Find this page online at: http://developers.evrsoft.com/article/internet-marketing/seo/kick-start-your-business.shtml

Kick Start Your Business

By Debbie Solomon
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004

Do you know where or how to start planning this years advertising?
The fact is, SUCCESSFUL advertising MUST be planned and strategized or the effect on your business will not be something you can take to the bank.

But where should you start? The most obvious place is your Marketing Plan, which forms part of your Business Plan. But, since more than 90% of small business people have neither, here's a useful place to begin - Your Promotional Calendar.

This is one of the most important selling tools you can have. Done properly, it can maximize your budget, save you lots of money and avoid potential mistakes Plus it gives you a basis for long-term cash flow projections. A Promotional Calendar is simply a list of events happening in your market place during the coming year that may offer opportunities for promotion or perhaps highlight times not to promote, or to advertise differently. It helps you to plan a coordinated advertising campaign for your business, well in advance.

You can even make it simple by doing a Quarterly Promotional Calender, if projections for the full year are not fully secured. It is easier to manage your advertising budget this way.

It's simple, it's easy, it's obvious - and most people in small business don't do it! Don't be one of them. Here's a quick run-down on how to create your own Promotional Calendar.

Report No. 1

1: Setting Up:
Take a sheet of lined paper and divide it into three vertical columns: Date, Events, Promotional Ideas.

2: Dates and Events:
List all holidays and events (local, state and national). Now, here is alittle suggestion to give you an idea of when it is BEST to advertise, spending a larger amount of your advertising dollar, and when to minimize your advertising dollar. ie- Holidays: Start A LARGE advertising Campaign 8 weeks prior for business opporunities,services, etc... That is when most people are LOOKING around. Spend a minimal amount of your advertising dollars one week prior to the specified holiday through one week after the specified holiday.

3: Promotion Ideas:
List any bright ideas for related promotions. Brainstorm various ideas. List absolutely everything. Some suggestions, such as Free Giveaways, Free E-Books, Free Ideas and Suggestions. FREE Information is always a Plus.

4: Fine-tuning :
Begin sifting your ideas for worthwhile promotions to drive your advertising and getting the leading edge.

This will help get you get started toward achieving the level of profit you have in mind for your business and help you get a head start on the competition.

After examining the best times to advertise so that you will not be wasting your money and efforts, now you need to focus on squeezing the most out of your hard-earned advertising dollar. The best way to go about doing that is to create an advertising budget for the year.

Report No. 2

This essential business tool goes overlooked by most small business advertisers. Perhaps you are not sure how to even go about setting an advertising budget. There are three commonly used methods. The question is not "how much will I spend this year, or this quarter?" but "how much should I spend?"

1: Percentage% of Sales
The most commonly used method because it seems safe: You can't spend more than you make in relation to your sales results. You need to allow for three extras when you use this method:
New business
Inflation
Competitive situations.

2: Sales
Take your Sales from previous quarters, deduct all expenditures to get your profits. Take 20% of your profits in order to budget that for your Advertising Campaign. If you are NEW to the Business industry, you need to use your own discretion on what you can afford each month. It is imperative to remember to maintain records of all advertising expenditures, and what each profit turnaround resulted. This will help you for your Quarterly Promotional Calender.

No. 3: Goal/Task
This is the most accurate method and the one most used by professionals. It requires: Specific goals for each promotion or ad. Accurate cost estimates.

Add individual goal/task totals to calculate annual/quarterly advertising budget. Beware of wishful thinking, Over-optimism and self-indulgence when setting your advertising budget. It's a good idea to keep aside a 5% to 10% reserve fund for emergencies, too, such as new competitors. Strike a balance between what you should spend and what you can realistically afford, using past results as a guide, plus the incentive to do a little better this year.

With these marketing tools, (your Promotional Calendar & Advertising Budget for 2000) in hand, you will be able to examine your businesses weaknesses and set the bar a little higher to start Your Next Quarterly Advertising Campaogn out right. TO YOUR PROFIT!

About the Author
Sara Hardy & Debbie Solomon are the creators of the world renowned Marketing Trendz Workshop devised for small and home businesses in learning all the various marketing tools and techniques that are required for success online. They are also the author of "Mind Your Own Business" E-Book, and The Online Exchange Ezine. Please visit their site at: (http://www.marketingtrendz.com) mailto:mtrendz@cs.com