Business Planning – Lessons from the past

Google “Business planning & Military Strategy” and you will get a raft of examples of people using Military Strategists and other historical figures as inspiration for the way they approach the subject of planning & strategy in a business context.

I therefore thought, at this time of year, where people are returning from Holiday & planning for the future, it would be worth sharing some of these

Tactics without strategy is just noise before defeat 
Sun Tsu Chinese Military Strategist around 600BC

In these days of fast moving technology,  love the fact that we can still learn from 2500 year old wisdom! and learn we can.

In too many small businesses being busy is seen as a measure of success. and its true if you are finding success, you will most likely be busy. But it is also possible to be a “Busy Fool”. Having a plan which sets out what you are trying to achieve, and outlining what you are doing to achieve this gives you a benchmark against which to assess your activity. Ask the question:

“Is my activity actually bringing me closer to my goal, and if not why am I doing it”

Is a great way of making sure you are focusing on activities that are delivering value.

Plan ahead - It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark
Richard Cushing, Prelate in the Catholic Church in the US – 1940s

The quoter may be a bit obscure, but I love the quote!

Anyone running an SME, will recognise the issue of feast or famine – too often business swings from being crazy busy with business coming in from every direction, to a situation where you wonder where  the next job coming from.

In my experience one reason behind this is when busy, too many business forget about planning & marketing, so when things change & get quite, they are unprepared and business dries up.

By making planning for the future a regular part of your day to day management process even when you are busy, makes it more likely that “when the rain comes” you will be ready, or more likely, your planning will lead to continued success & growth.

No plan survives first contact with the enemy
Helmuth van Moltke Head of the Prussian Army  - 1880

Of all, this is my favourite. One reason I hear for not planning is that things change, and you can’t predict the future, so why try.

It’s true, when you plan you do so based on assumptions of the impact of your actions, and how others will react. However, you can be  certain that your assumptions will be less than 100% accurate, but that is not a good reason not to plan.

Rather than being a rule book, that once complete must be followed to the letter, a good business plan should be flexible, and open to change.

In implementing your plan, you will start to test your assumptions, and things will happen that you had not even thought of. When this happens, the plan and future activities need to be adapted to account for the new information..

Rather than being a detailed document that once written, sit on a shelf gathering dust. A good plan is a living document, that is made, implemented, reviewed and adapted on an ongoing basis.

Local Radio Business hour

BSA Marketing regularly input into the business hour on our local radio station (Tameside radio) – This topic formed the basis of this weeks business hour.

You can listen online here.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help with your marketing planning, you can get in touch here.


Filed under: Marketing Planning, Marketing Strategy, Not really marketing

About Duncan Wright

Alternative Text

Over the past 25 years, working in both the corporate world, and the field of SME marketing consultancy, Duncan Wright has developed extensive knowledge & experience that really adds value to BSA Marketing's clients.

As a member of the CIM, and as a Chartered Marketer, Duncan has the marketing knowledge to come up with relevant and innovative marketing strategies for clients, whilst at the same time possessing the technical knowledge to turn these strategies into relevant and sustainable marketing campaigns in the real world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.