Small Business Marketing: 10 Steps to Help You Plan for a Successful 2006

Debbie LaChusa

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As 2005 winds down, many small business owners will find themselves naturally looking back at the past year and evaluating how well their business did. It's normal to look back at what we've accomplished and also at the long list of things we intended to do but never got around to.

If business was good, that's great. But why not take steps now to make sure 2006 is even better. To make sure you actually accomplish all of your intentions so you're not sitting around a year from now, lamenting all the things you wished you'd had time to do.

If business was less than great, there's no better time than right now to sit down and create a marketing plan, or as I like to call them a “Success Plan" for 2006. Because when you have a plan to follow you'll be more likely to actually follow through on all of your ideas and turn them into new clients and cash flow.

So what steps can you take right now to create the success you want in 2006?

Here's a list of 10. Set an intention right now to do one or two of these steps every week between now and December 31st and you'll be ideally positioned for success in 2006.

1) Evaluate your 2005 goals and how close you came to achieving them.

2) Evaluate the current status of your business. How close or far away is it from what you want it to look like. This may be in terms of the size of the business, the number and type of clients you're servicing, the revenue your business is generating, the type of work you are doing, and even the number of hours you're working and whether or not you have any help.

3) Evaluate each and every one of the marketing activities you undertook over the past year. How did they work? What did they cost you? How many clients or how much revenue did they generate in return?

4) Take a look at the clients or customers you're serving. Are they the people you thought you'd have as clients when the year started? Or are they different? Are they your ideal clients, or are they just the clients you ended up with.

5) Review your 2005 marketing budget. Did you spend more or less than you planned? If you didn't keep track of your spending, take the time to go back now and put together a summary of what you spent on marketing. This combined with the results you got and how close you came to reaching your goals will be necessary information for creating a 2006 success plan.

6) Set new goals for 2006 and create a vision of the success you'd like to achieve.

7) Establish your marketing budget for the year. Make sure it's money you have available to spend on marketing and make the commitment now to invest it in your business.

8) Determine the marketing activities you are going to use in 2006. Refer back to your 2005 results and select those activities that delivered the best return on investment. This may mean deleting a few of the activities you used this year and adding some new ones to test.

9) Map out your marketing activities on a calendar. Include prep-work on the calendar so you have a true map of what you need to do each month to stick with your plan.

10) Determine a method for tracking each and every marketing activity in your plan. And establish one day every month for reviewing your results, both for your individual marketing activities and toward your overall 2006 goals.

If you take the time to go through these 10 steps now and create a marketing plan for 2006 you will greatly improve your chances for success. So start now, take just one or two steps a week, create your plan and watch your business grow in 2006.

Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to make marketing your own business as simple as answering 10 questions. Learn more about this unique, step-by-step system and get a free 10-week Marketing E-Course when you subscribe to the free, weekly 10stepmarketing Ezine at


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