Planning for Success – The Introvert-Friendly Marketing Plan Process
So you're in business, and you've realized you're constitutionally one of The Quiet Ones – someone who would rather garden, read or run alone than attend a party. You have two options: Try to fit in with the dominant social-butterflies-rule culture, or unapologetically be yourself.
Contrary to what you might have been taught, the second course of action does not mean committing business suicide. It's actually highly possible to reach business success by being true to yourself if you are willing to make some unconventional choices.
One way to get started is to use the year-end planning process to create a marketing plan that tosses out the "musts" you've inherited from extroverts and that fits your own likes and dislikes.
What would an introvert-friendly marketing plan look like?
The plan itself would clearly differ according to your profession, goals and resources. Neverheless, here is how the process of planning might go once you decided to build your business around your personality rather than trying to become the personality others say you should be.
1. You'll look back at the recent past and think about what you've enjoyed doing and what you hated doing, what never got done, what worked even better than hoped for and where you had difficulties meeting clients' expectations. For instance, you got great results from inviting current and past clients to lunch and from postcards you delivered, but disliked volunteering at animal shelter fundraisers and dealing with Client X's incessant phone calls.
2. Before forming goals for the year ahead, you'll think about your personal preferences and wishes as well as more traditional measures like market share, revenue, profits or number of employees. For example, several years ago I resolved to develop information products (and did it) so I could make money while I was on a months-long road trip to Alaska. Perhaps you wish you had more time for your family or hobbies, or that you'd be working for more appreciative clients.
3. In thinking about how to reach your marketing goals, you'll set up "musts" you may have taken as givens in the past. You'll weigh the psychological costs and rewards of any tactic along with its economic and business potential. For anything that feels violently unsuited to you personally, you'll consider options like outsourcing, delegating or simply letting it go.
4. After you put together a tentative marketing plan, you'll ponder whether it's or a part of it feels overwhelming. If so, you'll make adjustments so it feels manageable.
Your reward: A marketing plan that probably would not suit anyone else but has exciting potential for bringing you the business you most want to have and for ensuring that you feel fulfilled in the coming year.