Entrepreneurs are generally allergic to marketing. No really.

We just want to do our jobs – the ones we know and actually like. We don’t always want to figure out how to do a plan or do the research. We’d much rather buy something off the shelf. And by the way – we’d rather it be free. Who has that much money to throw around, anyway?

Sometimes planning how to market your business is right up there with doing your taxes.

I hear this from clients all the time….”I don’t have enough time to figure it out – and I don’t want to spend that much money. Anyway I’m not sure how to do it”.

So then what happens? Well, not much.

Usually we buy into some marketing tool and hope it will be enough. Usually we don’t take the time to figure out if it’s working well, or not. And if we use a few tools, like online directories, networking and the occasional flyer, we may not know for sure which one is working for us.

But the problem is, if we put in the effort, we might have more clients. We might have the kind of clients we really want, instead of just the ones who find us; the ones we deal with, because any business is better than none, right? And we might save money on marketing tools that don’t work for us.

That’s the dilemma. When you’re not the expert, and you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend, but you want to grow your business, what do you do? I think you have to decide whether the effort will be worth the business you get from it. And you have to understand how to create a marketing plan.

Although there are a lot of resources on the web, it seems that a simple marketing plan for small business is needed. Maybe you can start with this kind of outline to see what you can do by yourself. Or at least to understand what’s involved.

I’ve just put together an outline of 10 steps to create a marketing plan. I’ll be talking more about these steps in future posts but for now, check it out – and let me know what you think. It’s a free download in the top right corner.

Thinking About How Entrepreneurs Learn to Grow Their Business

Lately, while building the mentorship program at The Creative Space I’ve been thinking about the kind of help entrepreneurs need when they’re launching and growing their businesses. It’s not as though information is not available. There’s a lot of information on the web, for example. In fact, you could (and probably do) spend hours poking around, pinging from one set of ideas to another.

Well information is good – but it’s kind of theoretical versus applied – and is it the best way to learn? I’ve become convinced that just one method of learning (like online) is not enough. Ideas are everywhere – but that’s not the issue. The issue is execution.

Some people do it well – make the leap from theory to practical – but most of us need some help to translate ideas into the context of our own business. And that’s not always easy. That’s why I’m a fan of coworking at The Creative Space – and programs like Grow Vantage, and the SEA program – that help entrepreneurs learn alongside their peers. Add collaboration and a networking environment into the mix – and entrepreneurs learn faster.

One of the great truths in life is that everyone learns differently… so one size definitely doesn’t fit all.

How do you learn? What’s important to you? I’d love to hear how you learn and apply knowledge – what helps you learn – and what doesn’t. I’m collecting real experience from entrepreneurs to improve mentorship. Email me ( patricia@incitefulsolutions.com) or post on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/incitefulsolutions). Thanks.

The 10 Step Marketing Plan for Small Business

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