P.O. BOX 1405, Durango, CO 81302
Jasper Welch, Four Corners Management Systems
One the biggest challenges for small businesses in non-metro markets, such as Durango, Farmington or Cortez, is to develop adequate sales and revenues in a profitable way. This is the goal of marketing, and it is an essential part of the business planning process. Most companies in rural markets experience seasonal business volumes, thin margins and out of town competitors, which make market planning an important business strategy. How should these challenges be approached?
Your marketing plan is a critical element of your overall business plan. If you need business plan assistance, go to www.sba.gov on the web, contact your local SBDC (offices in Farmington, NM 505-566-3528 or Durango, CO 970-247-7009) or pick up some business planning software. Business planning is a process, of which your marketing plan is the “top line” element of your business strategy. We have a strategic alliance with Marketing for Smarties, www.marketingforsmarties.com , which is a great marketing resource, including locally delivered “MfS Challenges” that can really help your marketing efforts.
So what should be included in your marketing plan? First, you need to do some market research? External research is the collection of existing data on business markets, competition and business opportunities. The local public library is an excellent source for business research. Another resource is the Internet, including search engines such as www.google.com and www.bing.com If you have a specific business segment, such as printing, fast food, household repair, you may want to order the applicable ‘franchise offerings’ in the area of your interest. Franchise offerings can assist with your market research. For competition, start with the telephone directory ‘yellow pages’. Find the applicable business types and use the ‘yellow pages’ or Google search to determine the size, scope and types of retail or wholesale competition. For internal research, customer surveys, focus groups, transaction analysis and face-to-face discussions with customers can assist small businesses in developing an accurate baseline of market research.
What else is needed? Other parts of the marketing plan include advertising strategy, a promotional plan, social media plan, sales compensation, media relations, pricing strategies and logo/graphic identification programs. And supporting document (actually a spreadsheet) that you’ll need is a marketing budget that supports your marketing strategies. Your marketing program will be a challenging endeavor, but without it, your business is less likely to succeed and to be profitable.
© 2004-2014, Jasper Welch, www.jasperwelch.org Durango, CO 81301