The Old Adage: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

The Old Adage: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail


Having been all around the region and I speak at many conferences and seminars I realize that there is one thing in common when we meet businesses that succeed and thrive, and the ones that fail fast. Some businesses even survive as long as 10 or 20 years without having a solid business plan and they are burning out fast from doing the same thing over and over again.

Some CEOs and owners have this bad habit of not wanting their business plans documented, for many fears. But this causes more damage than benefit for them. When I interview these business owners and CEOs, they have a few simple common traits, and this explains why they work the hardest with their blood and sweat in the business.

Common Trait #1 – They always tell me this, “I don’t need to write down my plan, because it’s all in my head.” So when a business plan is all up in your head, the problem is that all Results and Outcome of the business are real information with the owner himself/herself. No one else knows WHERE the business is going and what to do. No one else would know the outcome of the business except you for that quarter, for that month, or for that week.

And the challenge with that, the business owner is working hard and growing his business is because his plans are not being documented. And CEOs and business owners wonder HARD why their employees and team members are not proactive at taking the business forward and they are the only ones working hard in the company. Ironic isn’t it?
Common Trait #2 – It just takes too much work. Many don’t have their business plans documented because CEOs and business owners need to plan what to do and a lot of business owners develop their business as situations arise and they have to react to the situation. This makes them REACTIVE to their environment and not proactive at setting the building blocks they need.

Sometimes building business plans tends to take a long time because it takes a lot of analysis, review, gathering of data, and understanding what went wrong in implementing strategies, in order to know what to do moving forward. Frankly, all this takes a lot of work and some business owners and CEOs are just not up to it because they just want to make money. Little do they realize if they don’t have a business plan in place, they are going to be working HARDER and HARDER in the business. Before they know it, they are exhausted from doing the same thing over and over again, without a plan.

“Without a Business Plan in place, Business Owners & Leaders are only Working Harder and Harder in the Business.”

So what does it take to have a good business plan that works for you long term? Here are some tips…

Tip #1: Always ensure that your plan has a long term view to your goals, both business and personal goals. It’s always easier to be short sighted with your goals because it requires more realization of what you want in business. I found out that many people do not know what they want from their lives and this keeps them working harder and harder in the business without knowing clearly how the business should help them increase a better quality of life. Drive your business goals by having a better life will mean that there is more SUSTAINABILITY in business instead of a whole load of busy-ness, no time, no happiness, and poor health.

Tip #2: In building a plan for your business to grow, also have a plan for yourself to grow. There are always gaps between where we are and where we want to go. This is because the GAPS in our results are really the gaps in our Abilities, Skills, and Knowledge to make more money and get better results. So when we build a business plan to grow further, we must also have a plan for our knowledge to grow. This gets frequently ignored buy business owners because of the busy-ness.

“Working on yourself is more important than on your business. You work on yourself, your business will grow as well.”

Tip #3: Most people build business plans and after some time they realized that their goals and plans are rarely achieved. Why does this happen? I have seen many business plans that start off with a great big picture, but almost always lack the specificity needed for implementation so that the business can move forward. The business plan must be detailed enough so the plan can be delegated clearly to your managers along with clear expectations. They would then be able to build the plans at the department level and measure their performance based on the plan.

Some business plans sound like this:

  • “Let’s increase sales.”
  • “Great, how we do this?”
  • “Let’s train the sales team. Let’s put this into our business plan this year.”

Information like these are important to build a good business plan. Why very few leaders and C-suite officers have complete business plans because it takes too much work. A great business plan will consider getting enough information and data, from the business, in order to have clear details and specificity strategies to implement. This CLARITY will enable the plan to be better delegated and executed by the team. And hence higher chances of success.

If you are a business owner, C-suite leader, and you need help in building a strong business plan for clear execution, please reach out to any business professional or business coach who can guide you in the process to consider the right information and strategies. You may have had business plans for many years in the past and you are looking for review or feedback on those plans, do reach out to a business professional. We have reviewed many plans and we would be happy to give you input on yours.

If you are in the range of a Small & Medium Sized Business and would like to develop your business plan, this is the time. Get your business plan, adding zeros in your profits, but more importantly, giving you the freedom and time back.

And should you need support in implementing the strategies, wanting to hold you and your team accountable to achieve better results…

You can give us a call at 03-6204 0812 or

Send us an email at sparkactivators@actioncoach.com and we will get back to you.

Maresa Ng – Asia's Top Business Growth Specialist
As Entrepreneur, Author, Investor, Professional Speaker, and ActionCOACH Asia Master Coach Trainer, Maresa has grown several of her own businesses and has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners & CEOs to succeed in turning around their businesses. She is the author of MPH Masterclass Guide to Starting a Business. Having spoken in over a dozen countries regionally, her business-building-seminars have touched the lives of thousands of business people and entrepreneurs. Maresa had achieved Top 3 Firm Builder in Asia Pacific in year 2015, and maintained Top 100 Global Coach in 2012 and 2013. One of her businesses was awarded SME100 Fastest Moving SMEs by SME & Entrepreneur Magazine in 2012. Her track record of both successes and failures has led her to be one of the most prominent business speakers and experts in the region. Described mainly as businesses secret-weapon, Maresa has the strategic and tactical ability, energy and passion to take entrepreneurs and businesses to the next level. Visit www.maresang.com and transform your business today.


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