We all know the importance of planning – whether it be annual budgets and new product launches, or the next overseas holiday (I wish…!).
One dictionary definition of a “plan” is “to decide on and arrange in advance”. That’s all well and good of course….until you move off the spreadsheets and Powerpoints, out of the Board room and into the real world..ouch!
“No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy.” Sun Tzu
The real world – both in and out of business can be frustratingly unpredictable. Just when you think everything is locked down, the competition comes out with a similar idea; the global economy crashes; your cost of goods doubles; civil war breaks out in your biggest territory.
At the end of the day, you can change yourself, but you can only influence things around you and life has this annoying habit of pulling surprises when you think you have it all under control. So how do you move forward when, to quote Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” –
“In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley.”
Or put simply, and with apologies to the great Bard: relying on future planning might not be all it’s cracked up to be: Because despite the greatest of plans, those plans often go off the rails through no fault of your own….!”
Your overall business plan must retain flexible and be (without sounding too opportunistic)….opportunistic! That means you must constantly review your strategies and make adjustments along the way. Keep a little budget aside to allow you to be proactive when opportunities arise.
Try not to lock your plans down so tightly that it leaves no room for maneuverability. For some of us alpha or analytical types, part of moving forward is the belief that everything is tied up in a neat bow before moving on. But as in everything we do…life gets in the way and it’s how we act and react that make the difference between winning or losing.