How to Write a Business Plan That You’ll Actually Use

The best-laid plans are the ones you’ll actually use. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, authors of Rework, say lengthy, abstract business plans are destined for a filing cabinet—filed away and never looked at again. Here are resources to help you craft a business plan that you’ll actually use:—This site offers free online workshops on business planning as well as a gallery of sample templates. Click on Business Tools>Template Gallery for a list of links that will open customizable templates.— is a great jumping-off point when you’re figuring out how to approach writing your business plan. This website has tons of how-to’s and lets you review more than 500 actual business plans from companies in tons of industries.—The U.S. Small Business Association’s website provides tons of resources on starting your new business, growing it, and maintaining success once you’re up and running. Their business plan template takes you step by step and offers tips along the way. Just fill in the information about your business it asks for, and you’ll be one step closer to a comprehensive and compelling business plan.

Here’s how to spend less time managing your marketing technology and more time being creative and strategic with your email campaign.

1. Forget the “batch and blast” technique and consider your email campaigns as part of a conversation. Begin to think of each email campaign you send out as part of an ongoing dialogue with each prospect. The way to keep the conversation going is to listen (how are recipients responding to the campaign), be relevant (what are their profiles and interests), and engage them in meaningful ways.

2. Move beyond open and click-through rates – what else are your prospects and customers doing? The standard email success metrics are great, but explore all the valuable information available to you.  Ever thought of driving them to a Personalized URL?  Then you will know for sure where their interests lie.  Then after each campaign you can determine whether there are new ways to think about how to segment your prospects based on the behaviors they exhibit.

3. While we’re on the topic of segmentation… Once you have analyzed the test data (we’re big fans of testing) then you can create more complex segmentation strategies. The sky’s really the limit here, so have some fun with it.