By Allison Turner Business, Marketing & Sales Consultant As a business owner, are you a take-charge leader or someone who reacts to circumstances? You must understand where your business is currently and how you are going to achieve the next level of success. It is still early in 2015 and some businesses are already behind on planning their marketing calendar. A marketing calendar helps a business plan its marketing themes for the upcoming months. Why is this essential? So you know exactly how you intend to generate new business for your company. Planning allows the business to budget and create the graphic elements and copy (if needed) for any ads and articles in advance. If you do not yet have your marketing calendar planned for at least the first and second quarter of 2015, consider the following: 1) Plan your campaigns at least 6 months in advance: To see solid results in most campaigns, you must be willing to run them for a minimum of three months but ideally six months. In this case, having a solid marketing and advertising plan is essential. Don’t think that you can place an ad in the Pineapple Newspaper for one month and get instant results. Your message will always target the potential customer’s pain points and/or the benefits your company will provide. If you are planning to advertise in any print publication, you will need to provide the graphics at least a month ahead of the print time if not more in most cases. Know that if you are advertising for a holiday like New Year’s that most campaigns start well before that holiday. For example, many retail stores now start marketing Christmas in September! 2) Define your budget: Know how much you have to spend on your marketing, advertising and PR. Otherwise, how do you plan for the future? Your goal as the business owner is to gain the best return on investment so know your budget and carefully plan your campaigns. 3) Reach your ideal client: Know what marketing and advertising avenues are best for your particular business. While hiring a full service marketing and advertising firm is great, many entrepreneurs and small business owners can’t afford to do that. Know how to reach your target market so you get the best return on investment! 4) Campaigns for Business to Consumer: If you have a physical location like a retail store, studio, salon, or spa, you are more than likely familiar with marketing to upcoming holidays. What gym or fitness expert has not marketed to New Year’s resolutions to get healthier and lose weight? Think outside of the box and don’t automatically do what everyone else is doing. How can you stand out in the crowd of other businesses? 5) Campaigns for Business to Business: If you are selling business-to-business products or services you must be a little more creative in your marketing. How do you differentiate your business and really speak to your potential client? What are the best ways to reach that market? 6) Remember Online Options: Internet marketing is important! Many print publications now have an online way of advertising. Internet marketing, like Google or social media ads, is often a less expensive way to market if you know how to do it. Don’t throw money away just to do it but consider hiring an expert who knows how to best reach your target market online. Allison Turner is CEO and cofounder of Business Consultants of South Florida,(BCoSF, Inc.) located at 301 W Atlantic Avenue, Suite 05. She is a resident of Delray Beach as well as active member of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce. BCoSF is passionate about helping their clients either start or grow a sustainable and profitable business through their strategic business & marketing plans, consulting services, branding & website design. For more information visit www.BCoSF.com or call 561-276-4422.