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Spend time developing your marketing plan

SUN Columnist

Do you have a good marketing program? The U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov) provides resources on marketing your business and creating great marketing plans. Read below to gather more ideas.

Marketing programs, though widely varied, are all aimed at convincing people to try out or keep using particular products or services. Business owners should carefully plan their marketing strategies and performance to keep their market presence strong. Marketing takes time, money and lots of preparation, and one of the best ways to prepare yourself is to develop a solid marketing plan.

A strong marketing plan will ensure you’re not only sticking to your schedule, but that you’re spending your marketing funds wisely and appropriately. A marketing plan also includes everything from understanding your target market and your competitive position in that market, to how you intend to reach that market and differentiate yourself from your competition in order to make a sale.

Thus, successful marketing requires timely and relevant market information. An inexpensive research program, based on questionnaires given to current or prospective customers, can often uncover dissatisfaction or possible new products or services. Market research will also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Population shifts, legal developments and the local economic situation should be monitored to quickly identify problems and opportunities.

Your marketing plan should also have a well-developed marketing budget. The plan and budget should be maintained on an annual basis, at a minimum. Yet, this budget should have the flexibility to change when unexpected marketing opportunities arise. There may be times when you need to throw in another unplanned marketing tactic to help you reach your market more effectively. Furthermore, if you launch a new product or service, take time to revisit your original plan and budget. You want them to work for you, not against you.

At the end of the day, the time spent developing your marketing plan is time well spent because it defines how you connect with your customers. And that’s an investment worth making. To learn more, visit sba.gov.

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We welcome new member High Country Travel and Tours with owner Julie Mincey. Julie has owned High Country Travel and Tours since 2007. She moved to Pagosa Springs from Monte Vista three years ago; she fell in love with Pagosa after traveling here with her daughter for getaway weekends. Julie is here to help you with all of your travel needs. You can reach Julie at 731-2330.

We would like to thank our renewing members: Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado, Team Murphy Realty — LaWana DeWees, Eco-Safe Wastewater LLC, Riff Raff Brewing Company, San Juan Water Conservancy District and Smithco Enterprises, LLC.

Happy May Day from the Chamber staff to you. May Day is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and a public holiday in many cultures.

This story was posted on May 1, 2014.