Friday, August 1, 2008

Christmas in August?

Actually it might be a little late to start planning for Christmas 2008.

How far in advance do you plan?

Here are some recent examples. Our local Philharmonic Orchestra has their entire 2008-09 season planned. This week we finalized the advertising that my stations will be doing through April 2009.

McDonald's, one of my clients, plans their advertising budgets 12 months a time, which means that their Christmas 2008 promotions were decided upon around November 2007 or earlier.

I sit on an advisory board for a local financial planning firm and during one of the first brainstorming meetings I attended, I advised them to start planning their exit strategy which is 12 years away.

The benefit of planning ahead? You have a direction, a game plan, a map that you can follow.

You also need to be open to detours and back up plans, and the ability to take advantage of new opportunities that were not in the original plan.

The problem of planning ahead? Not enough people do it. You are too busy dog paddling to stay afloat that you are too exhausted to swim the distance.

Football season is around the corner and you know they have plays and drills that they rehearse and practice week after week. Then when they are in the heat of the game, they choose the option that best fits the situation at hand.

I urge you to do the same with your business.

If you are only looking at business a month ahead, then start by looking two months ahead. Then next month, stretch a little further by planning three months ahead, and keep building.

Now is the time to start planning for Christmas 2009!

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