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I would like to start a business to market local businesses. My initial thought is to target local restaurants.

I am at a loss as to how to do a business plan and a marketing plan. I have a lot of creative promotion ideas and ideas to generate leads. How many of my ideas should go into a plan?

One idea is for a restaurant to hold a recipe contest, submitted via email (leads/permission marketing). The restaurant picks 5, and cooks that recipe. The cooking process will be recorded and put on the site and YouTube, etc. Maybe invite the public for a tasting. They can vote or not, I'm unsure of which is better. The winner will be invited to come in to to cook the dish. It would be featured on the menu for 1 week.

I'd write a press release, and try to get local TV to do a story. I'd maybe take out an ad in a local small newspaper, and submit a press release.

I don't know what content my site should have to start.

The business is just me.I want to charge way below what other marketers charge. I don't know the going rate for things like SEO, Social Media, and using and monitoring Google Analytics.

And I'm at a loss as to how to start marketing my services.

Thank you for whatever help you can provide.

Hello Laura

Firstly, sorry for the delayed response!

Unfortunately, I can't answer your question on the specifics of writing a business plan as i've never written one, so it is outside of my area of expertise.

A marketing plan however, I can help you with. I would suggest doing the following:

- look at what competitors are doing online, this will give you a better understanding of the service offering you need to provide and will allow you to find gaps in the market you can tailor your service to fill
- Use competitors to find out pricing so you can price yourself competitively
- Understand your USPs and define your target audience and how you are going to reach them
- Your website needs to include a page related to each of the services you offer, a page about you and your background, contact page and if possible, testimonials, case studies and blog
- A press release is the last thing you do, so I wouldn't even think of this until your website is ready to promote and has all the information you need/want on there
- You need to start by creating a plan detailing everything you need to do (leave specific promotional ideas out for now). Then group everything onto the list into things you need to do now in order to get your new website or new content live on your existing website. These are your priority. Then you can start thinking about promotion (press releases, sales promotions, social media etc.)
- Don't do any promotion until you know your service offering inside out, thoroughly understand your target audience and where to find them, and have all the necessary content on your website to back it all up and as somewhere you can point people to.

There is a lot to do at this stage which can feel overwhelming, so a list will allow you to break things down and categorise what needs doing when.

I hope that helps!

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Shell Robshaw-Bryan


I can answer questions on anything relating to online marketing, content creation, content marketing, social media engagement and strategy, organic SEO, web design and conversion optimisation.


Over 14 years of working in the area with small businesses and start ups right through to massive international brands including Samsung, Logitch, MSI and Microsoft! Check me out on LinkedIn to see some of my endorsements.


Professional blogger for the past 18 months contributing regularly to a number of professional websites including Social media today, UK Marketing network and Business 2 Community.

Past/Present Clients
Microsoft Logitech Redbull (current, new client we are doing a web development project for)

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