33+ Free or Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Business Today

  1. Create an eye catching website
  2. Build a brand that focuses on customer retention
  3. Carry your creative business cards EVERYWHERE
  4. Ask family and friends to give you a shoutout on Facebook
  5. Dominate social media
  6. Use promo videos on Facebook
  7. Network with other business owners in your industry
  8. Network with local businesses that compliment your products/ services
  9. Hand out promotional material to anyone who’ll take it
  10. Ask local businesses if you can place flyers or cards inside their location
  11. Host a giveaway with a popular blogger
  12. Collaborate with other businesses on social media
  13. Volunteer with a charity and ask for a shout out (after you’ve significantly benefitted them)
  14. Run a Facebook ad
  15. Take over a corner and hand out samples of your product
  16. Pin your brand’s infographics and checklists on Pinterest
  17. Create a bangin’ blog that will get people talking
  18. Engage with your customers on social media
  19. Be transparent with all of your customers
  20. Add your business to any relevant online directories
  21. Build and use your email list to your advantage
  22. Use affiliates to promote your products
  23. Post 70% nonpromotional content on your social media and 30% promotional (People are more likely to trust you when you’re not constantly talking about yourself.)
  24. Guest post on a popular blog
  25. Submit a popular blog post of your own to Huffington Post
  26. Join Facebook groups where other entrepreneurs/ bloggers hang out
  27. Position yourself as a subject matter expert
  28. Use click bait titles (that lead to awesome content)
  29. Use social sharing buttons in emails and on site pages and blog posts
  30. Comment on popular blogs that you find on Pinterest (and be genuine!)
  31. Do a webinar and promote it on Facebook to build your list and sell products
  32. Join an online networking group
  33. Join a blogging network
  34. Create or join a mastermind group with other entrepreneurs
  35. Ask popular or midlevel bloggers to promote your product for a significant commission
  36. Hype your audience up with a launch countdown
  37. Offer incentives for those who recommend your business to their friends and colleagues

There you have it!  What marketing strategies have you used to market your business for free?  Share them below in the comments, and let’s chat!

Stop Waiting for Your Billion-Dollar Idea and Do This Instead

bill-gates

Billionaire entrepreneur Bill Gates Photograph by Ida Mae Astute ©2016 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Eimantas Balciunas

Conventional wisdom says that if entrepreneurs want to be successful they should strive to create breakthrough tech products in new and huge markets.

Conventional wisdom is wrong.

Yes, it’s incredible when an entrepreneur develops a billion-dollar technology that changes the world and defines a new category of a business, but it’s also rare. Consider that fewer than 200 tech startups are valued at $1 billion or more right now. That’s right — just 200 out of all the startups out there have reached unicorn status. The chances of you starting one are slim. You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning.

What wannabe entrepreneurs often fail to see is that you don’t have to aim to be a billion-dollar company, start a new market from scratch, or create a breakthrough product. You can start with something you already love and know well, copy the existing products out there, and focus your energy on creative marketing.

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Millionaires Lost a Lot of Money in 2015

And 36 fell off the billionaire pedestal

This approach works because it puts the odds in your favor. Rather than taking on a big product and market risk, you copy what already works in markets that are already proven. This frees up resources to focus on being the best marketing innovator in your niche.

The challenge with this approach , of course, is that large, competitive markets tend to have well-funded, well-branded competitors. Fortunately, small bootstrapp ed startups have two advantages: speed and edginess. Startups can go from decision to action in just hours. Large companies, on the other hand, are almost never early adopters because of risk-aversion and decision inertia.

Being an early adopter is powerful because there’s less noise from other marketers and more curiosity from users who want to explore. In just the last year, Facebook made a major change to its newsfeed algorithm and created bots and instant articles . Instagram released a new direct-response ad product. Snapchat went mainstream. All of these are opportunities for startups looking for creative marketing opportunities.


