The Underlying Plan
Plans are not new and I’ve often written and trained about them with the focus being on businesses. This time however let’s look at the plan from a holistic point of view.
Do any of us really have time to step back from our life, review our life, write a plan and then remember to check in on that plan?
In all the years (nearly 20) I’ve worked with businesses planning is a BIG deal. It’s either an embraced big deal and everyone gets involved and contributes to the planning process, or, and you’ve already guessed it, they gloss over the plan; it is sort of there, however in reality means absolutely nothing.
I love writing plans (which is fortunate in my line of work!) From business plans, marketing strategy plans, communication and campaign plans to personal development plans; they all take a structured simple process to follow. The results are simple: what you put into your plan is what you get out of it. Here are a couple of examples from a personal and a business planning perspective.
A few years back I remember a man sent me a message to my facebook page and he was in a confused place. He described his life at that time as a screwed up piece of A4 paper. I asked him what would he need to do or what resources did he need to help him straighten out this piece of paper. He went away and wrote to me every couple of weeks then a few months. By this time he claimed his piece of paper was now flat. He felt much better, much clearer and had a plan. (I also know he is since being, doing and enjoying the life he choose too.)
In business plans they take on a different dynamic, it’s not as simple as a screwed up piece of paper – or is it? The only difference is the people involved in the planning. Working in a marketing role, Managing Directors have often asked me to get on and do this, and that, and I then ask: “Why?” They don’t know why they just think something like that should be done as it’s marketing. (What is marketing? We’ll keep answering this question across all the blogs.)
So before I spend any marketing budget I like to know why are we spending it? What are the desired results? And how are we going to measure that? Marketing then forms a whole process through the organisation – which in many smaller businesses marketing is in its ‘own world’ or diffused into a sales team.
Marketing planning takes your whole organisation into account, reviews every aspect internally and externally and formulates a plan to drive the whole business in the direction to achieve your business objectives. What I have experienced in businesses with little formality to their plans, is when they have one, they have successfully seen growth and have been able to measure it, so they can do it again and again.
The investment in time and resource to create a plan is often the first stumbling block. In today’s world I’ve read in publications and online blogs that planning is overrated and it’s about fluidity and flexibility. I agree these are required, however my question is; how can you have this approach without already owning the knowledge of your internal and external environments, processes and direction for your products and services?
The plan allows you to be the conductor of your orchestra, to raise and lower the volume, to extend the music or change the tone, because you always have the foundation the plan has given you.
It’s the old story of your friends at school who did surprisingly well in all the tests and exams even when they did no preparation or revision. Like your friend who is really fit and healthy and yet claims they ’just go to the gym a few times a week.’ People get what they put in.
Universally once you set your intention and take action in the appropriate ways, naturally you will get the desired results.
If you doubt the process or change your mind about what the results should be, then you will be disappointed.
Personally or professionally, once you focus and set your intention to achieve, make your plan, you will then enJOY the results.
Written by Emma Lannigan, Marketing & Wellbeing Author & Coach