The first month is almost on the books for 2016, and I am certain that you are already looking at current month sells and looking ahead to February. Taking an overall snapshot of January will help you to determine what needs to happen in February and March. Hopefully you closed 2015 with at least sells goals for 2016 to grow your business. However, more and more small business enter into a new year not having a marketing plan. In a poll conducted by Marketo, 56% of small businesses state they do not use marketing plans, 23% of small businesses do not have sells goals. That mean that only 21% of small businesses have a marketing plan and sells goals in place. As harsh as this may sound, only 21% of small businesses will grow in 2016 – not stay in business, but grow.

If you are still on the fence about why a marketing plan is vital for your business’s success, here are the five top reasons:

A marketing plan ensures what and how you are selling your products and/or services runs in line with your company’s mission and established business goals. Regardless of what your sells growth needs to be in 2016, your company’s mission and goals should not be compromised in the process.

When your goals are put down on paper, like in a marketing plan, it makes those goals more attainable and pursuable. Think of it like your business plan, if it is on paper and official, you will make greater efforts to ensure your business plan is being utilized.

Being a small business, you and your employees are probably performing more than one job function. Having an official marketing plan helps to maintain your focus on growth.

Those of you who have read my articles or interacted with me in a professional setting have heard me say this a thousand times, “If you fail plan, then you plan to fail.” And when you fail to create timelines and establish deadlines, you plan to be off point.

Looking to have investors, financiers, or third party consultants in the future? Having an annual marketing plan tell these individuals you know what it is going to take in order to grow. Without a marketing plan, small businesses are 50% less likely to receive financial backing. If you don’t know how your business is going to grow in the coming year, why would anyone be willing to invest or consult? Established investors and financiers will only provide financial backing for a small business they know they can reap a return on themselves.