Planning

You lose the ability to execute the original plan, but you never lose the responsibility of executing the original intent.

Colonel Kolditz

Who needs a plan? You do.

Business marketing plans and disaster contingency plans are the boundaries you need to thrive under pressure.

Plan not to have a plan

In business as in life, it’s better to have a plan you never use than to be caught with your shorts down and nothing to cover yourself with.

Your business is vulnerable. Not the Fox News “We’re all being attacked from the inside!” kind of vulnerable, but rather the vulnerability that comes from the changing nature of business.

Happy woman with headphones on

Without a plan, your business may be in trouble because you’re:

  • Scared of important parts of the business mix such as marketing, content marketing and social media

  • Tied up in knots, and unable to communicate with your customers and wider audience

  • Losing knowledge and business acumen whenever someone leaves your organisation

  • Unable to capture all the information needed to make new employees feel supported and welcome

  • Powerless when communication snafus and social media disasters strike

  • Lagging behind when it comes to SEO, content marketing and consumer education

The most common response to business planning are,
“We don’t have time”, “We don’t have the resources” or “We don’t know where to start”.

Sound familiar? Well, that’s why you need me.

What kinds of planning are on offer?

I can help you find the foundation, clarity and security you need with:

Unashamedly Creative

Plans for content marketing, social media activation and rejuvenation, and foundation business marketing plans

Each one is tailored to your exact business needs based on your customers, your current performance, your desired performance, and what needs to be done to close the gap.
Communication Strategy Plans - Woman on Laptop

Communication strategy plans

You can put these communication strategy plans to good use internally or externally. They can include assets to train and onboard staff, sort through your next 12 months of consumer communication or make sure the internal pages are turning smoothly.
Business man with a party hat on at a messy desk

Audit and analysis plans

These are great if you’re not sure your website, content marketing assets or internal and external communication is effective. It includes auditing performance, working through your current consumer-facing documentation to ensure the information is still current, and looking for the potential of misunderstandings and breakdowns.
Exited Woman on Laptop

Disaster contingency plans

If you run social media, events, or a large-scale organisation that cares about public perception, you need to know what to do if your communication goes awry. This is about ensuring your trepidation at releasing a message to the public is reduced, whether it’s seeking assurance that what you share won’t cause issues or mopping up the aftermath if it does.

Good communication can lower the temperature on a variety of situations. Being able to work from a solid roadmap gives you confidence. Having insight to your communication performance means you can change and address issues before they grow. Knowing you have the equipment you need to fight the fires that arise in our social media- and news-driven world gives you peace of mind.

I can help you create a communication plan you’ll be proud of.

How does this planning thing work?

If you already have a functioning communication strategy or activation that needs reviewing and revising, I can take a look at it and diagnose the breakdown between your current communication and planning strategies.

Where you don’t have any strategy in place, I can research and create a shiny new plan that will help you kick it off on the right foot. That’s for new and existing businesses.

  • The first step is a virtual ‘discovery’ call to discuss your project and the kind of plan you might need.

  • Then I‘ll come back with a quote and a roadmap that reflects our initial discussion.

  • From there we’ll work together so you can get me up to speed with any intricacies and research elements.

  • Then it’s planning, writing, review and implementation (if need be).

Simple.

I write every plan with your workforce and available resources in mind.

I design your plan to cater to an overall strategy that’s hands off from my end. I do this through providing the plan itself and whatever support meets your needs. You can have an in-built roadmap to activate the plan direct from the plan itself.

The choice is yours.

Extra support also comes in the shape of me helping to:

  • Implement and make changes by conducting team workshops

  • Smooth the transition with a coaching retainer via email, Slack and/or virtual call

  • Train your nominated employee to take custodianship

What are you waiting for? Let’s start making plans today.

A Saturday morning breakfast meeting in North Sydney saw me swapping stories with a friend who, like me has done their fair share of working for other people as well as working as a consultant. And who ambles through the creative world as well.

We both work hard, he being the far more successful (and far more likely to say “I can see you for 45 minutes at the taxi rank for a lemonade” as a catch up due to his busy timetable) and know our way around things.

And one thing that is a common topic to cross over onto is planning- and how if you don’t employ a little bit of Goldilocks’ “just right” theory, you can create yourself a slew of problems later on.

I’m just following my heart, dude!

Ok, I will come clean on this- I was this person.

My idea of getting something done was to assume that without a plan, the novel I wanted to write or that groundbreaking gothic magazine I wanted to run would just come to me naturally.

