APM Business Planning

Year End Actions for SME Businesses

We have a good understanding of the Covid vaccine, the Christmas restrictions have been announced, and the markets are up. But what’s next on the agenda for business owners and SME’s… 

What’s next on your Business Agenda?

With President Trump finally conceding that the transition of office to Joe Biden must begin, and very welcome news of not one but three Covid vaccines available to us – albeit with the details yet to be finalised – it feels like a good time to be optimistic. Of course, we all understand that we’re not out of the woods yet. We have the toughened three tiers to contend with first, and hands, face, space is still very much a priority and responsibility of us all. But the Prime Minister has suggested that Easter 2021 is a realistic period for the all clear! Good news indeed!

Business Planning

So what does this all mean for business? In global terms the Dow hit record highs as the markets welcomed the news. At a more local level where the majority of us reside, it’s time to plan ahead. Hopefully you have now completed your business planning process and taken into consideration everything you have learned from 2020. And, if so, you will understand your business objectives and goals for 2021 and have agreed a budget to deliver on them.

What you might not yet have considered is how to translate those goals into tangible and SMART objectives, – this is where your marketing strategy comes into play.

Marketing Strategy

Hopefully, even if you ripped up and binned your 2020 marketing plan back in March, you’ve got a copy online to refer back to. It might be worth taking a look to see if there’s anything you can salvage, even if it does need some rethinking. If not, follow our simple steps below.

Your marketing strategy doesn’t need to be overly complicated, but it should address some minimum criteria. It goes without saying that it should be appropriate to your business and take into consideration your budget and resources. The approach we recommend is as follows:

  • Marketing Objectives – these objectives must be consistent with the overriding aims and objectives of the business.
  • Market Review – especially relevant given what’s occurred during 2020! A PESTEL analysis can be particularly helpful here.
  • Target Audience – again particularly relevant right now, when your target audience may have changed their buying behaviours (or even changed completely).
  • SWOT Analysis – to help identify internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as any external threats and opportunities. 2020 may have raised some things you hadn’t previously considered.
  • Competitive Intelligence – many businesses have been forced to pivot in 2020, so the makeup of your competitors may have changed. It is also very worthwhile considering why your target customers or clients might choose them over you.
  • Marketing Planning – this is the definition of the approach and activities the company will undertake to achieve the marketing objectives. It will include the media, forecast costs and timings and, just as importantly, incorporate how you will measure those activities.

There are a number of other things that can be considered within the marketing strategy, such as brand, price, packaging and sales streams to name just a few. However, the above will be a really good place to start.

Next Steps

Marketing is a vital part of your business’ success and, for a small business with limited resource, it can be a real stretch to accommodate everything in-house. This is where using the services of an outsourced marketing consultant can be a cost-effective and flexible solution. The majority offer a flexible approach and can assist either with the strategy in isolation and/or incorporate delivery of the agreed marketing activities on a retained basis. The latter offers the benefits of an outsourced marketing department.

Take a Breath

There’s no denying it’s been a rubbish year. Even if your business hasn’t been affected, you’re sure to have been personally and vice versa. So give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far!

Do take the time to recognise the efforts that your teams (employees and suppliers) have made in keeping the business going this year; consider how you can reward them without the normal Christmas party. Perhaps a personalised gift and a handwritten thank you card or perhaps you can take your party virtual! It’s not difficult to do and with a little bit of ingenuity can be a lot of fun!

If you would like to have a chat about your marketing requirements for 2021, please call Alison Page on tel: 07963 002065 or email: hello@alisonpagemarketing.co.uk. You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.