All I had was the desire to make money and an almost equally powerful fear of failure. Starting from scratch, it took me almost a year to find my first location. And even then, nothing came easy since I had absolutely no idea how to rent the ad space or build the thing. And I did that despite the fierce competition — there were no less than 60 billboard companies operating in Dallas at that time.
But while there are vast resources available to help tackle the task, most books, websites, and templates take a generic approach in helping entrepreneurs transcribe their visions onto paper.
The truth is, however, that writing a generic business plan won't do you much good. What you need to create is a business plan that is tailored to the challenges and opportunities that exist specifically for your business. In this case, we reached out to entrepreneurs and experts alike for some tips on how and what you—the would-be founder of a marketing firm—should be focusing on as you go about crafting your business plan.
The first question you should ask yourself as you set out to craft your business plan is: Who is your audience for the plan?
Prove to the bank that your business can make money. Prove to investors that you're taking advantage of an untapped market with revenue possibilities. If it's just a document to guide you, include the information that's most important for you to remember. Impressing Your Audience 2. A marketing firm's No.
That means that your business plan needs to focus on employee recruitment and retention more so than perhaps other types of firms do.
That might mean mapping our benefits and compensation for your staff, as well as the unique perks that keep employees excited, motivated, and hardworking—all of which will help foster a positive culture, say Carter and Smith. You'll also want to indicate how much you plan to mix full-time employees with freelancers in terms of meeting opportunities, says Ciara Pressler, founder of Pressler Collaborative in New York City.
Marketers often leave a critical component out of business plans: How they'll build a management team, says Tina Young, president and founder of MarketWavea marketing firm in Dallas. Tips and Tools for Building a Marketing Team 3. Define the nuts and bolts. Unlike a business plan for a product company, your business plan won't cover a manufacturing or distribution process, says Young.
Rather, it should define the sales process, discipline, business approach, and training that will keep your new business pipeline filled.
When you're writing your business plan, therefore, you should focus on specifically how the firm will generate revenue, says Virginia Ginsburg, founder of Swell Strategiesa consulting firm in Santa Monica, California, that works with small businesses.
Ginsburg says you should answer the following questions: Sample Sales Commission Policy 4. Map out the opportunities. Defining your target market might seem like a big "duh" when it comes to your business plan, says Erin Cheyne, of Cheyne Creative in Brighton, Michigan.
Once you've nailed down some of the answers to these questions, Cheyne says, you can then figure out where the emotional heartstrings of the business owners and decision makers lie related to the opportunities you have mapped out.
You'll also have to consider that unlike a traditional company—one that is more likely to be dealing with people in the same state, or at least the same country you're working in—social media and the Web have taken physical distance almost completely out of the picture, says Cheyne.
But, with those opportunities also come challenges, specifically related to different time zones. For her business, Cheyne, who admits to having to pull all-nighters to keep up, has decided to hire an extra person to cover customer service issues to keep her international clients happy.
How to Define Your Target Market 5. It goes without saying that innovation needs to be at the core of any great agency, according to Ben Swartz and Kelly Cutler, the founders of Marcel Media. They say that given the competitive landscape for marketing firms these days, it's crucial that you differentiate yourself.French mail order fashion company La Redoute has created Le Billboard Météo, a dynamic advertisement campaign that changed at the same time as the weather.
Subscribe to a Springwise innovation intelligence plan to immediately tap into the future. A complete business plan template. This fill-in-the-blanks template includes every section of your business plan, including Executive Summary, Objectives, SWOT Analysis, Marketing Analysis and Strategy, Operations Plan, Financial Projections and more (a similar template is .
Every entrepreneur faces the common challenge of writing a business plan at some point as they develop their fledgling venture. But while there are vast resources available to help tackle the task.
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