Have you ever heard the expression “Man Plans, God Laughs”?
I think there is a lot of truth in this saying, well maybe not the part about God getting involved because she is obviously too busy helping professional athletes make winning plays to notice small business folks but rather the part about planning and over planning.
I got to thinking about this last week while I was in Halifax delivering the closing keynote at the Aim Conference because it was there that I met Heather Ritchie and learned about the start up she works at called Lymbix.com. Heather is in full on planning mode to launch her product and being the “helpful sort of guy” type I offered some possibly “bad advice” about how to not over plan for her launch. I have no idea if she will take any of my advice because she is no “Damsel in Distress” and knows what she is doing on her own but here is the advice I gave her and you can decide if there is anything you can take from it for yourself.
When sitting down to write a Marketing Plan figure out what you want to do to launch and get you through the first six months. On top of that, figure out where you want to be in 3 years and nothing else. The 6 month plan should be thorough and complete but in my experience you will find that so many things will change or you will have a much fuller understanding of your business and the possible opportunities at the six month mark that no plan you wrote at day one will be as targeted as you thought it would be when you wrote it. Once you are here you could write a new plan or just start working towards your three year goal.
What I mean by this is once you actually understand your business you can make real decisions and it is at this point you should be thinking about the 3 year goal. With every opportunity that comes up you ask yourself “Is this getting me closer to [the 3 year goal]”. If it isn’t then it isn’t an immediate priority and should be put aside until it is. This doesn’t mean these opportunities can’t be secondary priorities and acted on but things with the fuller impact should be acted on first if so you are always working towards your goals.
Heather rewarded me for all my free advice by personally driving me to the airport. I just can’t decide if she did it as a thank you or to just make sure I actually left and stopped poking my nose in her business, either way I appreciated the lift and the inspiration for this post.