How to write a marketing plan in half an hour

…and by “marketing plan,” I mean whatever big project you’re stalled on because (a) you can’t figure out how to do it and (b) you doubt your ability to do whatever it turns out you’re supposed to be doing.

Ask yourself this question:

If I knew how to [insert the thing you’re stumped about] what would I do?”

That’s what I asked on a Friday afternoon last fall, faced with the need to more actively market my speaking and coaching in this blahdy-blah economy. And struggling with where to start.

How I reframed it:

“If I knew (which I do) what to do to build my business…

and if I could do it, and mostly enjoy it (which I could)…

what would the steps be?”

I listed some answers on a couple of sheets of butcher paper. So the whole thing didn’t feel so official and daunting.

In half an hour, I had a pretty decent plan, out of which emerged some priorities—one of which was this blog—and a bunch of next steps. I also had a powerful sense that this vision for my business was, in fact, doable.

Not incidentally, this method also works for getting blog posts written.


  1. Such a beautifully simple idea, and perfect timing. I was getting caught up in the “I need to make a P L A N” seriousness, of coming up with a marketing plans, which translates to not actually doing it. So, I’m going to give this a shot.

    Thanks Janet!

    P.S. Congrats on the new site, new blog! Love it.

  2. What I like about your suggestion is that it breaks up something which seems huge into small manageable steps. I find that when I’m looking at the whole ball of wax (“what to do with my business”) it all feels overwhelming, but each individual step feels very “do-able.” With this small focus I get out of my stuck place and move ahead. This helps me — I’m sure your blog will help a lot of people with the things we all struggle with, especially in this time of overwhelm. Thank you!

  3. Janet Bailey says:

    @Shannon, @Ben – Yeah, when I’m stuck (and maybe the rest of time), small and simple has it all over big and complicated. Thanks for the good wishes!

  4. Congratulations on your beautiful new blog and two excellent posts.

    I love the idea of using something like butcher paper to take the seriousness out of planning. Definitely something I will need to give a try, since I’m trying not to get bogged down with planning a business right now.

    Brava! And thank you!

  5. Janet Bailey says:

    @Victoria – I know, butcher paper is even better for this than yellow legal pads. (And I love yellow legal pads!) For enhanced lightening-up, I recommend putting sticky notes all over the butcher paper.

  6. Char Brooks says:

    Another great article, Janet. And so easy to do – your work is very practical and user friendly!

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