We'll let Pat McGraw explain:
Posted: 20 Jun 2011 08:30 AM PDT
Back around 2004 or 2005, during a nice bubble, I attended a meeting on behalf of a client that was focused on developing distance learning within the D.C.-Maryland region.
I found myself seated next to a venture capitalist that was working with a $500 million investment firm and, somehow during the course of the conversation, we found ourselves talking about the need for a formal action plan. My position was, as it always will be, that a plan was crucial because we face virtually limitless opportunities with limited resources and in order to maximize the return on those resources, you needed to focus them on what they needed to do in order to succeed.
The VC gave me a rather dismissive look and offered his perspective.
We discourage plans because it prevents the organization from responding to opportunities.
A few years later, most of that particular investment firm’s start-ups were closed. Too much to do, too little to do it with. No money, no business.
Proof, as far as I’m concerned, that you don’t need a marketing plan…unless you want your business to succeed.
Today, I still run into that belief – that a plan prevents the organization from responding to opportunities. And between us, that’s crap. No plan should stop you from responding to opportunities – but it should force you down a path that helps improve your chances for success.
Your plan should help you respond to opportunities more effectively because you know what resources you have, what they are doing and how they are performing – so you can identify what you can redirect onto the opportunity and how it might impact the overall business. Additionally, it should force you to follow the same planning process so that you identify a specific goal and objective, determine strategies and tactics so you can measure performance and determine success (or failure so you can pull the plug and focus on other things).
A plan can be very simple:
- Where are we today? (situational analysis)
- Where do we want to be tomorrow? (mission and vision)
- How do we get from here to there in that time frame? (goals and objectives)
- How do we monitor performance in order to determine if we’re on target? (monitoring, analyzing)