I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently about plans and planning. It started when I shared my post about the importance of having a plan. I realised there’s a couple of things that should be addressed, like how do you make a plan.
It Should Always Be Fluid
Let’s be clear about this. Best laid plans often need to be amended. Whether we like it or not.
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”. Mike Tyson
It’s a fair point, and we should remember it was said specifically about boxing.
But life happens. Sh*t happens. Especially when we don’t want it to.
Stay flexible when it comes to how you can achieve your goals, but don’t wing it. You can review a plan, make changes to it, but not having one at all isn’t the same thing.
A Plan Dictates Direction
If you’re trying to wing everything, chances are you’ll go off in so many directions, you won’t end up knowing what to do to help you achieve your goals.
The most simple form of this is:
Goal > Plan > Actions > Results
So when you know the goal, you can make a list of the actions that should take you towards that goal.
This is where the idea of ideation vs execution comes into play.
A plan will help you to identify those ideas that you can later execute on.
Changing Directions – Updating Your Plans
In nearly 12 years of running our agency Social INK (we turn 12 in September 2020), we’ve changed directions countless times. Always focused on digital marketing, but moving with the times and with what the market needed.
But every time we do, it’s we figure out what it’s going to look like first. It’s a simple way to make sure everyone knows what we are trying to achieve. More importantly, it lays out how we intend to achieve it.
It doesn’t have to be as detailed as an Ikea instruction booklet. That’s not how you make a plan.
But it should allow people in your organisation, including you, to be able to think about what you’re about to do next, and answer one simple question:
Does this fit into my plan, and will this take us closer to our goals?
If it does, roll with it, if it doesn’t, it’s time to bin it.
How Do You Make A Plan
Start by creating a plan in its simplest form.
- Identify the end goal you want to achieve.
- Map out the actions you believe will help you move towards that goal.
- Clearly identify the KPIs – the key performance indicators – that will precisely show if you are moving in the right direction.
- Schedule time to review your plan, your actions and your results regularly. It’s imperative to remember it must remain fluid, it needs to evolve with you.
- Execute! There’s nothing worse than spending the time to create a plan, and then simply not act on it.
It can really be that simple. How do you make a plan? That’s up to you, but startups, small businesses and freelancers, don’t need a “banking style” business plan.
What they do need is a basic roadmap laying out what they will and won’t do to achieve their goals.
It’s that simple!
So, it’s your turn now. It’s time to take that first step. How you make a plan is up to you, but in its basic form as above, it will help you to re-focus all your efforts towards those all-important goals you are aiming towards.