A successful business is raised on the foundation of a great marketing plan. Selling is the most crucial and also the most difficult aspect of any business. Marketing of a product or service is real hard work and a good marketing plan is what ensures that the hard work bears fruit. It outlines how a business will go about attracting prospects, converting them into customers and retaining these customers in the long run.
When I ask entrepreneurs and small business owners, it is not unusual for not having any marketing plan. I once read that Sir Richard Branson never had any marketing plan when he started the 1st Virgin business many years ago. In fact in one study of entrepreneurship (I couldn't recall the name of the study) was that as much as 50% of entrepreneurs and business owners don't have a business plan and marketing plan when they first started the business.