Time and time again, we’ve all seen strong brands emerge from creative marketing. For example, Helloflo, a feminine care product brand, went from less than
 $100,000 in revenue to more than $1 million with just two viral videos. Launched in 2014, it was acquired by SheKnowsMedia this year. DJ Khaled became a mainstream personality by being an early adopter of Snapchat. Finally, 14 months after launching, the Dollar Shave Club posted their first video to YouTube. That one video was seen over 23 million times and turned the company into a household name. This year, Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion.Being an early adopter was how my company, Travel Ticker, broke into the crowded travel space almost a year ago . When we launched, we were looking for ways to help our company’s marketing go viral. We saw the YouTube videos of two of the best rooftoppers in the word, Ivan Kuznetsov and Oleg Cricket, and knew we had to work with them. So, we offered to pay for a trip for them to anywhere in the world to record their next stunt if we could put it on our You T ube channel. They ended up recording themselves climbing the Eiffel Tower and walking, flipping, jumping, and doing handstands on ledges of skyscrapers across the world. That one campaign has led to over 17 million views across all media platforms and has been an incredible investment for us.

Instead of focusing on your big billion-dollar idea, focus on doing some really smart work with the tools that are out there. The number of social media and marketing platforms is exploding, and this means that there has never been a better time to succeed as a creative marketer.

Eimantas Balciunas is the co-founder and CEO of Travel Ticker

4 Ways to Market Your Bootstrapped Startup Online

 

Happy businessman with growing share

 

Some marketing strategies become less effective and some more effective. As a startup with limited resources, you need to pay especially close attention to what’s current so you can get the most bang for your marketing budget. You already know that you have to setup social media accounts. But here are few other ways you may not have considered.

  1. Make an Explainer Video

Everyone knows that video production is effective for business, but many startups dismiss the idea because they believe it’s expensive. The truth is that it’s nowhere near as expensive as you think. A simple slideshow with a narrator will cost you no more than a hundred dollars to purchase the software and learn how to use it.

Yet video marketing growth can pay dividends. Studies have shown that it’s one of the most effective marketing tactics around.

  1. Get Smart About Content Marketing

You likely already know that content marketing will make up the bulk of your online marketing efforts. These content pieces are longer than the average blog and they answer specific customer queries and issues. If your target audience types in a long tail query, a piece of content will appear, and it should be your content.

Recently, sites like 40Billion.com have made this task easier by broadcasting and promoting your content to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads, future retweets and promoted company listings were created for entrepreneurs  and marketers to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising.

  1. Focus on Existing Customers

Whenever someone mentions marketing they automatically think of trying to attract the masses. Marketing to the people who already know you can be just as effective. When you think about it, 80% of your revenue will come from just 20% of your customers.

Your most loyal customers will make up the bulk of your business. Direct your marketing campaign to those who have already bought from you through your email list and through staying in touch in order to turn them from buyers into brand ambassadors.

  1. Manage Your Online Reputation

The online reputation industry is huge. The power of word-of-mouth marketing can’t be underestimated. The reality is that people have the power.

Managing your business’ online reputation is the key. It’s about setting up Google Alerts for your company name and monitoring every mention of your brand. Not only is your aim to bury the bad apples with a cascade of positive reviews, your aim is to find out what people dislike the most about your business.

By keeping your finger on the pulse of public opinion, you can change your business to ensure that you are not sabotaging your formal marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

Bootstrapping with a startup is the reality for many businesses that have just got off the ground and need to spread the word. Although it would be ideal to have a significant installation of investment, this isn’t always possible.

Just because you are struggling with money in the short-term doesn’t mean that you can’t become a success through effective low-cost marketing online. There are many companies that have become launched successful brands and become household names, even while bootstrapping. Effective use of resources is the key.

 

How would you sell Hair combs to Monks?

This is a great story, which taught me how to multiply my results in my sales career. I have often shared this with my students, to demonstrate how a shift in mindset and attitude can make a significant difference.

