The Importance of Planning – In Their Words 

The Importance of Planning – In Their Words 

Regular listeners and readers will know that, at 20:80e, we’re big on planning… 

…but what we really want to know is, are you?  

Have you got your journey mapped out?  

Do you even know the destination you’re headed to? 

We hate nagging, and so we’re not about to talk for five minutes about why you should make a business plan, you know, like NOW 

Instead, we’ll use some quotes from people much wiser than us to encourage you to get planning, you know, like NOW. 

We’ll start with an author, a much-loved author at that, in J.R.R. Tolkien… 

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.”  

Now, you won’t be expecting to run into too many real life dragons in your business life, we don’t think, but let’s look at the quote in a less literal way.  

What Tolkien is talking about here is ‘risk’ and how we have to pay attention to it. If we ignore the potential risks to our business in the planning stage, they’re likely to come up further down the line and throw a huge spanner in the works. Notice he doesn’t say we should turn and run from the dragon, or avoid it altogether, and that’s true in the world of business as well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that, but watch out for those dragons... 

Next, let’s listen to a couple of old US Presidents, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. They didn’t have twitter in their days, but you can bet they’d have been trending with these two gems… 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” said Franklin, whilst Lincoln penned this one… 

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” 

They certainly knew the value of planning in those days, and that Franklin quote has been used millions of times in millions of different scenarios the world over, because it makes so much sense. It is also absolutely true when applied to the world of business. 

Moving on to chopping down the tree, this proverbial bit of wisdom is so useful for business owners to bear in mind, as without prior planning, due diligence and proper preparation, you’re not going to be able to chop that tree down. No wonder these founding fathers are revered and held in such high esteem, with pearls of wisdom like these. One wonders if some of Donald Trump’s tweets will be talked about in a similar way in a few hundred years… 

Now, planning doesn’t have to be all bar charts and rainy day estimates, there is plenty of room for blue sky thinking and optimism, as this quote from feminist Gloria Steinem illustrates. 

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”  

We love this one, especially the second sentence. Dreaming is what drives us to get up in the morning, the motivator and the encouragement when times get tough. The trouble with dreams though, is that they don’t come true on their own. You have the dream, and then you have to do it, that’s what we believe at 20:80e. Incorporating your dreams into the planning stage of things can make what seems like a boring task into an energetic and inspiring process. The line between drawing up plans and day dreaming needs to be rubbed out and crossed every now and then. Allow yourself the freedom to put what you really want into your plan, otherwise, aren’t you just settling for second best? 

OK, so your plan is done, drawn up, printed out, pinned on the wall, whatever… 

…what are you going to do about it? 

Well, Winston Churchill has a little advice for you on that… 

He said thatplans are of little importance, but planning is essential,” and he was dead right. The piece of paper with the plan on, or the document on the screen, are only worth as much as the effort, the thought and the process that went into creating them. Don’t throw them away when they’re done, we’re not saying that, but be prepared to come back to them, to re-evaluate them, to rip them up and start again if you must, because planning is so much more important than any plan. Hey, it won Churchill a World War, so it should probably help you through the next quarter, right? 

Finally, as a cautionary note, don’t worry if your plan doesn’t work. Failure is simply an opportunity to learn. There are a million and one quotes on this, we’re sure you’ve already heard them, but we like this one… 

“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters – 204 if you’re in Japan,” which is from writer and motivational speaker, Claire Cook. 

You might not want to have to plan a couple of hundred times, and that’s fair enough, but surely in your planning, especially if at first you don’t succeed, you need to be prepared to try, try and try again. 

Planning your business with 20:80e makes things that little bit easier, that little bit more accessible, but clearly you don’t have to take our word for it…