Most of these businesses were created by entrepreneurs who envisioned an opportunity to develop a new product or service, and pursued that vision in search of independence and financial reward.
While these visionaries started with solid ideas to form the foundation of their new ventures, most do not have many of the skills necessary to transform their ideas into reality.
In their book Start Your Own Business, the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc.
guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner.
Warm prospects -- those who've previously been exposed to your marketing message and perhaps even met you personally -- will respond best to permission-based email, loyalty programs and customer appreciation events, among others.
Your hottest prospects are individuals who’ve been exposed to your sales and marketing messages and are ready to close a sale.Make your situation analysis a succinct overview of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.Strengths and weaknesses refer to characteristics that exist within your business, while opportunities and threats refer to outside factors. If you’re a business-to-business marketer, you may define your target audience based on their type of business, job title, size of business, geographic location or any other characteristics that make them possible prospects.Weaknesses, on the other hand, can be anything from operating in a highly-saturated market to lack of experienced staff members. Developing a simple, one-paragraph profile of your prospective customer is your next step. For example, are you hoping for a 20 percent increase in sales of your product per quarter?Next, describe any external opportunities you can capitalize on, such as an expanding market for your product. You can describe prospects in terms of demographics -- age, sex, family composition, earnings and geographic location -- as well as lifestyle. Write down a short list of goals -- and make them measurable so that you’ll know when you’ve achieved them.The key is to never stop marketing -- don’t concern yourself with the more costly tactics until you can afford them.Click here to view this full business plan Last year the doors to 898,000 new businesses opened in the United States for the first time.To determine your company’s strengths, consider the ways that its products are superior to others, or if your service is more comprehensive, for example. No matter who your target audience is, be sure to narrowly define them in this section because it will be your guide as you plan your media and public relations campaigns.What do you offer that gives your business a competitive advantage? Knowing what your customers want helps you decide what to offer, and that brings us to the next section of your plan. Related: Teach Yourself Online Marketing With This Simple Technique What do you want your marketing plan to achieve?For example, you might combine outdoor billboards, print advertising and online local searches to reach cold prospects but use email to contact your warm prospects.To identify your ideal marketing mix, find out which media your target audience turns to for information on the type of product or service you sell.