There is absolutely no doubt that a failure to plan is one of the biggest mistakes many business people make. Without a solid business plan, even the best travel consultant can fail to act consistently in any given aspect of their practice. Planning is truly essential.
But so is action.
I see far too many travel professionals planning their lives away, getting ready to act, and then… not acting! Too many times we over-plan and over-perfect, and in the process lose valuable opportunities to others who are quicker to act.
Advice like this can be easily misunderstood. Certain essentials have to be in place prior to marketing. Don’t throw out your business plans and your careful research, but also do not let those things become excuses for not moving quickly and decisively. In fact, one of the key failings of many businesses is to believe they are executing a plan simply because they have one. It is not enough to have a plan: you must act on it! As we come up on the second half of 2015, now is a good time to check your progress to ensure you are not letting perfection become the enemy of your forward momentum.
How many “plans” do you have to seek out a speaking engagement? How often have you thought about writing an article for a local newspaper? Still planning to launch a personal website? Still planning to write a business plan for this year? Do you have plans to launch out into a new niche or to put more effort into your website/blog/marketing collateral?
I understand there are highways paved with good intentions. Planning is actually easy, because the line between planning and day-dreaming is only a few hours thick. I understand putting plans into action isn’t necessarily easy, but here’s the thing – good marketers ACT. They promote themselves, they are in motion. They are a part of what is happening in the arena, not a spectator in the stands.
The solution is simple: make a marketing calendar a key component of every business plan. Force the plan onto your marketing calendar. If during planning you have to re-calendar once, do it reluctantly. If you have to do it twice, get serious – refuse to re-calendar a third time. Do not let the process of planning defeat your plans. Be sure to write an Action Plan (how and when) along with your Business Plan (what to do).
Keep moving. You will make mistakes, but those instances are adjustment opportunities. You don’t have to take great risks to act; even the smallest of moves forward will teach you something about the viability of your choices. Be flexible and fluid in your actions, and be nimble enough to adjust. Be sure the action you take is consistent with your mission statement and then move forward.
Act decisively, act intelligently, but for goodness sake ACT!
Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.