marketing

Formulating a Marketing Plan for your Startup

A marketing plan is a document outlining the market strategies of a business and how to implement them.

This is done through a market analysis which is the future characteristics, behaviours and trends in your target market.

Historical data is used to make informed estimates that are predictive in determining the direction of future trends.

Tips on how to formulate your business marketing plan

Set your marketing goals

It is wise to have SMART marketing goals as a startup. These plans allow you to plan activities around community events that are in line with your marketing goals. A good way to define your market is to separate them into categories: these are immediate, short-term and long-term categories.

The marketing goals could aim at increasing your income, expand your client base, discourage competition, improve your brand image, promote your existing and new products and services and gaining or retain market share.

Conduct a market audit

This is the review of all marketing activities that have occurred in your market segment over the past; such as in the last six months, one year or two.

Make effort to review all adverts conducted, marketing emails sent to your clients, marketing calls done, brochures and any other form of marketing that you have done to bring traction to your business.

A clear market plan is developed through a thorough business and market analysis.

Conduct market research

The purpose of market research is to draw a realistic picture of your product or service to your current and target market share.

In doing the research, it is possible to forecast future growth for your target market, know your competitors and explore other market niches available in the market segment.

Market research is a hectic process yet very crucial. It calls for a dedicated team to come with detailed and useful research.

Market planning through analysis of the research

The marketing department can draw meaningful information from the analysed data, collected from the market research. Through analysis, the business will be able to understand the market needs and wants of its target clients.

Once the analysis has been done, the startup will be able to align itself with providing products and services that meet the needs of the customers. Additionally, a research analysis will guide the marketing team in understanding the marketing strategy that fits best.

The findings from the research may prompt the business to modify some of its goals to fit the market trends. 

Identify your target audience

Market planning involves identifying and understanding your target audience to direct your market efforts.

Focus on your market segment’s demographics, geographic and psychographic details and how effectively you can plan your market approach to fit them.

Determine a Budget

The business should allocate a budget to the marketing plan in consideration of the business goals. For a Start-up, it is good to know that there exist marketing strategies very cheap to implement. Strategies like customer referrals are very effective yet they cost nothing. A memorable customer experience is all you ought to do.  

Develop market strategy

A concrete market strategy is drafted for the market research done. These strategies should be related to a specific goal and should have numerous action points.

Create an implementation timetable

Create a schedule that shows the systematic marketing activities to be undertaken and its team players. It should include the timelines and specific activities to be done.

Outsourcing of competent skills or retraining of marketing employees would be necessary for successful strategy implementation.

Evaluation plan

Successful marketing plans depends on effective implementation. This is possible through continuous monitoring and evaluation of the bit by bit strategies implementation. It is advisable to have proper monitoring and evaluation strategies in the marketing plan.

A good marketing plan is a key to the success of any startup. Some of the parting shots include; a commitment to the implementation plan, a timely allocation of adequate resources, flexibility to inevitable changes, actively and frankly brainstorming with your staff on the milestones and setbacks encountered along the way.

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Financial planning and budgeting for your Start-up

Financial planning and budgeting are some of the oldest terms that we have ever heard in the business world. You may be tempted to ask yourself, “What is the difference?” Let’s look at these terms.

Financial planning is simply a long term, strategic road map of your business that tracks your progress annually, semi-annually or quarterly. 

Budgeting is a short term money management plan that tracks key incomes and expenses. This is done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Regular creation and tracking of your budgets will help you realize your financial plan for your startup.

How to prepare a financial plan for your Start-up

Counter checking your strategic plan

Financial planning is dependent on the long-term strategic plan set by the business. This is the roadmap to which the business will take shape.

These strategic plans include expansion strategies such as acquiring operation machines and equipment and recruitment of more staff.

Determining the finance channels to acquire capital is also crucial in reviewing your strategic plan.

Financial planning entails preparing financial projections

A financial projection is a foreshadow of where a business plans to see itself in a specified period. This can be quarterly, semi-annually or annually. It is an educated guess based on past data recorded by the business. 

Key incomes and expenses are used to prepare projected income statements and balance sheets made by the business both recurrent and one-time expenses.

You will get better vision of the projected health of your business.

Financing 

A good financial projection is a leeway to convincing your lenders of your repayment capability. Consulting a financial expert can be a great way to ensure you are taking the right direction.

True financial projections ensure your business avoids crisis when it comes to repayment. This is so since the records are a true reflection of your business at that period.

Having a workable investment and repayment plan is worth discussing with your business team, prior to seeking funds from your prospective lenders.

Financial planning involves having emergency funds

Our lives are full of uncertainties and so is any business especially in this era. Unforeseen things could happen at an unexpected hour. For this reason, it is a good practice to have cash reserves or maintain a creditworthy profile, just in case you have to run to the banks for refuge.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

Regular monitoring of your budgets and financial plans sets a good basis to evaluate your financial status. Strategies to regularly reflect on your progress as a business in implementing your financial plan, help you to stick within the plan and do adjustments where necessary.  

A financial tool will be useful in actualizing this plan. Have a look at startup suite for proper financial planning and budgeting for your start-up. 

Remote Work

Remote Work And Collaboration Within Teams.

Remote work is the new normal for many people. With the Covid-19 pandemic biting through our economies, individuals and companies have been forced to make unprecedented changes to safeguard their livelihoods and ensure that their businesses survive.

While other companies have resorted to minimizing company expenses by laying off their workers, reducing salaries up-to 50%, remote work presents a viable solution to working productively and collaborating with team members.

Startup Suite provides a platform that allows you to digitize and automate your business processes.

Remote Work And Collaboration Within Teams.
Startup Suite HR Module Screenshot

Our HR module allows remote approval of staff requests and tracking of staff attendance as well as monitoring staff productivity levels.

In addition to this, teams are able to collaborate on projects as well as assign tasks to each other and ensure delivery within set timelines. Consolidating your work in one platform has its advantages; something Startup Suite allows you to explore.

Your team is able to visualize company projects and feel part of the team. This visual representation of workflow allows each individual to assess their contribution to projects and ultimately the company.

Remote work brings with it, its own set of challenges. Home for a long time has been that safe place, where you unwind and leave work in the office.

However, with this unprecedented shift towards remote work, the challenge of creating a healthy work-life balance weighs in.

Remote Work And Collaboration Within Teams.
Startup Suite Work Module

You may be spending more time in front of a screen, than you are spending taking care of yourself.  Productivity is great, but 12 hours in front of your laptop is not healthy. 

Learn how to create healthy boundaries with your work devices and find other things to indulge in, that are very different from your work routine. Take breaks to stretch or relax between your long work sessions. This will even rejuvenate you and keep your creative juices flowing.

Our time log feature can be useful in monitoring the hours you spend working on projects and help in planning your day to achieve that healthy balance between your work, and creating time for life.

Going forward, we will explore ways to help you stay productive in an environment set up to make you relax.

“When that Netflix series and your bed are calling,

and you know that voice is more compelling than the task to be done!

If you are like me,

Sleep is life!

But we need to overcome!”

Poem by me.

We will be exploring how to ignore your bed when it calls on the next blog

Till next time folks and family!