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Success Recipe: “Plans are Useless, but Planning is Indispensable”

The success of any business idea is largely determined by a proper and defined planning process. Proper planning shows the direction a busin...

The success of any business idea is largely determined by a proper and defined planning process.

Proper planning shows the direction a business must take. Lack of preparation is planning to fail, in your life and business.

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin understood that without planning, he could have failed his nation. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” Franklin famously said.

Business planning template

In Franklin’s telling, planning is crucial for any business idea to flourish. Without proper planning, you are destined to fail. Planning must precede any other action.

America’s 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower was celebrated for his thrift planning. He planned and supervised the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch.

For his heroic achievements, Eisenhower is credited with the statement, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” During his service time, he achieved the rare five-star rank of General of the Army.

Backward never, forward ever

When many are faced with a crisis, the most logical thing to do is back off. Renowned philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, however, had an optimistic answer. 
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” In life, the option to quit is always the easy and lucrative one, but if you want to progress, plan ahead.” (Image: Pixels)
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” In life, the option to quit is always the easy and lucrative one, but if you want to progress, plan ahead.”

Procrastination kills planning

“The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done…you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do.” Lil Wayne, an American rapper said.

Don’t mourn for lost time or opportunities, rather plan for the way forward, and plan to do better in the future. What you have failed to accomplish becomes a life lesson.

Lack of planning breeds poverty

The difference between the rich and poor is long-term planning, Gloria Steinem detected. “Planning ahead is a measure of class,” the American feminist said. “The rich and even the middle-class plan for future generations, but the poor can plan ahead only a few weeks or days.”

The rich have a generational plan, while poor people are focusing on the immediate things, including food consumption, and fulfilling their immediate needs. In a few days, their plans are done and serve little purpose.

Don’t look busy, plan

Described as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas A. Edison is credited with inventing electric power generation, mass communication among a list of his creations.

“Being busy does not always mean real work,” he said. “The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends, there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

Plan for disaster

“And I think that still is true of this business - which is basically research and development - that you probably spend more time in planning and training and designing for things to go wrong, and how you cope with them, than you do for things to go right.”

American astronaut, Alan Shepard was convinced that in business, more time should be invested in planning for the time when things go wrong because they will go wrong at some stage. Future planning is vital for every business.

Have foresight

Also, Zig Ziglar encourages planning for the future and not for the immediate things. “Many people spend more time in planning the wedding than they do in planning the marriage.”

Another speaker, John C. Maxwell, believes plans must be flexible, they are not cast in stone.

“Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision,” said Maxwell. “Visions don't change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.”

Ideas are sharpened, adjusted to suit the current needs, however, a vision will remain the same.

Prepare thoroughly

Lack of proper and thorough preparation will lead to failure. So rather invest more time in planning and due diligence than in executing your plan. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe,” said Abraham Lincoln, a president who faced great challenges.

With 19 seasons in Major League Baseball to his name, Yogi Berra knew the importance of preparation, training, and focus. Without these, he could not have accomplished such a commendable feat. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else,” Berra said.

There is no right moment in life

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” This powerful statement attributed to John F. Kennedy, reveals the importance of thinking ahead, even when the conditions seem to be conducive because a time of lack will eventually come.

A plan that is too big and broad can be difficult to achieve, rather you can implement it in stages, classified as immediate, short, and long term, for better results. “Have a bias towards action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” – Indira Gandhi

India’s celebrated politician supposed that a bigger project can be accomplished more effectively if it is broken down into smaller phases. Seeking to do everything at the same time often leads to failure and disappointments.

Investor’s mindset

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett. As an investor, Buffet is more focused on the future than the immediate. 

To reap maximum gains in the financial markets, you have to start planning now. Yes, it takes time, but the hard work will pay off in due course.

The business planning process

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

Inspiration is only a small part of the creative process, much of it comes down to proper planning and execution. Picasso, the celebrated master of art applied it to attain the greatness carved in every piece that he created.

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