June 9, 2009

What Is Your Plan?

Next Stop: Lobby

What do you do? What does your company do?

Can you explain it in a sentence or two – the dreaded “elevator speech”? Or do you require more time to explain? Sadly, you have about 10 seconds to say your piece because most are waiting to tell you theirs. That’s not a cynical observation but the majority of conversations consist of two parts – talking and waiting to talk. We all need to listen more.

Shush You

As far back as grade school, my mom received a similar comment on my report card – the boy needs to stop talking, he has the gift of the gab, he’s too social and distracted. Perhaps that’s why a career in broadcasting for over two decades worked out well?


I like to help companies with overall strategy and business plans because it’s paramount to have that foundation poured before ordering the custom cabinets and hardwood floor. I also like to help with integrated marketing and social media solutions, but more about that later in the week.

If you can build a solid foundation inside your organization, you stand a better chance to build the rest of your house. Your company must have an elevator speech and if it’s different from employee to employee, you may wonder why you have confused customers and potential customers.

Machines Need Not Apply

As the cliché goes; everyone needs to be watching the same movie.

This is not a suggestion to build companies full of mindless drones because that never works either. An internal collaborative environment works best but once decisions are made, they need to be consistent with everyone.

Shiny Things and Lollipops

I often see eyes begin to glaze, mouth starts to drop, attention drift to anything but “business plans” when this topic comes up but it is paramount to your success.

This reaction is common because most business plan conversations are agonizing experiences of swirling non-decisions and butt covering. You spend months on a document no one will read that contains grand plans you are unsure you can execute.

I had this conversation with a colleague about a year ago and he uttered the infamous phrase "Why does everyone keep bugging me about a plan? I just wanna do it." They still have no plan and they are not - in fact - 'doing it'.

And before you begin the eye glaze again, this does not need to be a laborious tree killing exercise. Pixar was born on a napkin. It's important to also note that business plans must be fluid and alive. Things change, times change, flexibility is essential.

Start by being realistic. What is your company known for? What do you want it to be known for? What areas of your chosen industry can you win?

Tomorrow: Setting Up Your Strategic Plan
Thursday: What is Integrated Marketing To You?
Friday: How Can Social Media Help?


photo credit: www.newslettercartoons.com

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© Kneale Mann knealemann@gmail.com people + priority = profit
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