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Problems in Small Business Marketing 4: Lack of Plan

If you had a week with nothing scheduled, nothing to do, what’s the most important thing you could spend your time on to improve your business’ marketing?

What if you had 2 hours to spare? What kind of marketing project could you knock off in that time?

What if you had 5 minutes to spare? What’s the single most important marketing task you could do in 5 minutes?

Odds are quite good (I’d say, about 100%) that you don’t have a week with nothing scheduled. But 2-hour blocks might well be doable. And you probably often have 5- or 10-minute chunks with nothing pressing to do.

What if you used those moments to work on your marketing?

It sounds great, in theory. But in practice, how do you even get started? What can you do in 5 minutes that’s useful?

A whole lot of things, actually. In 5 minutes you could research available domain names. In 5 minutes you could register a domain name. In 5 minutes you could browse forums for tips on installing WordPress, and bookmark them for later. In 5 minutes you could write or outline a blog post (depending on how long a post it is). In 5 minutes you could link several of your pages together.

There are certainly parts of building a website that would go better if you can find hour-long chunks to do it in, but you can get an awful lot of it done in a bunch of 5-minute increments…. if you know what you’re doing, and what needs to be done next.

The thing is, when you only have a few minutes, you can’t afford to spend any of it figuring out what to do. You have to be able to consult a list, and say “Oh, yeah, I need to post this link to my blog” and do it.

That’s where the marketing plan comes in. If you have a good feeling for where your marketing’s at right now, then you can figure out things you’d like to do to improve it. If you have a list of things you’d like to do, you can create a list of First Steps and Next Actions. And if you have a list of Next Actions, you can glance down it and find something that can be done in your current timeframe, with your available tools.

Having a plan also helps you get around the lack-of-time problem, because it lets you use available time in smaller chunks. You don’t have to find a week to make a website; you just have to use the time you have more effectively.

So that’s why lack of plan is a problem… now how do you get around it?

Well step one is to get any kind of marketing plan at all. I have a template that lets you get a picture of what your marketing program looks like right now (yes, you have a marketing program. You just don’t call it that).

Step two would be to buy Bare Minimum Marketing, so you can identify which parts of your marketing program need to be updated, and how. You can pre-order it at http://www.indiegogo.com/Bare-Minimum-Marketing.