss, Cash Flow Reports and Balance Sheet for each year. Also include future projections; what you think you will make in the next few years and how your numbers are realistic based on available data.

Funding – This section is a brief Loan Proposal. Provide a brief overview of your loan request; how much you need, the type of financing you want and the terms of financing desired. Lenders like to see that you have thought about the financial stability of the business and that you understand something about how financing works. Define the terms that will work in your business and how you came to figure this out. Will you require long-term or short-term financing? Will you pay monthly, quarterly or annually?

Use of Capital – What will you use the borrowed money for? Will it go toward the purchase or lease of a building, equipment, beginning inventory, operating capital or something else? How will this loan help you to be successful running your business to ensure your ability to repay the debt? Provide references to your previous funding history, loans you’ve repaid before. Provide business references in this section to give testimony of your past business practices; delivered as promised, performed excellent service, quick, timely, honest and dependable, etc...

Your business plan should distinguish you from your competition. It is a very important part of your Loan Proposal Document which will be used by lending institutions, private investors, potential partners and anyone that you will have a business relationship with who will want you to succeed.

Bill Bartmann has borrowed billions of dollars from hundreds of lenders and investors; he is experienced at handling the negotiations and presenting himself and his business in a positive light. His course covers all the details you need to know about customizing an effective business plan for your business. Bill Bartmann’s Billionaire Business Systems is an online course that has guided many entrepreneurs to business success.

Bill Bartmann’s Business Advice: Starting out Part-Time

Many people feel that it would be too risky to quit their job and start a new business. If you fall into this category, you might consider starting a business that only requires you to work at it part-time. You will need to learn how to balance your time and commitments with your current employer and your family while you reduce financial risks by starting out part-time.

Advantages of Starting a Part-Time Business

You get a trial time, to see if business ownership is right for you and you are right for business ownership. If you should find it really is not for you, then you still have your job, which may not look so bad once you have experienced the other side of the coin.

Running a small business, part-time, reduces the amount of risk involved. Starting out small and making mistakes early in the game, will result in a much smaller loss if the business should fail.

You still have your income from your job to pay the mortgage, car loan, groceries, child care, etc…while the business is being established. Once you begin to show profit, you will be able to leave the profits in the business to grow the business. The more money you are able to keep in the business, the faster the business can grow

Drawbacks to Running a Business Part-Time

When you’re only working part time, it takes longer to grow a self-sustaining business. You are also at risk of experiencing “burn-out,” as you are working even more hours than you were before. What ever leisure time you used to enjoy with friends and family is being taken up by the new part-time business. Now, you work full time, run a business part-time and you still need to sleep.

Don’t forget, you still have an obligation to your employer to perform your job, to be productive, to show up every day, on time and to put in a full 8 hours. You also have an obligation to your business to keep it operating.

You might lose your focus on the job, the business, or both if you continue too long at this pace. Eventually, you will become physically and mentally exhausted. A time will come that you will have to make a decision; work full time, or give up the job and run your business.

Time Management and Self-Discipline

If you should decide to turn to run your business full time, then you will need to have great time management skills. Your time off will be limited at first; plan to accomplish as much as possible as you stay focused on your business.

You will need to develop great self-discipline; your boss will no longer be holding you accountable; you will have to hold yourself accountable. You will have to make yourself work hard to accomplish what you need to.

Lifestyle – Family and Friends

Strong support from family and friends is critical to your decision to go into business for yourself. Have a conversation with them; make them aware that your time will be committed to developing a business while you continue to work full time. Explain what you will need from them in terms of support and understanding. Assure them that this is only going to be temporary and they will likely be less resistant of the change in your routine and more tolerant of the fact that there will be no more “after-work drinks” or extra curricular activities with the family for a while.

Being skilled at managing yours and other people’s expectations is important in your success in life and in business. Managing the expectations of your friends and family will help you with the support system you need to begin your journey to business ownership.

Bill Bartmann offers online business courses so people can develop the necessary basic business management skills to be successful. Bill Bartmann’s Billionaire Business Systems has helped thousands of entrepreneurs reach their goals by showing them how to strengthen their business even during times of economic uncertainty.