One of the advantages of being a solopreneur or small business is you can change direction faster than a large corporation; there are no committees or layers of management to consult. It’s just you making a decision.

However, too many small business owners get used to flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to making decisions – particularly decisions about marketing. This can have serious long-term effects on your business. If you don’t do enough marketing and your marketing doesn’t get results, you won’t have a business for long.

Here are 3 reasons why you need a written marketing plan:

1. You put off marketing.

Because you started your business to serve clients, not be a marketer, it’s probably not your favourite activity. As a result, I bet you put it off until other tasks are done. As a result, many days – or even weeks – it doesn’t get done at all.

Then you notice your sales are down. You start to worry. Now it’s time to do marketing. You jump in with enthusiasm – or desperation – working at it until new customers start coming back. Then when you get busy, you start to neglect your marketing again.

This boom and bust cycle can be prevented by creating a marketing plan then applying it consistently.

2. You think marketing takes too much time

Let’s face it, there’s no shortcut. Marketing takes time. From planning a newspaper ad, to updating your website, to getting involved with social media, it takes time out of your busy schedule. You’re probably already spending more time each day than you did when you worked for someone else.

That’s why you need to be as efficient as possible when it comes to marketing. This is where a good marketing plan comes in. Instead of spending time each day trying to decide which marketing activity you should do, you only have to look at your plan to see what’s next. It can also save you money because when a sales rep comes in to sell you advertising in the latest supplement you can quickly look at your plan and say “sorry, that doesn’t fit into my plan.”

In addition, by planning your marketing activities you can ensure that your print advertising, your website, your brochures and your online advertising all work together. When they work in tandem you get better results, which means you have to spend less time.