I thought because I was good at writing, I didn’t need to plan. If the amount of half baked books, poems, screen plays and journals sitting under my bed (a whole large suitcase’s worth. Paper and digital) is anything to go by that was clearly the wrong assumption.

But it’s not just creative people who think they can create without having a plan. It scares the hell out of me to see business people who have nothing but their bum in the wind and a twinkle in their eye to go on. It doesn’t work folks. I’d say “rarely” but then some of you would still think you fit in that category of maybe .00001% and try anyway.

Don’t. Seriously. I am an optimist but there are very few modern day business successes that got where they are by a sheer fluke.

If you want your business to be sustainable, you need to put together a plan of how you wish to approach your endeavour, you need to define the product or service you are going to offer. You need to think about something beyond what happens once you start and aim for a more strategic approach of maintaining longevity. And you need to have a marketing plan because you need to know how to reach your customers.

Sound simple enough? It is- and it’s great to have a business plan to refer to and an idea of when your marketing will roll out and a view on your return on investment or a rough idea when you will begin to return profit. But you would be surprised how many businesses- from Mumpreneurs through to leading agencies and major product creators fail to get it right.

They simply think their idea is a good one and run with it, without doing any real considered thinking. I don’t advocate planning yourself to death and writing reams and reams of documentation- but there is a very simple one page overview you NEED to write before you even consider your potential business idea going live.

Background- what lead you to thinking your product or service was viable?

Objective- what solution do you wish to create or need do you want to meet in the market?

Strategy- what’s your plan for getting this idea to move from being an idea, to being real and meeting your objective at the same time?

Execution- how are you going to execute it in the market?

Milestones- what targets have you defined in terms of volume sold or profit made or profile in the market place and when are they due so you can measure your ventures success?

You can take it further if you like and check out this product management article I wrote  which gives you more beef about what you should be looking at. Or you can really get into to it and check out the great content on the brainmates website.

But as a minimum, if you can’t write a one pager with those key points in mind about your fantastic new idea, please don’t deploy your product or company. You cannot make sure people need it and you even know how to manage it if you don’t critically examine your idea!

Oh, and if this does sound like the area of overzealous mum’s who want to make all sorts of nifty, crafty, kiddie things to sell to other overzealous mums because it’s in vogue to be a cottage industry mum right now and it doesn’t really matter as most will just sell one each to each friend and “get it out of their system” (as I was recently informed this syndrome only applies to), check any manner of product fail in history.

See- everyone needs to plan. Otherwise how on earth do you know if it’s worthwhile?

Too much of a good thing…

Planning is a necessary but messy is good too. I touched on this in my article No excuses, no, none and whilst it is geared to creative people, it is true of business as well.

You can spend too much time in planning and research and miss the boat altogether. So how do you know when you are planning too much?

Well, for starters, if you have a manual for your product as opposed to a great set of bullet points and an easily verbally communicated idea, you might be in trouble.

Or if you look at the volume of stuff you have written and are worried about whether the team you are working with (or anyone for that matter) will read all of it, you are in the danger zone.

Or if you have already started missing deadlines because you are in endless brain storming meetings or furiously scribbling down what to do chances are you are making yourself more problems than solutions. If you are doing all three, you should be raising a very big red flag by now. For goodness sake, step away from the keyboard!

Presenting people with your vision and explaining what you want, meeting to discuss ideas as you go along and having documentation to refer back to are all great things to do, but make sure they don’t become ALL you do otherwise you won’t progress.

Or if you are senior level within a company and have taken an approach to the planning which means you don’t have the knowledge on a product, don’t insist junior staff in charge of the actual development have to continuously spend their time documenting information and take themselves out of the development cycle so you are “across it”- have a bit of trust in what they are doing and just ask for a weekly status report instead.

There are so many unnecessary ways you can bog yourself down in the planning stage, but its OK not to be armed to the teeth with every single i dotted and t crossed. Learn by doing too!

So take a leaf out of Goldilocks’ book and aim for “just right” rather than “it’s on a cocktail napkin” or “I’ll get the version 4.712ba out of the car as soon as I can- am just waiting for the circus strongman to arrive”.

Focus on creating a strong structure with which to work with and tidy up the messy stuff as you go along. Let planning help you- not be something that weighs you down or gets ignored completely. And you’ll find what your doing will also be far less stressful and more enjoyable too!

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