The Story:

3 sales professionals applied to work for a huge company. As they were all evenly qualified, the interviewer decided to set a sales challenge and the person who sold the most would be awarded the job.

The challenge was to sell combs to monks of any temple up in the mountains. “You have 3 days, and the person who sells the most will get the job” said the interviewer.

After 3 days, the 3 applicants returned, and reported their results.

Candidate 1 said “I managed to sell one comb. The monks scolded me, saying I was openly mocking them. Disappointed, I gave up and left. But on my way back, I saw a junior monk with an itchy scalp; he was constantly scratching his head. I told him the comb would help him with his scratching and he bought one comb”

Candidate 2 said “That’s good, but I did better. I sold 10 combs.” Excited, the interviewer asked “How did you do it?” Candidate 2 replied “I observed that the visitors had very messy hair due to the strong winds they faced while walking to the temple. I convinced the monk to give out combs to the visitors so they could tidy themselves up and show greater respect during their worship.”

Candidate 3 stepped up “Not so fast, I sold more than both of them.” “How many did you sell” asked the interviewer.

“A thousand combs”

“Wow! How did you do it?” the interviewer exclaimed.

“I went to one of the biggest temples there, and thanked the Senior Master for serving the people and providing a sacred place of worship for them. He was very gracious and said he would like to thank and appreciate his visitors for their support and devotion. I suggested that the best way would be to offer his visitors a momento and the blessing of Buddha. I showed him the wooden combs which I had engraved words of blessings and told him people would use the combs daily and would serve as a constant reminder to do good deeds. He liked the idea, and proceeded to order a thousand combs”

You got lucky,” one of the other candidates said bitterly.

“Not really,” the interviewer countered. “He had a plan, which was why he had the comb engraved prior to his visit. Even if that temple did not want it, another one surely would.”

“There is more,” the third candidate smiled. “I went back to the temple yesterday to check on the Master. He said many visitors told their friends and family about the comb with the Buddha’s blessing. Now even more people are visiting every day. Everyone is asking for the comb, and giving generous donations too! The temple is more popular than ever, and the Master says he will run out of the combs in a month… and will need to order more!”

Conclusion:

The three different candidates show us the different levels of sales performance:

Candidate 1 displayed the most basic level, which is to meet the prospect’s personal needs. The monk with the itchy scalp had a personal need; it was specific to him only.

Candidate 2 shows the next level – anticipating and creating new needs for the prospect. Perhaps the monk doesn’t have an obvious need for the comb, but how can it still be beneficial to him? When you can educate the prospect on new possibilities and benefits for his business, you are already outperforming your competitors.

Candidate 3 demonstrates the best level of all; an ongoing relationship resulting in repeat sales and referrals. Everyone was a winner, the monk, the devotees, the 3rd candidate and the interviewer. Help your prospects benefit their prospects, to create maximum value. View each prospect not as individuals, but also their contacts and network beyond them. See each customer as lifetime clients instead of one time sales.

Our beliefs and thoughts shape our actions and ultimately, our results. When faced with a challenge, how do you respond? And how big do you think?

How can you create new needs for your prospect and benefit their customers?

THE MANY TYPES OF MARKETING

Forms of Marketing

Lots of people are talking about all the new forms of marketing a company can pursue. It’s true, certain traditional marketing has been around for a long time and is still used today, but with the Internet now playing such a huge role in any company’s success, people are coming out with more and more ways to market their products or services. The more we thought about all the different varieties of marketing, the more we realized there are so many different ways to promote something. Here’s a list of marketing terms that we hope you find useful:

Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is any marketing strategy that takes place online. Also referred to as online marketing, it encompasses a variety of marketing forms like video advertisements, searchengine marketing and e-mail marketing. It is the opposite of offline marketing, and can also fall under digital marketing. Internet marketing needs a good approach in areas of design, development and advertising. A company with a total website marketing plan will have more success online than one that has just designed a website without thinking of how to market their company through it.

