Think Business—The Importance of Planning By Mark Richardson

When it comes to planning, do you actually have a plan or are you planning to fail?

Proper planning often determines whether or not you and your company will be successful. As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail!”

While this may be a catchy saying, and one I have addressed in previous columns, is it true? It might be, but it doesn’t need to be.

If it were true then many businesses would probably fail. One of the first things business coaches or advisors ask a business owner is “Do you have a business plan?”

Many times those owners are a little embarrassed. They say “No.” However, mysteriously most of those same businesses have managed to survive for more than 10 years.

Motivating Factors

While my introductory quote may be too bold and not be totally true, I think there is a big upside to planning your business. Try to draw parallel to a world you understand (growing plants). This will not only help you to understand the benefit of investing some time in planning but also give you a simple process (like growing) that you are very familiar with. There are many simple business planning tools but the process should begin really drilling into some key questions.

Why am I in the plant business? Believe it not there are so many answers to this question. Your “why” is probably a blend of many elements. But for most growers the whys differ and the owners’ motivations vary.

How do I want to feel in three to five years? The key word here is “feel.” Many business advisors will ask, “Where do you want to be in three to five years?”

This is where the planning process comes off the track and gets paralyzed. Most cannot predict the future with any real confidence, but most can articulate how they want to feel. They may want more financial freedom or be spending more time on creative and innovative endeavors. It is not very hard making a list of these feeling

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is an author, columnist and business growth strategist. He authored the best- selling book, “How Fit is Your Business,” as well as his latest book, “Fit to Grow.” Both books are available at

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