The P-Word

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by Steve Holt on July 9, 2012

Just about everybody hates it. The P-word. No, I am not talking about THAT P-word. This isn’t THAT kind of post! I am talking about ‘planning’. Yeah, I know you like to fly by the seat of your pants and ‘go with the flow’, right? Well, if I have any readers left after the first paragraph it will be a miracle! But I want to use this post to talk about why it’s important. In everything you do.

You’ve been there… at the top of the ladder without the tool that you need. Right? I hate that. I used to always wonder why you would see one guy up on the ladder and 3 guys standing around at the bottom. Now I know. Those 3 guys are supposed to hand you the tools you forgot. Or maybe you have been like me and left home on a week-long vacation absolutely sure that you didn’t forget something, only to discover an hour down the road that you forgot one of the most important things. In just about everything in life, planning ahead is important.

We all know that individual who just wanders through life seemingly without a plan, right? They never seem to have it together. They never show up on time, they never follow through like they are supposed to, and they never seem to know.

Don’t be that person.

Recently I have been working on 2 huge projects. One at work and one consulting job. In both cases there were about 100 things that needed to be done, with lots of ‘moving parts’ so to speak. And in both cases there were roadblocks, setbacks, problems, and ‘issues’ which would have brought the whole thing to a halt had I not had a plan. When I began them I started with a hand-written list on a piece of paper. Before it was all said and done I had PDFs, Word docs, Excel docs, stacks of papers, and I even resorted to a full-blown project management software package to make sure that my ‘plan’ was successful.

I speak to so many small business owners with puzzled looks on their faces as they talk to me about wanting to do this or that in their business, but don’t know where to start. My recommendation is always the same. Start with a pen and paper, and write down what you know. Write down where you want to go. Write down what you want to accomplish. Just write it down. Things suddenly take on a different perspective when you look at them written down in words.

If you stay with it and don’t give up, then that written piece of paper will turn into a Word document, or maybe an Excel document, or maybe even something bigger. And before you know it, you’ll have a plan sitting in front of you. Then you just stick to it and follow it and grow it, and pretty soon that P-word won’t seem so bad. In fact, it will start to seem like a pretty darn good thing. Trust me.

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