Offline Marketing

Offline marketing, the opposite of online marketing, includes all forms of marketing that aren’t done on the Internet. Examples of offline marketing are local advertising in newspapers and on television. In today’s marketing world, companies are finding ways to leverage their offline marketing campaigns with their online ones, making them complement each other.

Outbound Marketing

When you think of marketing, the different forms you come up with are mostly outbound marketing (also called traditional marketing). In fact, the majority of companies today are using different types of outbound marketing to reach their potential customers. Outbound marketing includes any marketing efforts that are taken to introduce a product or service to someone who isn’t looking for that product or service. Some examples are cold calling, sending newsletters, billboards, and banner ads on different websites.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing focuses on having your company found by customers, as opposed to reaching out to them directly like in outbound marketing. The important thing to remember here is that a person starts out with the want/need to purchase a product or service, and they go out to find it. When they search for that product/service on a search engine, the search engine results page will show inbound marketing results. Instead of using paid advertisements, inbound marketing is the search engine optimization (SEO) part of web marketing.

Newsletter Marketing

Newsletter marketing and email marketing refer to ways of promoting your company through emails. Typically, a firm using newsletter marketing will have a group of contacts that they will send a newsletter containing some interesting information to. The success of newsletter marketing depends on grabbing attention, writing good content and reaching a large number of potential clients.

Article Marketing

Businesses will often write articles related to the industry they are in and distribute them online and offline. These free articles will inform people about an important topic and give the company that wrote it more credibility within the market. The organization can also include their business contact information in the article, allowing them to get new clients.

Trade Show Marketing

Companies that want to reach a large number of potential customers can participate in public or private trade shows. Trade shows and other forms of event marketing are often a large investment to participate in, but trade shows allow companies to demonstrate new products and examine what is going on in the industry.

Search Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the way in which companies promote their business through paid placement on search engines like Google. Instead of increasing the organic search results that a website has, companies will pay to have their advertisements in the sponsored section of search engines. This is also known as Pay Per Click Advertising or PPC.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing’s main goal is to send a message directly to consumers, without having to use any third-party outlets. Examples of direct marketing include mail marketing, telemarketing, and direct selling. Direct marketing is often preferable because the results can be easily measured, giving the marketer a better understanding of the success of that campaign.

Niche Marketing

When a product or service is not being readily supplied to a certain portion of a market, a company can focus their efforts on that niche to address a need that isn’t currently being addressed. This targeted marketing is successful because the marketer has identified a need that isn’t being resolved by mainstream providers. Sometimes it is beneficial for a company to focus on a niche instead of trying to compete in a larger market.

Drip marketing

Drip marketing is the act of sending out scheduled targeted emails that are all coordinated to a specific goal of client conversion. The sender uses email marketing software that allows them to setup multiple emails at one time and let them “drip” over time. This sometimes includes phone calls to check in on the clients along the way.

Social Media Marketing

Social network marketing and social media campaigns provide a window to market a product or service on the Internet through different social networks. Companies can use these outlets for their marketing, customer service, and sales. The most common and successful means of social media marketing are found on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and even company blogs.

Referral Marketing

One of the less strategic types of marketing, referral marketing relies on a company’s customers to refer new customers to that company. Also called word of mouth marketing, this is a more spontaneous way of receiving new business, and can not be solely relied on because results aren’t very predictable. However, word of mouth is still a powerful part of a company’s efforts to bring in new business, especially in the social media community where communication travels freely.

Guerrilla Marketing

With a smaller budget, guerrilla marketing makes a splash by relying on energy, timing and unusual approaches to get the consumer’s attention. The unconventional marketing involved tries to get the most out something small and make a lasting brand image in the consumer’s mind.

