I subscribe to startup & entrepreneurial blogs, lots of them. I wake up to quite a few subscription emails, and I read them first thing in the morning. Two of these are David Cummings and Johnson Cook’s blogs. This morning, Johnson references David’s blog from the previous day. Now I’m going to put my take on the combination of those two.
Here’s what I like best about David’s blog post, entitled “Thinking About Annual Planning in a Startup“:
“Make a simplified One Page Strategic Plan and share it with the entire team.”
And what I like best about Johnson’s latest post, entitled “Your Plan Will Go to Out the Window“:
“The best battle plans go immediately to hell as soon as the first shot is fired.”
So what’s the point of planning if on day one, everything changes? Therein lies the best part. Stick with me. Back in 2009, CWNP was just about to tank, having lost 3 of the 4 principals, one of whom was the co-founder. My “plan” was 5 points hand-written in thick sharpie on a blank piece of paper. I stapled it to the wall in my office, so everyone (who was left) could see it every time they were in the office.
Shots had been fired. The plan had completely changed, but I had a new objective: complete turnaround. Our small team achieved 4 out of 5 of those major goals, and, more importantly, achieved the complete turnaround to growth and profitability. How did we know that? We had the plan! We could look back and see what we did and did not accomplish. Plan points 1 through 4? Check. Plan point 5? Nope.
I liken this whole scenario to the formerly-very-popular GPS system (now mostly replaced by smartphones) that would give you turn-by-turn directions. If you went off course, you’d hear the voice: “Recalculating.”
That’s what we do in startups: plan, execute, recalculate. Every day, we recalculate based on information we now have that we did not have before or events that occurred that we didn’t think of, all with the higher goal in mind.
So make a plan. Then get out there an DO IT. Tomorrow, recalculate. And remember this, from Zig Ziglar:
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”