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Saturday, January 08, 2005

Planning for 2005

One of the smartest things I ever did was writing a marketing plan, using the tons of free information on the web. The most important parts were the goals, calendar and task section. First, I set my financial and marketing goals. Then I worked backwards to set up the tasks needed to meet each goal. I created a year long calendar of when to put each task into motion. Lastly, I put every single task into Outlook with a due date. As the year progressed, tasks would pop up, with details about what I needed to do - whether it was inquiring at the newspaper with an article idea or checking the Chamber web site for networking events I could register for, or scheduling a half day of follow up phone calls to stay in touch with referral sources. Having it scheduled like that meant I never missed a trick or forgot a thing, no matter how busy I was - the only way to make that task go away was to do it!

A year later, I assessed the entire plan, figured out what worked and didn't work, and made a copy to edit for the upcoming year. The result? Each year since, I've met, and in some cases exceeded my goals. Each year, my marketing is more effective, because I've eliminated the 'experiments' that didn't bear fruit. In 2004, I quadrupled my revenue from the year prior (admittedly, not hard to do in the post dot com era!). And so as I sit here working on my 2005 plans, I strongly urge you to consider following the same process - it really works!