Write a Marketing Plan

The best way to put your thoughts coherently together and check that you have considered everything you should is to write yourself a marketing plan. Imagine you need heavy funding and you go to a backer who recognizes that you have a great idea but wants to know how you are going to make money out of it before investing any of his own. What do you tell him?

Ideally, you tell him what you have already told yourself. Explain the product briefly. State the benefits it offers. Pinpoint who will use it. Produce evidence of how many potential users there are. Define how many you expect to convert. Set down what they appear willing to pay. State how you plan to get your goods to them. Outline everything you will be doing to speed sales along. Then do the sums.

List all your costs. Provide a working timetable. Calculate your net income. Subtract outgoing monies from incoming monies and anticipate your profit. Note any special risks and opportunities. Where in doubt, use from-to figures. Summarize the best and worst possible outcomes. There's no need to go into great detail. In fact, a management summary is usually more useful. This way the critical bits stick out.

As you write your plan, you will begin to see how all the pieces fit together. You may even be able to add bits you have overlooked and generally sweeten your plan. When you are satisfied, show your plan to friends who you trust and whose judgment you value. Then lock it away somewhere safe. As circumstances inevitably alter your prospects, revise your plan accordingly.

Keep your investors, supporters, and staff informed so that everyone knows what is happening and keeps pulling in the same direction.

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