Promotional Marketing

Promotional marketing is a common form of marketing strategy that companies use to motivate a consumer to make a decision and purchase their product. There are a number of ways that businesses will promote a product or service, including holding contests to win a prize, offering coupons for purchasing a product at a discount, and having samples of the product so people can experience it before they purchase.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing most likely involves four different groups that contribute to the marketing effort. The Merchant is the company that is producing and selling the product, the Network is the outlet that is used to promote the affiliate link, the Publisher or Affiliate is the person who has the website with the affiliate ad and of course the customer doing the purchasing. Affiliate links are found on all types of websites, and they are used to drive traffic to outside websites.

Viral Marketing

This type of marketing relies on the message of a marketer being spread quickly through various social networks in order to increase brand awareness. The name viral marketing stems from the rapid spread of viruses in general. Typically, a viral marketing campaign will not last as long as other marketing efforts, but if a company can come up with a good idea for viral marketing and reach the right people, it will become highly successful in a short amount of time.

B2B Marketing

Any type of business, whether an organization, individual, government or other institution that markets to other businesses is involved in a business to business marketing. Since B2B marketing involves companies trying to sell mass quantities of product to one another, there is a more personal relationship that needs to be established between businesses. If your company sells to other businesses, your marketing efforts will most likely be more direct.

B2C Marketing

Business to consumer marketing campaigns try to reach a category of people that will be likely to purchase their product or service. The marketing efforts the company takes should be broader than B2B, which focuses on specific companies. B2C marketing can involve different marketing techniques such as door to door marketing, promotion marketing, newspaper marketing, television marketing and radio marketing. In today’s marketing world, B2C Internet marketing is becoming more important to reach consumers.

Mobile Marketing

Along with Internet marketing, mobile marketing is part of the newest groups of marketing activities. Companies have been experimenting with the certain ways to reach consumers through their phones, especially with the rise of Apple’s iphone. Some ways to marketing a product or service through a mobile phone include SMS marketing, in-game marketing, banner marketing on different web pages and location based marketing.

Reverse Marketing

This form of marketing is similar to inbound marketing. The goal of reverse marketing is to market a product in a way that will cause the consumer to seek the firm doing the marketing. Reverse marketing can be conducted through such means as television, print, and Internet marketing. If a company has a product that solves a problem in the market, they will have more success using reverse marketing because they will seek out that product.

Telemarketing

A form of direct marketing, telemarketing’s focus is on reaching consumers by phone. Most of what we think of as telemarketing is cold call marketing, which is unpopular and has lead to laws being created against it. However, telemarketing can be effective if the right person is reached on the phone at the right time.

Direct Mail Marketing

Most people receive large quantities of marketing material in the mail, which is considered direct mail marketing. Companies will send paper mail with promotions or other information to a list of addresses, usually in a common geographical area. This form of marketing is also called junk mail by some because the customers receiving the mail aren’t expecting it and usually don’t want to open it.

Database Marketing

Database marketing is similar to other types of direct marketing, but the focus is more directed towards analyzing data. Companies try to narrow their marketing efforts down to certain groups of people, and they use database marketing to analyze statistics like name, address, or sales history, in order to create the most accurate model possible.

Personalized marketing

The goal of personalized marketing is to create a unique offer for each individual customer. This form of marketing doesn’t work for every company, but certain ones can capitalize on their unique products and customer demographics to market to individuals. With the Internet becoming a more popular place for marketing, companies are finding that personalized marketing is effective in cases when they can track a customer’s specific interests and send them more information for future suggestions.

This list should give you a good idea of different ways companies can market themselves to consumers or other companies, but there are still more types of marketing out there. If you think of any, let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Depending on your company and the industry you are in, you will definitely choose different kinds of marketing that will produce the best results for you. No matter which type of marketing you want to use for your company, Design & Promote can help you research and implement a marketing campaign that will allow your company to win the consumer’s attention and hold the search engine results. Contact us today to explore more ways Design & Promote can help market your company.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

7 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Marketing Partners

handshake

You can attract new customers, increase sales and grow your pipeline instantly by partnering strategically with other businesses. There are many mutual benefits that make the work required to build a strong marketing partnership worthwhile. There is the implied endorsement that goes along with it as well.

