“But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”
Robert Burns (”To a Mouse”)
I’m really big on planning things in advance … especially in business. But, yes, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. And that’s O.K. For, as American Author Napoleon Hill once said, “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
Or, I guess, in other words … if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
When you create a business and marketing plan, you need to build into it a monitoring system so that you’ll know sooner rather than later whether things are going astray. Remember, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” (Howard Duff).
You want to be prepared and have the flexibility to make course corrections when your plans fall through. Confucius said, “Plan ahead or find trouble on the doorstep” … but I say, you need to plan for trouble showing up anyway.
Don’t be married to the objectives you outlined in your business and marketing plan. Things change. You could change your mind. You could become more clear in what you want and change direction. Events beyond your control can throw you off track or move you in an even better direction.
Accept this. Your plan is a guideline and can be flexible to accommodate the ebb and flow of your life and business.
Make an appointment with yourself to review your plan at least every three months, monthly is better. When you do, ask yourself these questions:
- Have you accomplished any of your goals so far?
- Do all the goals that remain still resonate with you?
- Do any due dates need to be adjusted?
- Were you as realistic as you thought?
- Have any new goals come to light?
Your answers to these questions will help you continuously fine-tune your plan and learn what a realistic timeline looks like. And you’ll get better at it over time. Pretty soon, you’ll be breezing through your goals and reaching your true potential!