In the world of marketing operations (MO), words like "enterprise" and "scale" are common, but we rarely hear the phrase "small business" enter the conversation. Ironically, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) need MO the most if they are to grow into the company they want to be.

Startups and growing businesses that fail to address MO head on in the beginning pay the price later—literally and figuratively.

We often advise SMBs about steps they can take today to future-proof their growth and get on the path to success tomorrow.

Here are four essentials we recommend.

1. Assign an owner to make marketing operations a priority

Put someone in charge of MO in the beginning; otherwise, you're not going to get very far.

When a business first gets started, it's natural—and practical—to focus on getting that first customer and establishing a beachhead. But then, many companies tend to overly focus on speed and "doing" in the name of agility (and at the expense of strategy).

Failure to lay a strategic foundation for growth can cripple a company as it attempts to scale. Agility isn't just about speed in decision-making and action; it's about operating with a fully-baked plan, contingencies included.

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image of Gary Katz

Gary Katz is chief strategy officer of Marketing Operations Partners, a consulting firm that helps marketing organizations become value centers through accountability, alignment, and agility. He is also CMO of the Marketing Future Forum, dedicated to bridging silos in marketing teams, organizations, and supply chains.

LinkedIn: Gary Katz

Twitter: Gary M Katz