Is Planning Necessary?

Most people do not have a life plan, a career plan, nor a financial plan. You would think anyone in their early 20’s just starting out in their career would think about “what am I going to do for the next 60 years of my life?” Wouldn’t you?

The fact is that: nobody plans to fail…they just fail to plan.

Why is this?

Well if your parents did not plan and those in their social circle did not plan, then their children probably will not plan either because there is no one that they know to give them any planning guidance, or to set an example. Even though there are examples of successful people being broadcast all day everyday on every form of media available most people don’t emulate them, they just watch them?

Likewise, schools do not teach success, but rather routine lessons about what was – not what will be. Students graduate without a clue as to what to do with their lives other than “get a job” – any job. Is it the right job? Is there a future with the company? The industry? Does the company have a plan?

I would say that for anyone who wants to be successful with their business or their careers – planning is necessary!

Planning is a simple process

The essence of planning is to answer the following basic questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? And, how are we going to get there? Planning anticipates the inevitable, but if you can’t see the inevitable you certainly can’t plan for it. If expenses are going up and salaries are going down, then it is inevitable that you are not going to have enough money to live comfortably.

Most people don’t even know how much money they make per hour. If you work 40 hours a week for 50 weeks, that’s 2,000 hours. If you want to earn $100,000 a year, then you have to make $50 an hour, and $75 if you want to make $150,000, etc. Using the census data $50,000 is $25 an hour for the average American.

Planning is about numbers, whether for business or personally. Even a simple break-even analysis is illusive. How can you start a

business without a plan? How many of what do we have to sell to who at what price to cover the cost of running the business? How much do you have to earn to cover the cost of living?

Anyone who wants to get started in planning needs to think about the following two fundamental principles:

  • You can’t manage what you don’t know
  • What gets measured gets managed


Robert M. Donnelly is the author of: Guidebook to Planning - A Common Sense Approach, an educator: Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Saint Peter's University, and a brand builder and marketing expert. His new book: Personal Brand Planning for life is a guide for anyone w...

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