Failing to plan is planning to fail

- 3 minutes read

The origin of this quote is unclear. Some said it was Benjamin Franklin who said it first. Others contribute it to Winston Churchill. Whoever said it, I think it is an undeniable truth.

Years ago working on writing a paper with some other people I proposed to make a detailed planning. Surprisingly, there was a lot of opposition to this idea. Of course, when the deadline came closer we had to bend over backwards to get it done in time. There were sacrifices made. Other projects receiving less attention, suboptimal work, lots of ruffled feathers. Any business project, big or small, needs to be planned for in time and in resources. If you don’t you will pay one way or the other.

There is another way in which this quote applies to business. As a business, you have to set goals. Where do you want to be in a year (or five)? When you have set those goals you have to make the plan how to get there. You cannot get up every morning without a plan and just start doing stuff, thinking you will reach your goal. Unless you are exceptional, you will overlook things and forget to think things through. The adage “If you can’t write it you don’t know it” applies here as well. As soon as you start to write something down, you have to think things through. As an experiment, I tried working without a plan and the lack of focus it causes makes one drift.

The adage “If you can’t write it you don’t know it” applies here as well. As soon as you start to write something down, you have to think things through. As an experiment, I tried working without a plan and the lack of focus it caused made me drift.

I found many small business owners to be lacking plans in which they describe their goals and how they are going to reach them. Or in some cases, there is a plan, but it has not been converted into an action plan. By failing to plan, they are planning to fail.

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