Business Planning is Overrated

If you noticed a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk would you ignore it because its discovery was unexpected?

It seems crazy, but that is what many of us do because we are too attached to our plans. As a result, we miss the easiest opportunities of all – those right front of us.

Last week I opened an email, viewed the short video within it, and then picked up the phone to call the sender who had previously hired me. We had an interesting discussion that led to a referral and another discussion, and that led to another.

The result was a renewed friendship, a new connection, and the opening of a door to a business opportunity.

Business Happens in Real Time

The time invested in that series of events effectively killed my plan for the morning. Yet, it also produced a productive and potentially profitable result.

Do you believe in karma, destiny, and synchronicity?  How about  good luck?  The truth is every day we are greeted with opportunities that we ignore. Why?

Our plans, systems, and engrained processes blind us to them. Building systems and setting agendas can be productive, but they also limit our ability to discover new possibilities that are quietly bubbling up right before our eyes.

Robert Frost suggested we take the road less traveled. Paradoxically, that road is the obvious one that most people ignore because they are looking for the secret pathway that is hidden in woods.

An example of this is chasing the big opportunity that everyone else is chasing. It’s the one you are sure will finally put your business on the map and earn the respect of your colleagues. Sadly, it’s probably driven by your ego that wants to show off.

Action Opens Doors to Opportunities

Is showing off (maybe) part of your plan, or would you rather accomplish practical business objectives, such as making a profit.

The more reliable path to accomplishing your business objectives is to focus on the obvious – the client or customer that today happens to be right in front of you, and probably wants to do more business with you.

Connect the dots – be aware of looking for these opportunities and you will more readily notice them.

Plans are necessary, but they can be inherently vague. Opportunities are specific, evident, and inherently viable.

Forget the plan. Keep it in the background and take action on what may be a nice little success, one that leads to future successes.

Have the intention of being open to any opportunity that comes your way.  Look for them, and be willing to go with the unexpected. It works, at least that has been my experience.

Success in life and business is seldom a linear process.

So, why are you rigidly following one? Give yourself permission to go forward with opportunities as they present themselves.

What do you really want to accomplish?  

Leave a comment below – and please feel free to use these ideas as you wish. 

Until next time,  Jeff

Photo Credit:

3 Invaluable LinkedIn Tips

Business networking before social networking was tough work.

You typically ended up with a stack of business cards in hand, with the challenge of determining your next best actions – who to follow up with and how.

Soon after getting back to your office the phone rings and you are off the hook.  You settle back into your comfort zone of taking care of day-to-day matters.

And you feel good about it because you can now rationalize your actions.

LinkedIn can be another form of rationalization. You make connections and are now free to forget about them and move on to what’s more important.

Business networking is planting seeds of opportunity that will emerge at the right time. LinkedIn allows you to accomplish that with minimal effort.

Here are 3 simple actions that you can take that will allow you to use LinkedIn for its intended purpose – planting seeds for new business opportunities.

 #1 – Acknowledge Every New Connection

Whenever I accept a new connection on LinkedIn I always send a message that acknowledges their effort in connecting.  In other words, thank your connections for making the effort to reach out.

If they happen to mention why they are connecting, you should acknowledge that as well.

In fact, if you are the one making the connection, it helps to add a reason why.

For me, this is often the result of them having read one of my published articles or appreciating my presentation at a small business event.

More than anything, acknowledging your new connections is a courtesy.  

And that’s something that is often remembered.

#2 – Tag Your Connections

LinkedIn gives you the freedom to create up to 200 tags for organizing your connections. A couple that I use are small business associations I’ve worked with – and others where I believe I can make a positive contribution.

We all have our own ways of making associations. This could be related to your products and services, location, or timing – such as seasonal influences.

You will have to choose the tags that are right for your business.

To give you an example, over the last several months I have been unsuccessful in connecting with a particular small business association to suggest a joint venture.

Yesterday I discovered I am connected with their COO – something that happened years ago at her request.

If you make the effort to tag your connections well, you can cultivate them when the timing is right.

#3 – Annotate to Remember How You Are Connected

One of the objectives of LinkedIn is to be your social CRM – your customer relationship manager.  This is why they allow you to download your connections into your existing CRM.

My guess is they would prefer you to use LinkedIn exclusively to manage your connections.

This is why a notes field is offered to capture relevant information. Use this feature.

A few months ago I made a new connection with an executive of an organization that sponsored one of my presentations.  We met at the evening reception, and then continued our conversation over dinner.

Relevant information about your first connection is memorable – and highly valuable when you are reaching out to suggest opportunities for working together.

To grow your business you not only have to plant seeds – you have to cultivate them too.

These three simple recommendations will make your hundreds (or thousands) of LinkedIn connections a goldmine for your business.

All of this will require some experimentation with the technology – but you can do it.

If you want some practice, add me as a LinkedIn connection by clicking here.

Leave a comment below or share this with your community on with any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Until tomorrow,  Jeff

 Photo Credit: tk-link
 By Jeff Korhan