Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Business without a Plan

Sure, it would be nice to just "wing it", and be successful. But life doesn't work that way.

Earlier this month I got a phone call from a barber who was calling to get a quote for advertising for the salon that he works at. So I set up an appointment and visited them a couple days later and discovered that they were "Winging it".

9 months ago they moved from one side of town to downtown. I've driven by their shop 50 times, yet never noticed them. Even the day of my meeting I went around the block twice before I found them.

At this particular small business, they have about 6 or 7 employees including the two owners and they must be doing a decent job in order to stay in business for the past several months. They are planning a "Grand Opening" next month and reached out to a couple radio stations that they listen to for ideas.

I was honest with them. I told them what it would take to build their business and they really didn't want to hear it.

A 52 week advertising plan with a minimum of 15 ads per week at $400 per week is not what they wanted to hear.

I predict that their store front will have a For Rent sign in the window within the next 52 weeks instead.

Now, some other radio salesperson will sell them what they want, but it's not what they need.

The reason so many businesses close within 2 years, and even fewer last 5 years, is they don't have a plan to get customers who will pay them money, which in turn keeps them in business.

I understand that many of these people have the best of intentions, they have a great idea, they are above average in their area of expertise, but they are often missing that one ingredient, the advertising and marketing side of success.

And it hurts to see these fine people invest their hearts, dreams, time, passion and funds into something that won't last.

I've said this before and it bears repeating over and over and over again:

"If you are planning a party but never send out invitations, NO ONE WILL SHOW UP."

In the weeks ahead, I'll review some of the ways you can invite people to do business with you, pay you money, and keep you alive and thriving.


  1. I agree that planning is important, but would also caution against over planning and analysis paralysis.

    You eventually just have to get out there and start working. You can always change your plans as you go if something isn't working, so don't get too obsessed with your original ideas.

  2. And Chris, I agree with your comments too.

    The problem I see too often is a lack of planning and budgeting for promotion, and long term advertising & marketing.