Having been a startup once and having worked with several over the years, I've learned some critical lessons. One of them is that startup owners' goals are usually lofty and they have the willingness to work to achieve those goals. The problem is that they often are not prepared for the results that an ambitious and successful strategic marketing plan can create.
A business that is in its infancy is usually not ready to act on an aggressive strategic marketing campaign. Much as the owner would love to get business rolling in the door so they can pay off debt and put money in their pockets, care must be taken to ensure that effective systems are in place to handle product orders and/or requests for service and that there are sufficient resources available to deliver on marketing promises that are made.
The first marketing plan should develop the marketing infrastructure of the company. The four basic marketing P’s (product, price, place and promotion) along with procedures for production and delivery should be explored, defined and planned for.
Not having a solid framework in place may lead to a pie-in-the-sky offering of products and/or services that cannot be supported or delivered based on the available resources and infrastructure. Any promises of delivery on products and services must be kept. If you don’t have the resources to do so on all of them, identify those that can be executed and delivered as promised and add others later as demand grows and more resources become available.
Consider also your systems for production and delivery - if you're overwhelmed with orders and requests that you don't have the resources to fulfill, you will potentially harm your reputation. Keeping your clients waiting beyond what they (not you) consider a reasonable amount of time will result in loss of business and angry customers.
If pricing is not well-thought out and based on actual production, labor and overhead costs along with a fair profit margin and perceived value to the consumer, than a situation may arise where pricing either needs to be reduced to encourage sales or raised in order to keep the business open. Either situation results in customers feeling distrust and possible anger towards the company. They may feel ripped off if prices come down soon after they’ve made their purchase; on the flip side, they may be hesitant to invest their loyalty in a company that raises prices in a seemingly unreasonable fashion. The worst one is when a company raises their prices, sees a drop off in business and then lowers them back to their original levels or lower. It gives a definite image of bad business planning and management.
Of course, if where your product (place) is offered and how you market (promote) it so that you most effectively reach and appeal to your primary target market is not well-thought out, then you may be spending all the time, effort and resources you have to no avail.
All-in-all it a good business plan (infrastructure) which includes the four basic marketing P’s, will give the business a solid basis on which to build a marketing plan that can be carried out to the business’ success.