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How Will You Promote Your Product(s)?

Okay. So you know your product(s), know your customer, and know your market. Now you need to promote your business and market your product(s) or service(s). To do this, your business plan must contain a good marketing plan, which describes your target market (age, gender, geographic location, income bracket, and so on) and specific ways to market, promote, and sell your product(s) or service(s) to that market.

Your marketing plan should include a marketing strategy (how you'll find your customers and market to them), an advertising plan and budget (how you'll get customers to buy your product and what it will cost to do so), and a public relations plan. It also should identify what advertising and promotional vehicles you'll use to reach your target market. For instance, what advertising mediums will you use to reach your customer? How often will each be used and what will it cost? How about public relations (PR)? Can you attract free PR? How will you do it? What's your PR plan? Will you do it yourself or hire an agency? Every successful PR program has an angle—that is, include what's press-worthy about your business.

Remember, a strong marketing plan does double duty. It acts as a roadmap for you and lets a potential investor know that you not only have a good product or service but know how to sell it. The business world is littered with failures that had a good product or service and an identifiable market but little or no plan on how to sell into it. As my mentor used to say when I'd come to him with a hot new idea: "Great idea, but is it a business?"

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