A Quick Reference Guide to Making Marketing Planning Simple

People often underestimate the power of marketing. Think of it this way, would you take a road trip without a map? You need a well thought-out plan for your business to succeed.   I have written hundreds of marketing plans. When I ask my clients what’s stopping them, the # 1 response is, they are intimated by the process or don’t know where to begin.  Here is a simple outline I hope will take the pain out of marketing planning.  

Here are some basic down and dirty elements of a marketing plan:

If you are interested in discussing or developing a marketing plan contact Jodi Cross at CNMI. Jodi may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or visit www.crossnm.com for more great marketing ideas.  

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How To Develop a Business Plan



Writing a business plan can be a daunting task. Just like anything else in life, a plan is an essential tool for success. We have all witnessed an under capitalized business shutter up soon after opening. A business plan should tell a compelling story about what you do and why consumers would want to buy your service or product. A good plan is a living document that shows viability and growth and should be updated on regular basis. There are multiple websites and templates on the internet that help organize the process. In addition, the Small Business Association (SBA) offers some good resources to guide you through your journey.

There are various types of  business plans used for different stages of growth. Stages include; start-ups, post launch, line of credit needs and expansion & growth. Determine what stage of your business lifecycle you are facing and tailor your plan accordingly. Consider the audience, are you looking for investors, partners, stakeholders or a line of credit?  Regardless of your lifecycle, a business plan sets you up for success.  

Business Plans should answer a litany of what, who, why and how questions:

  • What is the problem that your business is solving?
  • Why do consumers want your product or service?  
  • What are your key features?
  • How much capital is required?
  • What challenges could impede growth?
  • What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

 These questions should be answered in sections and clearly articulated for the reader to understand and process. Whether looking for capital or seed money,  defining business objectives and goals in a logical and disciplined way will make the difference between success and failure.  There are several standard sections that must be included, the outline provided illustrates a framework to get started. 

The business plan framework is very simple, and outline in this graphic:

The Final Steps:

8. Funding

Why should a bank or investor help you? How much do you need? When will you be able to pay it back? What is the investor going to get out of the deal?

Key Inclusions & FAQ’s

  • How long will the cash or requested funding you receive last? What will it cover in terms  of growth. What type of funding are you requesting? Debt, Equity, Angel?

9. Appendix

This is an as needed section but you should have it organized in case a lender asks.  

Key Inclusions & FAQ’s

  • Include legal paperwork, letters of reference, customer testimonials, permits, contracts, leases, attorneys, accountants and your business manager.

Now that the framework is in place, start writing and don’t stop until the plan is done. When presenting to investors tell a story that sells your business idea simply and succinctly.  Describe how you make money and what the best thing about your product or service is. The foundation you establish today will be rewarded tomorrow.

Sources: Sba.gov

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Planning Overtakes Procrastination

Planning Overtakes Procastination

By: Jodi Cross

Check Mate! I have declared war on procrastination! The piles have been building for months and my “to do” lists have a list of their own but nothing seems to get done. The key to ending the madness is planning.

Start by organizing your to-do lists and make priorities:

Make a list and write items down in categories

  • Breaking things into Personal or Professional action items


Think of issues as:

  • Critical-these are things that must be done in an urgent time frame or their will be consequences.
  • Important-these items are action that must be taken but there are not   urgent consequence.

Layout tasks on your actual calendar

  • Schedule action items into small tasks.
  • Set deadlines and stick to them.

Avoid getting caught in the perfect trap 

  • Perfectionists can be the biggest procrastinators of all, it is part of their winning formula. Instead focus on progress.

Minimize Interruptions and distractions

  • Set a time to get projects done. Check your emails during certain windows during your day to avoid distractions.
  • Compartmentalize work flow and return calls later. Stays focused on projects and see them through. Once a task is completed check your email list and return your calls during set times throughout the day. This will make your time more productive.

Build in rewards

  • Think about big and small rewards you can give yourself if you finish a project.
  • Use positive, pleasurable outcomes to motivate you to complete a project.
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7 Steps to Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

7 Steps to Your Unique Selling Proposition

By: Jodi Cross

Check out this video we created to help you learn more about developing your USP.


How do you set your company or product apart from the competition? In business we call it a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or an elevator pitch. Your business needs it, your sales people will sell more effectively and people will remember your product or service by what makes it unique and exciting. Cross Network Marketing (CNMI) has a simple seven step process designed to develop your USP, fine- tune your key selling attributes and identify your target market more clearly.

When designing your USP you must distinguish what is unique about your product or service, incorporate excitement and determine why your customers do business with you over your competition. All of this needs to be done in a concise format that is simple and can be articulated in less than 30 seconds. Once formulated, your USP can be used to position your business in marketing materials, on your web site and for your sales pitch.

Here are seven simple steps to develop your USP:

1. Determine who your customers and target audience are?

2. List three of the most important results your customers are seeking from the purchase of your product or service? This shouldn’t be about quality, service or price- everyone can mimic those benefits.

3. List three reasons why your customers do business with you over your competitors. Think about the potential gaps you fill or problems you solve.

4. List three reasons why you do business with certain companies over others?

5. Describe your target audience and their main problem.

6. Describe how your business can solve the problem by completing this sentence, what we do is…

7. Now distill step 5 and step 6 into a concise statement, this is the start of your USP.

A USP is crucial for your business to succeed. Once you have developed your USP, be sure to incorporate it into your marketing materials. Also, be sure your company can deliver on the promise or your business reputation will suffer.

For a full white paper on how to develop your USP, contact Jodi Cross at jcross@crossnm.com. To work with a CNMI representative on developing your USP call 305- 439-6712 or visit crossnm.com. ©

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