#Marketing is like a cake – You need all the ingredient’s for it to work

Marketing is just like a cake – miss one of the ingredients out and it won’t work – It is important to have tested your plan before putting in ink. Just like grandma’s perfect pound cake, she never measured anything. For you, however, to pass it on, you have to measure everything. You know in your mind exactly what you want your business to do. You have done your market research, projected financial investments and profit and have a clear mission. But just like the written recipe, your formal business plan creates a blue print of standards to which you will adhere. Because you have been working your business, you have a clear understanding of what does and doesn’t work. And just like with the written recipe, you know when and how any changes will affect your plan, and what does or doesn’t work.

Once you have actually begun working on your business, the plan, in essence, writes itself. Through trial and error, of course, you mix all your ingredients, follow specific steps, and eventually, have the recipe that is ready to share with the world.

Before you begin, grease and flour your 10” pan – Sugar is the only thing that can do its job. White sugar or brown sugar, there really isn’t anything that can take its place. Just like knowing who your customers are, knowing your industry is equally important. Is it on an up-trend or a down-trend? How much money was spent in this industry last year? Who are the leaders and who is my industry competition. What strategic alliances can I form? Your success hinges on these points.

In a cake, one egg probably won’t get your too far. And in business one marketing strategy won’t either. It’s not enough to turn on the lights and flip over the open sign. Your plan for marketing is like the eggs in your cake; it holds the whole thing together! You know your industry standards, who your competitors are and who your target customers are. But if they don’t know you exist, the whole thing falls apart! How are you going to bring them in the door? You aren’t going to mail postcards to teenagers (they won’t read it), and you aren’t going to rely on social media to advertise to senior citizens (they are too busy reading the newspaper/mail). Understanding how your customers want to communicate is imperative.

Baking is a science and so is business. Your mission, like butter is not only what holds things together, it also gives flavor. Your mission, whatever it is, is what your customers, investors, partners and employees “taste” in everything you do. Like the butter, you want your mission to be soft and easy to work with or understand. A mission statement laden with industry and scientific jargon won’t go down easily. Keep your language simple but compelling. While you’re thinking about your mission, mix the sugar and butter together until it’s fluffy.

This doesn’t seem like a lot of financial planning, but like your baking powder, a little goes a long way. You have to know how much money you need to start your business as well as how much it will take to sustain and grow. Without an “active” financial plan, your business, like your cake without leavening, will fall flat.

We can’t forget the icing – The first thing that is read in your business plan is your executive summary. But most suggest that this is the last thing to write. Why? The summary gives you a hint to everything that is in the pages to follow. When a cake is beautifully decorated, it makes you want some. If it’s not, people will just walk by. The same can be said for your executive summary. If it is not well-written, your audience is not going to want to read any further. After you’ve finished your business plan and have put all your “ingredients” together, you look back and sum it all up.

Make it inviting and appealing so that your reader will look forward to learning or tasting more of what you’ve offered.

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