Why You Need a Business Planning System NOT a Business Plan

Written by David Coffman

Copyright 2005 David Coffman

When someone mentions business planning we have been conditioned to think about writing a business plan. There are hundreds of books and articles, tons of software, an army of consultants, and a multitude government programs to help you write a business plan. There are virtually no resources to help you set up what today’s business environment really demands – a continuous, ongoing planning system.

A commonly accepted theory is that for a business to survive and prosper it must be flexible and nimble. It must be able to turn on a dime as conditions warrant. Having a written five-year plan is not part of this picture. In fact, trying to follow a long-term plan during rampant change is not logical. It is applying linear thinking to a non-linear situation. It just doesn’t work.

Having a formal, written business plan is so accepted as being crucial to success that there haven’t been many studies or surveys to test this premise. If business plans were such a wonderful thing, there would be a significant and conclusive difference between businesses that have them and those that don’t. Interviews of 100 founders of companies on 1989s “INC 500” list of fastest growing private companies inrepparttar U.S. found only 28 percent had “full-blown” business plans. The 1993 AT&T Small Business Study found that 59 percent of small businesses that grew overrepparttar 145715 previous two years used a formal business plan. A 1994 survey ofrepparttar 145716 country’s fastest growing companies found 23 percent lacked a business plan. “The Relationship between Written Business Plans andrepparttar 145717 Failure of Small Businesses inrepparttar 145718 U.S.,” by Dr. Stephen Perry, surveyed 152 failed and 152 non-failed small businesses in 1997. He found that 64 percent ofrepparttar 145719 non-failed firms had no written business plan. He also found that non-failed firms had more extensive written plans than failed firms, 23 percent compared to 9 percent, respectively.

As you can seerepparttar 145720 results of studies and surveys are all acrossrepparttar 145721 board and don’t prove anything. Clearly, a significant percentage of successful businesses don’t have written business plans. None of these studies revealrepparttar 145722 nature ofrepparttar 145723 process that createdrepparttar 145724 plan. Was itrepparttar 145725 result of an annual process with occasional updates or an ongoing, continual process? As Professor Albert Shapero said, “Companies that plan do better than companies that don’t, but they never follow their plan.”

Using Alternative Media to Generate More Customers

Written by David Frey

Copyright 2005 David Frey

Last week I received a very nice thank you gift from a friend of mine, Eric Ruth, who is arguablyrepparttar number one marketing coach torepparttar 145714 personal fitness trainer industry.

Eric, asked if he could interview me about a specific topic and I agreed.

After it was done, Eric sent me a bunch of filet mignon steaks from Omaha Steaks (Thanks Eric).

Butrepparttar 145715 steaks are not what this article is about.

It's what was insiderepparttar 145716 Omaha Steaks box that I want to talk to you about.

You see, two things came withrepparttar 145717 steaks. One was a Omaha Steaks cookbook.

The cookbook not only contained recipes but also a bunch of bounceback special offers.

Each of these offers were specifically designed to get you to call Omaha Steaks up and order more steaks.

And Here Wasrepparttar 145718 Second Thing that Was Inrepparttar 145719 Omaha Steaks Box...

The second thing was a blue envelope that said, "Don't Miss Out - Special Offers from Americas Favorite Companies."

Here's what they looked like:


The contents ofrepparttar 145720 blue envelope included what is known inrepparttar 145721 marketing industry as, "package insert."


Package Inserts 101 _____________________

Package inserts are basically advertisements that get inserted into packages that are being sent out from various vendors.

For instance, in this case, Omaha Steaks sends thousands of boxes to its customers. It sells space in its boxes to other companies who want to advertise to Omaha Steaks customers. This is called a "Package Insert Program" or PIP for short.

There are thousands of PIP program offered by many companies. Here are just a sampling ofrepparttar 145722 type of companies that provide PIP programs:


American Stationary

Divers Direct

Crafts Enthusiasts

Global Industrial Equipment

Kingfisher Maps

Mantis Gardening Tools

Pitney Bowes

Speed Gear


Vitamin World

Zoysia Grass Plugs

Ifrepparttar 145723 profile of your target customer matchesrepparttar 145724 profile ofrepparttar 145725 customers that these companies sell to then you might consider a PIP advertising program with them.

The going rate for package inserts averages around $60 per thousand packages. What this means is that you pay $60 and your insert will be sent out with 1,000 packages.

This relatively cheap when you consider that renting a list for a solo mailing might cost anywhere from $100 to $250 per thousand names.

Onrepparttar 145726 other hand,repparttar 145727 response rates for inserts are much lower than direct mail. An acceptable response rate used for PIP programs are typically measured in tenths of a percent vs.repparttar 145728 2-5 percent return of solo direct mailings.

The number of inserts in a package can vary from four to eight. Generally, only non-competitive pieces are included together in one package.

Here's a photo ofrepparttar 145729 inserts that came inrepparttar 145730 Omaha Steaks package I received.


As you can see, there are only three inserts from these companies:

1. Hawthorne Village (model trains)

2. Discover (credit cards)

3. Select Comfort (beds)

Here's Why You Should Consider Using a PIP Advertising Program in Your Marketing Mix

1. You getrepparttar 145731 power of direct mail at about 20% of what you'd normally pay for a direct mail campaign.

2. You can target specific niche markets and consumer segments.

3. You can target people byrepparttar 145732 way that they buy (i.e. mail order buyers, phone order buyers, television order buyer etc.).

4. You get category exclusivity inrepparttar 145733 mailing (i.e. no competing offers to worry about).

5. Your offer gets an implied endorsement fromrepparttar 145734 company mailingrepparttar 145735 package.

I'm not saying that you should base your entire marketing program on insert media. What I'm saying is that using inserts can be a good compliment to how you're already advertising your product or service.

Withrepparttar 145736 shrinking list market, package inserts are a good alternative way to prospect for qualified leads. It's hard for companies, I think, to rule it out. ______________________________________________________

Here's a Few Tips to Getrepparttar 145737 Most Out of PIP Programs ______________________________________________________

Tip # 1

Be very careful of how you pick a PIP program. It's much like picking a mailing list. You have to pick a PIP program that is reaching people who are good prospects for your product or service.

Make sure you set aside some time to sit with your broker to identifyrepparttar 145738 characteristics ofrepparttar 145739 programs that work. Then find plans that share these characteristics, and put a plan in place to test them.

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