Strategy is a key to a success. Many business professionals attend local networking events with the hope of finding others they can partner with in order to grow more quickly. Marketing partnerships may be short-lived or fizzle out quickly if it is not mutually beneficial in helping both businesses grow. Conversely, when an informal marketing partnership goes well, it can produce significant benefits for all of the organizations that participate.

Marketing partnerships will only be as good as the strategies and work that go into them. Here are the seven steps for success that actually get the job done.

  1. Overlapping Audiences

Ideally, the customers and prospects of your marketing partners will overlap in some way with your own target markets and ideal buyer types.

  1. Active Communication Channels

Look for marketing partners who are active and consistent in communicating with their customers and prospects through a variety of channels, including email, social media and other channels where your target markets are represented.

  1. Web Traffic

Look for marketing partners who have content-rich websites and blogs, and be sure that exchanging website backlinks and guest blog posts is part of your strategy.

  1. Displays and Demos

Exchanging lobby, sign, shelf or display space with your marketing partners can help expand your brand’s reach and introduce your business to new customers. One other example of how this can work would be to partner with organizations that would let you come and demonstrate your products or services in their business.

  1. Become Patrons

Since your customers will infer that you are endorsing the business of your marketing partners, it’s probably a good idea to actually try their products or services yourself first. If you are going to recommend another business to your own customers, you want to be sure that they will treat your customers as well as you do!

  1. Look for Logical Tie-Ins

Partner with organizations that would represent a natural next step for your own customers. One example of this would be a marketing partnership forged with a business that sells add-ons or accessories or provides maintenance or repair services for the types of products you sell. Finding businesses that have a logical tie-in to yours also increases the likelihood that you will have similar preferred-buyer types and target audiences as well.

  1. Offer Preferential Treatment

Give preferential treatment to customers that come to you by way of your marketing partnerships. Special offers and exclusive member benefits will go a long way.

If you’re looking for a strategic marketing partner, sites like 40Billion.com can make this easy by broadcasting and promoting your business to its large network of several million professional users across the most popular social networking sites for businesses — including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads and promoted company listingswere created for entrepreneurs and business owners to tap into a growing, active network online and make connections.

Rohn: How to Create a Master Plan for Your Life

How to Create a Master Plan for Your Life
Everything you do is a link in the chain of vents that will lead you to your final destination.
January 1, 2017

 

Wouldn’t you prefer a life of productivity rather than a life of endless tasks with little accomplishment? Of course! When you carefully set your goals and keep them at the forefront of your mind, you can work smarter instead of longer. You’ll know that a life worth living comes from a life of balance.

In order to maintain that balance, here’s a key technique you can use in your life to help keep you on the right track: “visual chain thinking.”

Ambitious people know that each step toward their goals is not a singular step. Each discipline is not a singular discipline. Each project is not a singular project. They see everything they do—and every discipline they adhere to—as a link in the chain of events and actions that will lead them to their final destination. Every action and every discipline achieved today is a link in the chain. Every action and every discipline achieved tomorrow is a link. And every action and every discipline achieved in the more distant future is also a link.

Your direction, activities and disciplines all make up crucial links in your chain of success. When you can see that one thing affects everything else, when you come to realize that every discipline affects every discipline, when you look at your future as a chain that needs strong links all along the way… then you’ll build a reservoir of strength and courage that will serve you will during the down times.

When you can see that every link in the chain will eventually lead you to the things you want most out of life and to the person you want to become, then you won’t grow discouraged, fearful or impatient with today. When you can see where you’re going through visual chain thinking, even on the toughest days, you’ll keep moving toward your goals because you know where you’re going.

Building your visual chain of thought begins when you have well-defined plans for your career, your family activities, your investments and your health. Your plans and goals are your visual chain. You know where you’re going before you get there.

It’s ironic how we all understand the importance of mapping out a strategy for a football game or a basketball game. Not one professional team in the world begins a game without a game plan. But few of us take the time to map out such a strategy for our lives.

