You’ve heard it said, fail to plan, plan to fail.
A strategic plan gets us places.
Or does it?
- In Forbes Magazine, Paul Brown, one of the authors of Just Start, says business plans are a waste of time.
- Entrepreneur Magazine says, “The vast majority of plans are hardly worth the paper they’re printed on.“
- Gallop reminds us that “about 50% of new U.S. companies fail in their first five years.“
- And in Harvard Business Review, author and CEO Anthony Tjan writes, “Great businesses don’t start with a plan.“
That can’t be, we say.
Our parents, teachers, and mentors taught us: without a plan, we’re ruined.
Before you (and I) get all depressed over the list of doomsday declarations on planning, let’s yell SPOILER ALERT and cut to the heart of the authors’ meaning:
It’s about action.
You (and I) can write business plans from here to kingdom come. In the end, you (and I) must act.
It’s a simple checklist:
- Focus on a viable idea.
Do you have an idea that fills a need? That solves a problem? That goes where no man or woman has gone before, making something uniquely familiar accessible and enjoyable? Good. Go with it.
- Create a direction and first steps.
Plans change. Always. So let’s not spend all that time on details into infinity and beyond. In focused, quality time with focused, quality thoughts, frame the blueprint and pick up the hammer.
- Act. Move. Do.
Stop making maps and scribbling sentences. Ask key questions. Think clearly. Make that frame and go.
In writing, in any creative endeavor, and in business — hands down, tweak is my favorite word… because tweak is code for regular assessment. It’s in the tweaking, the adjusting, that we keep the ship on course.
To think, to plan, to do.
May the chant of ACT! ACT! ACT! be a rally-cry to us all.
Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA (aka author Erin Brown Conroy/EB Conroy), is the author of eight books; the owner of Celtic Cross Communications, a small media publishing group; a former university professor on writing, interpersonal communication, leadership and management, and strategic management; and a speaker on the ground and online. Contact Erin here.