I remember only once have I gotten into a car without a plan of where to go.

It was many years ago, as I left my girlfriend’s house. We said a cold goodbye with a mass of bottled up anger and confusion (this was very rare for us). I got in my silver 1985 MR2, slammed the door shut, rolled the windows down on that summer night, and drove. I hadn’t the faintest idea of the place I would go, but I wasn’t in the mood for going home.

I took a left turn, right turn, left turn, and realized by this time that I had actually already decided where I was going. It was the classic windy drive down to Crescent Beach in South Surrey. A place I knew the directions to, and I hoped taking this time to think would calm me down…

It is so hard to drive without a plan of where to go. The act of moving forward, making turns, and never knowing where to go next is exhausting. Humans are very intentional beings. We see patterns and relationships between actions and outcomes. Ants are much less concerned with where they are going. They wander wherever until they find food.

Just as I started without a direction and quickly decided an end goal and a way to get there, you too will need to make some key decisions about planning.

This is why it’s critical to have a marketing plan of some kind. Is a formal plan necessary? Absolutely not. Is knowing the exact destination necessary before you start? No, it might come as you start planning, and it might even change as you learn more about your situation.

Don’t let a lack of planning hold you back from doing work…but don’t do work for long without thinking about a plan. TWEET THIS

They are very much a two-way relationship, plan, work, modify plan, work differently.

Most of you will have a vague idea of where you want to go. The, “I want to have a schedule full of clients for my massage clinic”. There are many options to get there, but without a little bit of a plan you can spend a lot of time turning left, turning right, u-turn, and running out of gas.

Key components of a basic marketing plan:

  • what is the end goal?
  • how will I measure success?
  • who are my target clients?
  • what problem do I help them solve?
  • how can I best reach my target?
  • how can I build a relationship of trust?
  • how can I give them a fantastic experience?
  • how can I help them spread the word about my service?
  • what are smaller goals to reach that help to move forward?

Instead of stepping on the gas and turning the steering wheel once in a while (just picking marketing tools and tactics), you should think about the bigger direction and how the steps will get you to the bigger goal (marketing strategy and planning).

And all of this vital information can be summed up in a document or a few scribbled napkins. Something is better than anything.

You don’t need to have a 60 page report done up by an analyst and business planner. It’s a waste of time and money, and as I mentioned before, the direction might change slightly, or the tactics need to be changed, and then a bunch of the plan is a waste.

Plan as much as you can, but be flexible to change.

…oh the drive did help me by the way. I had time to think, collect my thoughts, calm down, and have a relaxed conversation about the situation the next day.

Have you been stuck going around in circles, or run out of energy trying to “do marketing”? Maybe it’s because you don’t have a destination and plan to get there. Please share your comments or ideas in the section below.