It’s so important to make this sort of plan. Here’s the first rule for your game plan of life: Don’t begin the activities of your day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Don’t start your day until you have it planned. Do this every day. I know all this writing takes time and a disciplined effort. Remember, however, that reaching your goals is the fruitful result of discipline, not merely hope.

Once you’ve mastered the art of planning your day, you’re ready for the next level. Don’t begin the activities of your week until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish. Don’t start your week until you have it planned.

Just imagine what life would be like if you took time out every Sunday to plan your week. Come Friday, you wouldn’t be saying, “Boy, did this week fly by. Where did it go? What did I do?” No, if you plan your week before you start it, you’ll know exactly what you want to do, what you want to accomplish and what you need to work on. If you learn to plan your days as part of your overall game plan for the week, the parts will fit much better. Your days will be better. You will be more effective. You’ll be working smarter, not harder.

And when you’ve learned to plan your week, guess what? You’ve got to plan your month! Don’t start your month until you’ve mapped out your game plan.

By developing and following your game plan, your days, weeks and months all become part of a larger plan, a bigger design you develop, a long-term view of your life, a visual chain. You’ll start gaining a greater perspective of it all… because you are planning.

If visually seeing your future is new to you, if you’ve never developed a game plan before, let me offer a few tips. There are two things you need to understand before you create a game plan.

  1. A game plan, a visual chain of your future, is like a spreadsheet. Instead of listing numbers, list activities. It’s like a to-do list.
  2. The technique of developing a game plan can be used for a single day, a single project or a variety of projects that are happening simultaneously.

Here’s how you do it. Game plans work best on graph paper. Take a sheet of graph paper and make vertical columns corresponding to the number of days this plan is to cover. Then on the left-hand side of the paper, write the heading “Activities.” Under this heading, list all the activities to be accomplished within your time frame.

For example, you’ve got one week to finalize a marketing plan. It’s an overwhelming amount of work to complete, but it’s got to be done. So break it down piece by piece. The best way to start is by listing all of the individual components on the left-hand side of the page. Some of these things will need to be completed before others can be started. You need to obtain your market research results before you can determine your target market. You need to know your target market before you can develop your marketing strategy. You need to have your marketing strategy before you can create a budget for collateral materials, and so on.

When you break down the project piece by piece and deadline by deadline, you can be more effective in putting together the appropriate parts of the puzzle—and in doing your own work while delegating the rest.

The final result of developing your game plan is a clear visual presentation of the tasks before you. This method is used quite often in business to coordinate and develop projects of any length. It’s the only way to see the entire project on paper and manage its progress.

Admittedly, game plans are frustrating to create. They’re frustrating because it’s difficult to completely prioritize your life and all your projects. You might go through several sheets of graph paper before you produce the perfect format. But as soon as you develop your first one, you’ll see the value in this discipline.

Keep your game plan in plain sight. Put it up in your office where you can easily look at it. Have a copy of it at home and tape it to the bathroom mirror. Keep a copy in your journal for quick reference. Your game plan will serve as a constant reminder of all you need to do to get where you want to go.

If you’re doing all you’re scheduled to do, game plans are very rewarding. Day by day, week by week, month by month, you’ll see the magic of your dreams and plans turning into reality. You will have an incredible feeling of being in charge of your life, your surroundings and your future. It’s like creating a work of art on the biggest canvas imaginable. It’s creative. It’s beautiful.

This is powerful stuff. To dream a dream, plan for the dream, and then watch your dream turn into reality. Here’s what’s really powerful about creating game plans: You can see your future right before your eyes. So on those days when your energy isn’t up to par, your enthusiasm is a little low, your ambition isn’t pushing you forward and your attitude isn’t on the positive side, use your game plan to see how far you’ve come. Take the time to visualize exactly where you’re headed. On those days, it’s your discipline and visual chain of the future that will push you ahead. People and circumstances might try to set you back, but your visual chain will propel you toward your goals.

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