The lovely Neil from Milk Relief Soap recently asked me this great question:

“What’s the difference between a business plan, and a marketing plan?”

I see a lot of people getting caught up in this, and often their business plan is actually more of a marketing plan.

The two are very much related; however they’re not the same.  I’ve got a different opinion from most people on what a Business Plan is and what it’s purpose is.  If you’ve looked at the Two Hour Business Plan then you’ll see that I define a Business Plan as being about what your business does, not a financial plan to take to the bank (although that’s part of it).

A Business Plan is ‘about’ your business – who your target market is, what you do (core business), your business goals, an action plan.

A Marketing Plan is how you attract customers and sell your product in order to achieve those goals – blogging, advertising, networking, attraction and conversion.

In October last year I gave a talk at The Business Mums Network Pampering Day on Business Planning.  To illustrate how the Business Plan, Marketing Plan and Action Plan all fit together, have a look at this diagram.

Make sense?  Your Business Plan is what encapsulates your entire business activities and goals, what drives and directs your actions.  Your Marketing Plan is one aspect of that, which directs your monthly, weekly and daily actions towards achieving those business goals.

In some respects your Business Plan is the What, and the Marketing Plan is the How.


Do you have a business question that you would like personally answered?  Email me and ask away!


Alex Fayle · August 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I was really good at business plans and sucked at marketing plans… I’ve learned a lot since starting my business and now know enough to market only what I *really* love – my writing.

Melinda · August 11, 2010 at 9:13 am

Hehe, isn’t that true for the entire business Alex? You should only be doing something that you love?

How’s the writing going?

Susan · August 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Great diagram. Most small business entrepreneurs tend to start at marketing and work their way in. Knowing the target for the core business is too often overlooked

Melinda · August 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Yup, so true Susan! They don’t stop to consider the Why? What’s the purpose? What’s the end goal. Always ends in frustration because they work so hard, but without that core purpose and goals they’re not focussed.

Comments are closed.

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