96% of businesses fail within the first 10 years of operation. Fortunately, you do not have to be one of the statistics. But why is it such a high percentage, and how can failure be avoided?
Most people start a business either to survive, happenstance, or for passion. And more often than not, people start a business and before they know it, the business is running them, spreading them thin, and they fail to plan for and execute key variables that need to be in place in order to mitigate their risk of being in that 96%.
Every single business’ lifeblood is its sales. And no matter how amazing the company is, if it does not have a viable marketing plan, strategy, and direction – you will become a statistic.
The following is a general marketing thought list for both new and existing businesses for items that you should have in place, and set up properly. And like all things, if you don’t know whether you have done it correctly, assume you have not, verify, and get with an expert to ensure it’s done right the first time. Once you have this in place, you can proceed to our general Business Thought List.
General Marketing Checklist:
- Do you have a name and domain that is both protectable and viable from an availability, trade-name/trademark, and optimization perspective? And is it an effective, memorable, easy to spell name that aligns with your brand strategy?
- What is a snapshot of your marketplace? What is your market? Who is your target demographic(s)? Who is your competition? What are your strengths and weaknesses in the marketplace? And are there threats and opportunities?
- Growth plans and necessary resources to achieve those goals.
- Do you have a clear and effective brand strategy?
- Where does the brand see opportunity? Are there additional opportunities for the brand?
- Who are your customers? And what are their wants and needs?
- What are the current products and services offered by the brand?
- What unique value propositions does the brand provide to solve the customers’ wants and needs?
- Who are your competitors, both direct and indirect? What do they do right, and where do they fall short?
- What are your core values/guiding principles that help define how the brand should behave to fulfill its broader business purpose, the “why,” (Loyalty, consistency, honesty, creativity, inspiration education, health, etc.?;
- What is your Mission Statement? i.e. what the brand does, its purpose, scope of operations, products/services it offers, targeted customers/ market, and geographic considerations;
- What is Your Brand Positioning Statement? i.e. identify for each of the product or service offered, the target audience, and a compelling picture of the brand’s value proposition and how it can best fit the customers’ wants and needs, to place it in the ideal position(s) within the marketplace;
- What is your Elevator Pitch? a single-breath, succinct and persuasive sales pitch that anyone in the organization can easily remember and share, to quickly and effectively let people know what your brand delivers.
- Do you have a clear and compelling content that sells your brand?
- Do you have an effective, modern, and engaging website? It is operating on safe, secure, and reliable hosting?
- Do you have professional emails, signatures, etc setup?
- Do you have the relevant social media and reputation/ directory points setup and protected?
- Do you have a plan of attack to get in front of your customers, and complete the sales cycle?
- Do you have the proper agreements in place to effectuate sales and to protect your business?
- Do you have the right tools for CRM, process control, and management, and follow-up to ensure a complete cycle for a client experience?
- Have you mapped out a sales process, and guide for your salespeople along with metrics to ensure and measure quality and effectiveness?