The secret to running a good business is planning and organization. When you’re able to plan ahead and organize your approach to the future, it bodes well for your ability to keep things running smoothly on all fronts—especially when it comes to budgeting.
With the end of the fiscal year in our sights, now is the prime time to start budgeting for 2016 and that means taking a good, long, hard look at the expenses you’re going to be faced with over the next year and taking the time to allocate funds to all of the essential components of your business. Perhaps the most important of these allocations is the money you’ll be dedicating to your marketing and branding budget.
Planning for marketing perfection
Marketing your small business shouldn’t be a fly by night approach—it needs to be something that’s well thought out and planned with specificities in mind. Budgeting and planning in advance of the upcoming year’s marketing and branding efforts is a first step in the right direction so that you’re not slinging money you don’t really have at half baked marketing ideas.
Now, it may be hard to sit down and plan out multiple campaigns a year in advance or figure out exactly how much you’re going to have to set aside to accomplish the marketing you want to in the coming year, which is why it behooves every small business owner to consult with an expert when setting up their budget.
At AlphaGraphics, we enjoy sitting down with small business owners during the early stages of budgeting, because it allows us to help our clients grow positively over the course of the coming year. In knowing your wants, needs, goals, budget and ideas, we can help you create an airtight marketing plan for the future, complete with pricing and timelines that will keep you out of the black when you’re reviewing your expenses this same time next year!
Inventory, plan and promote
Print materials and signage are going to be core components of any marketing campaign you undertake and thankfully, these components are easy to price out and quote—even a year in advance. This is why, at a minimum, it’s a great idea for you to consider the physicality’s of your marketing platform and get your ducks in a row when planning for 2016.
Where do you start? Easy! Start with what you have! Take a look at your signage inventory, your collection of printed products from the previous year and anything else you may have invested in during prior months and see if these things can be reused or repurposed for campaigns in the future. Qualifying your inventory is going to cut down on costs—even if it’s just reusing a sale sign from a past event or digging into your stock of fliers and handouts.
Once you know what you have, figure out what you need. Again, this is where an AlphaGraphics marketing professional can come in and help you to get a better handle on the future of your marketing endeavors. Whether it’s printed fliers, direct mail, promotional materials, business cards, brochures or anything else, realizing your needs during the initial planning process is going to keep you within your budget and eliminate superfluous costs that can creep up on the unplanned marketer.
Finally, once you know what you have and what you need, you’ll need to set the ball rolling on these items. Break down your marketing campaigns and attach dollar values to these things throughout the year; break down different print and sign products so you have itemized budgets; lock in pricing wherever possible to eliminate flux in your budget—all of these things and more will help you enter the new year with a better handle on what your marketing efforts and funds look like on paper.
Plan ahead and reap the rewards
When you’re running a business, it’s hard to set anything on autopilot. Luckily, if you’re proactive in your planning and take the time to sit down to look at what you’ll need in the future, you can cement a few variables early on—namely your marketing for the upcoming year and the funds you’ll need to set them in motion.
Give your local AlphaGraphics center a call today to learn more about how we can help you take the reigns of your marketing plan for 2016 and what we can do to make this all-important part of your business just a little bit easier in the coming year!