Five Reasons you Resist Strategic Planning

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It’s the start of a New Year.  We’re being inundated with articles and messages about resolutions and goal setting.  What are you letting go of or leaving behind from last year?  What intentions do you want to set for yourself and your business going forward?

You may be feeling pressure to write down your business objectives and establish habits to help you meet them.  But, we often get stuck in the “should” stage - “I should create a strategic plan for my business,” “I should focus more on marketing,” or “I should start scheduling my social media posts.”     

Why are we “should-ing” all over the place and resisting a process which has been proven to help us be more successful?  

Here are 5 reasons I suspect we procrastinate:

#1: I don’t have time

We’re so busy doing the work - servicing clients, responding to fire drills, answering emails - that we can’t imaging stopping to think about our business strategy.  After all, planning doesn’t pay the bills...or does it?  According to an article in the Journal of Management Studies, companies that plan grow 30% faster than those that don’t.  And having a marketing communications plan can help you feel more confident and less overwhelmed by all the varied marketing tactics you could employ.  

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#2: It’s not my area of expertise

For individuals working in non-marketing-related fields, all of the jargon can be confusing.  What exactly are the 4 P’s, key differentiators, value propositions and customer personas?  What’s the difference between “business strategy” and “marketing strategy?”  Should I focus on branding...or communications...or storytelling...or promotions?  And where do I begin?  Starting with Google can make this process feel even more overwhelming.  It would be helpful to have a template.  Or know who to turn to for help.   

#3: I can’t afford to hire someone

Businesses who are in startup or growth mode...or those that have hit a lull in profits...generally don’t feel they have the resources to invest in marketing, particularly strategic marketing.  They reserve funds for executing communications only - paying the sales rep, running the Facebook ad campaign, printing the brochure.  But those tactics may have disjointed messages or may not actually be supporting the business objectives.  A good plan pays for itself, ensuring your resources are wisely spent and your communications are effective in generating revenue for your business.  

#4: I hate being boxed in

Many of us run our own businesses because we don’t want a boss - be it a person or structured plan - telling us what to do each day.  The idea of a plan with stated goals can seem like a ball ‘n' chain, weighing you down and limiting your flexibility to respond to events as they arise.  On the contrary, a good marketing strategy supports your efforts and enables you to communicate efficiently and effectively.  It doesn’t need to be something that is carved in stone.  It’s a dynamic tool providing general direction in alignment with your business goals.  

#5: I’m uncomfortable with self-promotion

I hear this a lot from my clients, particularly those in service-based industries where their personal brand is intimately linked to their business offering.  They’ll often ask, “can’t I just rely on the quality of my work and word of mouth to sell my services?”  Maybe if you’re already rocking and rolling.  But if you aspire to grow more quickly or reach beyond 2 degrees of separation, it takes a bit of effort.  That being said, there are ways to promote yourself and your business without the icky boastful feeling!   

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If you’re ready to ditch the excuses and develop a guidepost marketing strategy for your business, feel free to reach out to Wythe Ave Consulting for support.  We can do it for you or teach you and involve your team in the process.

Happy Planning!