The Importance of Having a Plan

The Importance of Having a Plan

It's important to make plans.

photo credit: photosteve101 via photopin cc

Planning isn't fun. Planning isn't glamorous. Planning isn't sexy. Planning sucks. While we can think of every adjective in the book to define planning, there is one term that is very appropriate for describing the act of planning. That word? Smart.

Seriously. It's smart to have a plan. Yes, it takes time, money, and effort, but by committing those resources to having a plan, whatever it is you're doing will be more successful.

Benjamin Franklin said it best:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

I was recently talking with a friend who has another friend who just bought a business and is doing any and everything he can think of to market his business. I asked my friend if her friend had a strategy or had a plan in place with regards to his business' marketing? Her answer: she didn't think so. He's doing TV, radio, print, while dabbling in social media and growing an email list. There's no focus. He's painting with a very broad brush and his results may not be what he expects.

My recommendation to my friend was to have her friend meet with someone who does marketing. Someone like me who can meet with the friend and find out what his needs are, learn his business, and put together a plan that will be effective and help him grow his business. Instead of playing roulette with a finite amount of marketing dollars, he could have a marketing action plan in place with step-by-step instructions to grow the business.

Sure, there are exceptions where people and businesses without a plan stumble upon success. It does happen. But more often than not, if you don't have a plan, you're going to find that you've wasted a lot of time and money.

Let's look at another example. My wife and I started using budgeting software to plan how we were going to spend our money. We've been together six years and we finally had the aha moment with our finances. The why didn't we do this sooner conversation. It's amazing that by budgeting our income, we're able to see what needs to be paid and when, plan for savings, trips, excursions, etc. and be able to set money aside for emergencies. Yes, we had a emergency fund before, but by planning for events and purchases, it basically secures what we already have in place.

Budgeting isn't sexy. But it's giving us a path toward our goals. It's a plan.

As shown above, planning can be used in both personal and professional pursuits. It's important to invest the resources into creating a plan so at least you're on some sort of path toward success. As Yogi Berra said:

“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.”

Make the effort. Set aside the time and/or money and develop a plan for whatever it is you want to accomplish. While things may not go 100% according to plan, at least you have a blueprint of what you want to accomplish.

Now over to you. What things do you plan for? What successes or failures have you had as a result of not planning? Were you lucky and had success without a plan? Let's discuss in the comments below!

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