Marketing Myth #4: Life Happens While We’re Busy Planning

By nature, entrepreneurs are more action-oriented than others. They can’t wait to roll up their sleeves and get to work. And for the most part, these are exemplary traits unless, of course, they cross the line.

Like most people, entrepreneurs have a lot on their plate. However, unlike others they often lack “break lights” and keep moving… convinced that if they just work harder and longer, they’ll reap the rewards. So, they remain in constant motion and convince themselves that this is time well spent. They equate “planning” with lack of progress and assume it’s a luxury that only high-paid executives can afford. But they’re wrong and usually end up in the all-too-common “doing-it, doing-it, doing-it” rut.

It’s easy to recognize believers because they…

  • Wear their long hours like a badge of honor.
  • Have very long “to-do” lists and no “not-to-do” list.
  • Never say “no” to any business opportunity.
  • Live from job to job, never sure of their next move.
  • Appear distracted and overwhelmed.

Which results in…

  • Stress and burn out.
  • Brain “clutter”.
  • Poor performing ventures.
  • Inability to take advantage of golden opportunities.
  • Lack of competitive edge.
  • Waste time and money “throwing things out there” to see what sticks.
  • Disjointed advertising attempts aimed at getting new customers

And please don’t leap to conclusions – we’re not advocating a “get-wealthy-without-working” plan or “become-an-overnight-success” scheme. Far from it… Both are folklore. Hard work is the cornerstone of successful businesses – as long as it’s focused on the right things.

And instant victories happen when people are poised and ready to take advantage of opportunity when it comes knocking

What we are suggesting is that you, your family and friends and your business would all be far better off if you focused your attention and channeled your energies into actions which matter. Working hard on the wrong things will get you to the same place as doing nothing – in the poor house.

Think of it this way… the best way to get a glass full of water is not by turning on a garden hose, full power. The water will certainly come out fast and hard but you end up with very little in the glass. However, if you turn it down to a trickle it will be more manageable and you’ll get exactly what you need.

Most of my small business clients are convinced the more they do, the more successful they’ll be… You need to get rid of this notion right now!

It couldn’t be further from the truth, even though many of us wear it like a badge of honor. The next time you ask someone what they do beware of those who answer “Well, I’ve just opened a car wash on Rt. 95 to go with my pharmacy and financial planning website. Then I got my wife running my lawn care company… we’re working 14 hours a day, but one day it’s all going to be worth it…” Although I’ve embellished this to make a point, I have met entrepreneurs who have than six different business cards in their wallets.

Trust me; this is not a good!

Ultimate success has to do with focus and prioritization

Your goal should be to work smarter, not harder – do less, earn more – not the other way around. Remember, nobody gets more than 24 hours a day. Time is your most valuable resource so use it wisely.

Set aside the time to write a marketing plan and update it often. It is the single most important thing you can do to increase your chances of success.

Although estimates vary, many business analysts claim that the mere act of writing a marketing plan makes a company 15-31% more likely to succeed than those that don’t.

And by the way, it has nothing to do with the plan’s length; ink color; or authors’ writing skill.

Bottom line: The “planning” is far more important than “the plan.

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David A. Scarborough is a gifted business writer, educator, speaker and certified Guerrilla Marketing coach, who draws upon his “real-life” experiences and expertise in business and strategic marketing to help businesses of all sizes get and keep more profitable customers. He is also the co-author of the book “The Procrastinator’s Guide to Marketing,” (Publisher: Entrepreneur Press, November, 2007). He holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and MBA from Golden Gate University. Log onto his website: for free marketing articles, tools, tips and templates…or to learn more about his book and services.

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