It’s a new year, which means a fresh start for your business. January is the only month where you can clearly look ahead and see the year in full view. What are you going to accomplish this year? Have you developed a plan for your marketing?

It’s not uncommon for small business owners to fly by the seat of their pants with no real plan of what’s going to happen next. When it comes to marketing and developing your brand you must have a plan in place and it must be intentional. Your marketing is the engine that fuels your business development and your income. Your brand is your identity. You relate to your clients and future clients through your brand. It should represent the fabric of your core business and what you do. Does your brand confidently reflect the message you want to communicate?

If not, what is your plan to change that? If it does, how have you effectively done that and what is your plan to reinforce that brand message in 2017?

For those of you that don’t believe in planning or don’t think you have time for it, let’s briefly discuss 3 primary reasons planning is important.

It provides a blueprint to follow. Has an architect ever built a house without plans or a blueprint? Of course not. If an architect cannot create the grand structures you see downtown without a plan, what makes you think you can build a strong brand and marketing platform without a plan? A plan gives you structure to follow. It helps you to know what you’re doing. When it comes to your marketing and building your brand, let’s face it, you don’t want to wander around aimlessly. If you want to achieve real results in your business this year, you must develop a plan to get there. The core of your plan will revolve around your marketing and branding because it paints the face of your business to the outside world. What’s your blueprint?

shutterstock_192500138-310x219.jpgIt keeps you focused. Have you ever had a day where you found yourself busy but at the end of that day, you never really accomplished anything? This is what happens when you don’t have a plan in place for what you want to accomplish. Developing a plan for your marketing enables you to set key objectives from the outset of what you want your marketing to accomplish for you. Once you’ve sketched out your blueprint, follow it daily to keep you focused on reaching your objectives. It is nearly impossible to meet your objectives without a proper plan in place.

It releases creative ideas. Planning is thought to be a left-brain activity and for the most part, it is because it keeps you organized. However, when you start the process of planning; when you slow down for a moment to think about your business, what you want and why you do what you do, it releases creative ideas from within. What I’m telling you is the planning process can be fun. It can be a discovery period when you learn more about your business.

Why now? The first of the year is the best time to plan because your mind is fresh and ready to execute new ideas. Starting your planning in January enables you to foresee your entire year. It’s not too late to put your plan in place. Identify your objectives for 2017. What do you want your marketing to accomplish for your business? Now, draft a plan to accomplish those goals. It’s that simple.