Planning is a strength of mine. It’s a strength that I’ve worked hard to develop. Whether a client is good at planning or not, I can usually contribute knowledge, expertise, and skill to their business or marketing planning activities that they do not have. That’s fine.
But the more I develop my planning services, the more I’m finding clients who are generally capable of planning within their own areas of expertise, but become paralyzed when it comes to planning their business or marketing activities over a significant (a year or more) length of time. They may or may not know where they are and they may or may not know where they want to go, either way they have no idea how to get from here to there.
Is this common? Is this something you’ve experienced? What do you think would help?
I’m in the process of creating a business planning e-book (shorter than a full length book, regardless of how it’s transmitted) for both writers and solopreneurs. I have plans to create a similar e-book about marketing planning, again one for writers and one for solopreneurs.
The question I ask is this: Do I need to discuss or explore the act of planning itself?
In order to create an effective marketing campaign, whether it’s for your business or for an individual product, like a book, you need to plan it out ahead of time. Marketing is cumulative. If you don’t plan how different activities will accumulate, then you may end up taking people in different, scattered directions that never actually get anywhere. Planning—effective planning—is the solution to this problem.
But is planning something that’s actually being taught? I’ve tried, but I cannot for the life of me remember how I learned to plan. I learned the different components of a traditional business plan in business school, but I throw out or add to that set of components whenever it’s appropriate. The act of planning is something different. I imagine I picked it up by example and tried different techniques until I found ones that worked. I know I’ve made plans that have gone terribly awry, but I also know that few of my more recent (last several years) plans have failed, at least not in the long-term.
The key difference is basing plans on what’s within one’s control and having goals that can be reached in a variety of ways, depending on how things turn out. But again, it comes back to the act of planning.
What do you know? What do you need to learn? Where do you go wrong? Is there a way I can help?