“Business and Action strengthen the Brain, but too much Study weakens it.” – Ben Franklin
There are plenty of business people who will go to seminars, read countless books, subscribe to email newsletters and spend time in Linked In groups. Many will not find what they really need: strategy and solutions. They are learning and soaking in all the knowledge they can find, but without proper planning it is just a lot of wasted information. The business of strategy has to come first in order the support the action that follows.
These are the problems that cause money and time to be wasted over and over. It can be ineffective marketing, lackluster sales or even low productivity. Find the knowledge is good, but turning knowledge into action happens with accountability. Without accountability, knowledge just remains good conversation with colleagues over lunch. It’s easy to talk about the vision and goals. It’s quite another thing to put those activities inside a strategic plan and create a roadmap with a real destination.
As someone who is really keen on marketing strategy, I always like to ask a few questions when the latest shiny object comes into view. Why? When? How? Why do you think this will help your business? When do you want to do it? How does this fit into the overall strategy?
If you say, “I don’t know” to any of those questions, it’s time to get planning. It’s easy to chase all the newest coolest marketing tools, but it’s critical to fit them into a marketing strategy that you’ve already established and measure it against your existing goals. This is especially true for marketing strategy, but it can also apply to business development in general. Without some sort of strategic planning process, you end up throwing your energy in 15 different directions without accomplishing much.
If Google Plus is released and your barely have your website in order, then it’s time to step back. Get the planning going first. You need to get the main hub looking sharp before you worry about building an outpost like Google+. Picture this: if you continue to chase down every new idea without completing the first, you can’t get anything really finished. Blogging doesn’t mean write one post and you’re done. It means showing up regularly, finding your voice and refining your content to what your readers need. To facilitate the hard work of growing your business, it is essential that you spend time in the planning and strategy phase before you spend a single hour on the tactical part of getting things done. In terms of marketing strategy, it is very easy to waste money with little or no return on the latest trend if it doesn’t help you attract the right kind of clients.
Studying what others do is important and I’m a huge fun of lifelong learning. But studying is not doing. Take the time to put those smarts to work. Start out with building a strategy and then begin planning. This is especially important for creating a marketing strategy. Map out the steps on a calendar so you can reach each milestone with the satisfaction. Your business will be stronger than ever because your time, money and energy will be focused on those things that matter most.