If you want success you must design a plan to guide you toward that success.
One of my favorite hobbies is scuba diving. You can also call it a water sport I guess.
To me there’s nothing more peaceful and relaxing than hovering over a reef and observing the sea life going about its daily activity. Like floating in front of a pocket of coral where a moray eel lives, watching its mouth open and close as it breathes – at rest and staring back at you as if it’s wondering just what you’re doing in its world.
Set your dive gear profile up right and you can float there for over an hour if there’s no current. It’s as if there’s no gravity to pull you down to the bottom when you know what you’re doing.
Know what you’re going to do
But you have to know what you’ll do when you get there – before you get there.
Scuba divers have a basic rule: Plan your dive and dive your plan.
Every dive is different. You must create a new plan for each one and you must design the plan based on what you know about the environment you’ll dive in.
You absorb more nitrogen at 100 feet than you do at 30 feet. If you absorb too much nitrogen you’re probably in trouble. Excess nitrogen forms bubbles in your system.
As you go deeper the water pressure increases and holds those bubbles inside. As you ascend from the depths the water pressure decreases and those bubbles want to escape from your body.
Let those bubbles out too fast and you end up with the bends. That’s a condition no diver wants to experience.
So you plan the length of your dive according to how deep you intend to go. And you plan the direction of your dive based on the location you’re diving at.
Diving in a stone quarry (where you have walls all around you and all you need to do is surface to see where you are) is much different than diving in the ocean – where there’s a current that can carry you miles away from where you entered the water.
(Or a current that is capable of carrying you out to sea – away from the shore.)
Business is much the same.
You must create a business plan that guides you along your path to success. And then you must follow your plan so that you don’t stray from your path and travel toward failure.
You normally won’t create a new plan every time you run up against some difficulty that pushes you off your path. Every business plan must be adjustable so you can respond to the roadblocks, neutralize them, and get back on your path.
(Well, you could create new plans at certain intervals along your way if you lay out benchmarks (pre-determined goals) and create a separate plan for reaching each one after the previous objective is reached.) (That isn’t the manner in which we usually create business plans though.)
As we design our plan we forecast where we want to be with our business at the end of the plan.
Working on the plan toward that desired result we visualize each potential roadblock or drawback along the way. Then we identify potential fixes for each setback that threatens to slow us down or drive us from our path.
That way we’re prepared for the problems when they appear. We solve them. And we go merrily on our way along our path toward the end of the plan.
In scuba diving we must have a plan for the activities we’ll pursue once we enter the water. If we don’t adhere to the requirements of our plan our day can quickly turn into disaster.
So it goes in business.
If you don’t design a plan in the beginning you can’t know where you’re headed. If you do create your business plan, and don’t refuse to let it guide you, you might just as well kiss your business goodbye because it most certainly won’t last long.
So if you want your business to prosper plan your success, and succeed with your plan.