Are You Intentionally Planning to Fail Or Does It Just Look That Way?
A friend asked me how my business was going. I was happy to say things are going well. I have some good-sized deals in the pipeline. I’ve got a lot of other activity going on and those are enabling me to grow my business so 2019 is even better than this year.
There was something about what I said that led him to share the following with me. He told me:
“Planning is so critical. If someone gives you nine hours to cut down a tree, you spend 6 of those hours sharpening your ax. Don’t forget how important planning can be.”
That's some solid advice and it applies to all us. It’s so easy to chase down the deal, win it then become enthralled with delivering and far exceeding your client’s expectation.
I see lawyers do that all the time. And while you’re working on delighting that customer:
- You reduce your business development activities,
- You don’t execute on the plan that got you the big deal to begin with.
- You tend to fall back to the “I can do everything without delegating mode.”
It’s a vicious cycle and it’s an expensive mistake. And what makes things worse is that you won’t face the consequences for a little while. When you do face them, it takes a lot of time and effort to recover.
- You have to rebuild your sales pipeline which is likely empty.
- Your productivity and efficiency suffers as you transition back to owner / bottleneck.
- Your focus shifts away from running and overseeing your business to working as a critical component inside it.
I see these tendencies in myself and I see signs of it in my clients. I’ve had customers eagerly give me deposits to start an online marketing campaign only to have it take weeks and months get started. A customer can’t quickly get me bios and pictures I obviously need for their website. They can’t find time in their schedule to review copy, video scripts or follow our training advice on recording video that are critical for their success.
Don't get me wrong. As business owners we have to focus on delivery and customer issues. That's crucial. But just as important, and maybe even more important, is the fuel that drives the business several months into the future - your marketing.