"Good plans shape good decisions."
--Lester R. Bittel

By now I'm sure you've noticed what an amazing habit planning is. It's hard to accomplish things when we aren't exactly sure what we're doing or what success is going to look like. We are all much faster and efficient at doing tasks when we've set aside some time at the outset to think about the exact outcome we want.

Even if you've never worked with a marketing or PR plan, or even if you've never seen one, the same principle applies. Taking some time at the outset to decide what your business goals will be this year and how marketing can help you achieve them can be a very wise investment in your success.

In fact, after over 15 years of doing marketing work I'd say the number one mistake I see business people making with their marketing is failing to have a plan of any kind. I see people putting attention on their sales, on their team, on their facilities and on their customers, but not envisioning their marketing as an engine that drives it all. As a result they constantly make important decisions on the fly. This can be a huge time waster because as you have probably experienced, business owners receive a lot of unsolicited phone calls and emails related to marketing and advertising.

If you have no plan and an advertising representative calls you with an opportunity, you have no way to judge whether this opportunity will serve your business. Then tomorrow another rep calls with a different opportunity. Which one should you choose? The absence of a plan can create a lot of busy work and distraction in your day when really, if you were to sit down and write up even a basic description of your target customer, you'd be easily able to hold that up to the demographics of each opportunity and see right away if it is a fit for you.

That's why I always recommend my clients start with a strategic plan. It will save you time, money and effort as well as get you to your goal more seamlessly and more enjoyably.

Author's Bio: 

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at www.bluetreemedia.com/ezine.html

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.
©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.