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If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail

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fail to plan

Not having a plan in place can result in many adverse outcomes in your personal and professional life. When you fail to plan, you are essentially planning to fail.

Some business owners write plans and then file them to collect dust. Avoid being one of them.

Why Plan?

Planning helps you achieve your goals. The plan is your road map to success. It is the what, how, when, and why. With a detailed plan, you are setting yourself up to succeed.

When you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to achieve or how you will do it, the risk to you is that time and resources, including money, are wasted. Decisions are made spontaneously, leading to poor outcomes, with you feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Uncertainty will eventually lead to more stress and anxiety, and your confidence will take a hit.

You need confidence to overcome challenges and make the most of opportunities, which comes with a plan.

Your plan must not be very technical, highly detailed, 92 pages long, or well-formatted and presented. Instead, a simple handwritten list of critical decisions can significantly affect your personal and business life and performance.

  • Helps you focus on the things that really make a difference
  • Enables you to prioritize your activities
  • Helps you to predict change and then respond effectively to it
  • Manages your time and resources more efficiently
  • Provides direction and focus to your staff and your supporters
  • Prevents crises in your business
  • This means you spend less time firefighting
  • Gets you ahead of the game and ahead of your competition

Having a good plan frees you up to work smarter, to concentrate on the things that really will make a difference rather than just being busy, to bring your people together, and to achieve better performance and greater efficiency. Moreover, it gives you much better control of what you are doing.

You know you have a good plan when it includes the critical business decisions you refer to regularly to manage your business. A good plan tells you what you will and won’t do. It gives you boundaries and guidelines for organizing and driving your business.

A good plan is also flexible. We all know things change at lightning speed, and staying still is a recipe for getting left behind. New opportunities always come up, and you need to consider them seriously in light of your objectives for the year. You need to be responsive to change.

Breathe A Little Life Into Your Plan

A plan is one thing, but it is useless and a waste of time if not implemented. Statistics say 90% of strategies fail because of poor execution.

What can you do to ensure your plan takes form and action?


Ask a trusted adviser, a business coach, or a mentor to help you build your plan. Furthermore, ask them to make you accountable for its implementation. Use your adviser as a sounding board and help remove roadblocks, but don’t give them the whole job.


Work with someone on your plan and do your share. Think about yourself, do your own research, and make the decisions you make. You need to OWN this plan, know it and have complete buy-in.

Take Your Plan With You

Have a copy of your plan tucked away in your bag or on your Smartphone and revise it all the time. Scribble on it with progress notes, comments, ideas, etc. Keep it fresh and alive.


Break it into achievable chunks, weekly goals, daily actions, or whatever helps you always move in the right direction.


Review progress often and record progress on your plan.


Share your plan with others—your staff, family, and advisers—and be accountable to each other. However, be mindful that a good plan contains confidential information that would be very useful to your competitors. Keep it safe.


Build it into your weekly/fortnightly team meetings. If your company does not have regular team meetings, make this one of the first things you commit to doing this year. If the response is “We are never all together,” make it a rule that the team meeting goes ahead each week/ fortnight at a set time, regardless of how many team members are available. Make it a priority.

Each week, ask yourself and your team, “What is the one thing you can do this week to drive this business toward our goals?”

The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today
– Elbert Hubbard

Final Thoughts

Create plans to achieve goals personally and professionally. Plans help you respond to change. Who doesn’t love a Charles Darwin quote!

“It’s not the strongest who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”

Charles Darwin was probably thinking of a plant or animal species; however, it’s a quote that’s also applicable to businesses and the people who run them!;

Regardless of your business’s financial health, now is the perfect time to start planning for the next twelve months.

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