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Getting Started: The 8 Keys to Marketing Success

Are you a small business owner who’s just getting started or a veteran who is eager to review the basics and generate more income through ... ... Walk through these 8 keys and turn your d

Are you a small business owner who’s just getting started or a veteran who is eager to review the basics and generate more income through effective marketing? Walk through these 8 keys and turn your dread of marketing into a passion.

1. Craft your vision statement: Answer the question, “Why does my company exist?” This is the heart and soul of your organization and the platform from which you should make every decision be it marketing, product development, or customer service related.

2. Identify your ideal client: Take a hard look again at why you’re in business in the first place. Then identify who’s really going to want what you’re selling. Who’s going to understand exactly where you’re coming from and jump at the chance to do business with you? If you can identify those quality consumers, you will have a much easier time finding them.

3. Target your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats): The first two components are internal--what’s going on inside of you and your company. The last two areas are external or the outside forces you must consider. There are unlimited applications for the SWOT exercise. Email me at for a detailed worksheet.

4. Ask, “What makes my company unique?” Why should anyone do business with you as opposed to your numerous competitors? Consider how you make decisions when faced with a choice between similar products from different manufacturers. How do you decide which car or soda to buy? Remember, each potential client asks the same question when they consider buying from you. How do you stand out? If Starbucks just sold cups of coffee, they would not be as dominant as they are today.

5. Expand your possibilities: Think BIG. A gold fish will only grow as large as its environment allows. Slip the fish into a bigger bowl and watch it grow. The same is true of your marketing plan. Think conservatively and small and your business is likely to remain that way. Dare to dream and think large. You will never reach the big goal if you think it’s not possible.

6. Hone your goals & tactics: Using your vision statement as a compass point, ask what goals do you need to achieve in order to reach your vision? Remember to set SMART goals (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, time sensitive). Once you have them all listed, ask, “If I accomplish every single one of these goals, will that guarantee success?” If the answer is not a resounding “Yes!” keep adding goals until you are satisfied. Next, break each goal down into the specific steps or tactics necessary to accomplish each goal. Ask, “If I finish every listed tactic will I reach this goal?” If the answer is no, keep breaking it down to the last detail.

7. Set your priorities: Once you’ve got your goals and tactics in place you have got to put them in order. Write each one out on a separate piece of paper and shuffle them around. Look at each one and ask, “How important is this to my success in the next 3 months?” Use the ABCDE method of prioritization. Sort them in groups of As, Bs, and Cs, based on importance. Ds are anything you can delegate. Es are anything you can eliminate. Next, prioritize within each group: A1, A2, A3. Finally, get to work. Even though you might be tempted, don’t move on to the Bs until you have completed all the A tasks.

8. Take action: Finally, the most critical step in any marketing plan is to get your hands dirty and get started. The marketing plan that never reaches the public will net you zero sales. Learn to embrace the notion of “failure” as feedback on how to get it right. With this attitudeFind Article, any setback becomes an opportunity to fine tune your plan and make it better. A parting anonymous quote: “Failing quickly is at least better than failing slowly.”

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KIM NISHIDA is the owner of Ready to Evolve Coaching, specializing in helping you discover the courage to take action. She offers group coaching as well as one-on-one consulting in marketing and is a certified fitness coach. She can be reached at

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