Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Value of a Plan

Wing it.

Go with the Flow.

Fail to plan and plan to fail.

Three view points and attitudes. You probably can guess which one I prefer.

1) Wing it. This means, let's see what happens, improvise, maybe I'll make it, maybe not. This is a plan built on luck. Actually it is a non-plan. Not a good idea for any area of your life, personal, financial, business. There are no standards, nothing to measure, anything goes. If this is the way you are handling your advertising, or any of your marketing, please get serious and stop it. This is the way a rebellious teenager operates.

2) Go with the Flow. This is middle ground. Most mediocre organizations are doing this. You have some traditions, you have some plans, but all are subject to change, without any real direction. Businesses that do this, spend money on advertising when things are good, then stop when things are not so good. Unfortunately, that is the opposite of what should be done. When you stop advertising, you stop inviting people to do business with you and guess what happens next? Yeah, business slows even more and you are in a downward spiral. Go flush a toilet and watch the water flow around the bowl and see where it goes? That's what your business is doing when you simply Go with the Flow.

3) Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail. Let's examine what it means to plan:

  • Plan for Good Times.
  • Plan for Bad Times.
  • Plan for what cuts you can make without hurting your business.
  • Plan for what to do when you have a surplus, so you can have reserves for those leaner days.
  • Plan for Growth.
  • Plan for selling your business, or passing it on to the next generation.
  • Plan for the next 20 years.
  • Plan for the next 10 years.
  • Plan for the next 5 years.
  • Plan out each of the next 5 years.
  • Plan for the next quarter.
  • Plan for the next month.
  • Plan for the next week.
  • Plan for tomorrow.
  • Plan for the next hour.
And have a back up plan for each of these. Review and adjust. Can you see how this is different from Winging it, and Going with the Flow?

A plan gives you a foundation, a reference point, a standard by which you can measure everything you do.

Sound overwhelming? I understand. Just take it a step at a time and keep at it. You can do it.

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