Flying By the Seat of Your Pants: A Marketing Plan Love Story

Flying By the Seat of Your Pants: A Marketing Plan Love Story

 

Do you have a marketing plan for your business?

No, I don’t mean all those plans you’ve got in your head.

A plan that’s written down. (Or, more likely, typed into that thing you stare at most of the day.)

If you’re like 99% of the folks I talk to, you don’t.

Because REASONS.

Here are a few I hear a lot:

I don’t know where to start.

I’m terrified I’ll do it wrong.

I never follow my plans anyway, so why should I write them down?

It takes too long. And by the time I’m done, it’s out of date and I have to start over. Why bother?

I don’t have time. I’m too busy putting out fires.

Recognize yourself in any of those?

You’re not alone.

But there’s something I want you to hear: Flying by the Seat of Your Pants (or FSYP) can actually be good for you. 

What?! Did I just contradict myself?

A little. But here’s what I mean: FSYP is a real skill that all good entrepreneurs need to hone.

The Real Meaning of Flying By the Seat of Your Pants

The history of this saying originates in early aviation when airplane technology wasn’t nearly as reliable (or even as available) as it is today.

Pilots themselves say,

[…there are those who can] ascertain things like wind speed, external temperature and the state of their craft just by the way it vibrates, sings, or feels in the hand.

So your instincts and ability to perceive what’s happening around you — and then navigate your way successfully (at least without crashing “your plane”) — are definitely helpful skills to have as you build your business!

And if you want to get a little more woo-woo (and really, who doesn’t?), you can think of the “seat of your pants” as your first two chakras. You know, the ones that keep you alive (1st chakra) and help you think and act creatively (2nd chakra).

But like anything else, your chakras can go a little psycho wobble out of balance now and then.

For example, if your first chakra isn’t spinning like a hula hoop on a 12 year old girl, you probably aren’t very grounded.

Which means you need to stop and reconnect with your purpose and vision. (Coincidentally, one of the first things you do in your marketing plan!)

Okay, that’s enough woo for now. What I want you to get is that “flying by the seat of your pants” has the potential to be both good and bad for your business.

And the thing that will help you tip the scales in your favor?

Writing Down Your Plans

Why? Because asking your brain to hold all of the details isn’t the best use of its energy. You might think your brain can do it, but it can’t.

Beyond the risks of losing important specifics, you also lose out on:

  • Clarifying your ideas – the process of writing things down is a proven way to work through the details of your inspiration. Just think about Leonardo da Vinci’s 500+ journals. He wrote his ideas down (and sketched them out visually) so he could work through the fine points. And he was a genius. (I’m just sayin…)
  • Making good decisions – once you’ve clarified all the pieces of your marketing, your plan helps you measure progress and decide which way to go when new information arrives. It’s one of the best tools you have for avoiding Bright Shiny Object Syndrome and panic attacks.
  • Sharing your plans efficiently with your team — if you’re working with any sort of professional — a graphic designer, a virtual assistant or even a biz coach — you’ll get everyone on the same page (pun intended) if you have an actual page to share. Documentation helps us avoid the pitfalls of miscommunication!

Now you’ve got a few good reasons to supplement your fancy-pants-flying skills with a real marketing plan.

Writing the plan doesn’t have to be hard. Have fun and play with it!

Mary Poppins was right:

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and — SNAP — the job’s a game!

If you’re a right-brained kind of person, do your planning in a way that fits you. Check out Jennifer Lee’s Right Brained Business Plan. Or pretend you’re a scientist outlining the steps of your next experiment.

The thing to remember is that planning does NOT mean you’re carving things in stone.

Your plan is supposed to change and grow along with you.

And? Using the excuse that it’s going to change so why bother writing it down is like saying, “I’m just going to mess up the kitchen again tonight so why bother cleaning it?”

Sure it works for a few days, but after about a week or so, you’re out of dishes and counter space.

Don’t let a little piece of paper scare you away from your greatness. You want to be real business don’t you? You want to make real money, right?

Of course, you do.

Acting like a grown-up doesn’t mean you give up the fun parts. It just means you find fun ways to do what needs to be done.

And it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice and hone your intuitive and instinctual responses (aka FSYP).

If you’re not sure where to start, check out the Digital Dining Room.

Then, if you want a little more help, watch the recording of the Q&A webinar I did recently. A lot of folks said it made them feel a lot more relaxed about the planning process.

And finally, if you’ve still got questions or would like some help getting your 2014 plan done, consider joining my Bring Home the Bacon Mastermind.

Have you found a way to incorporate fun into your planning process? Share your creativity with us in a comment below.

 

Image Credit: Flying by the Seat of My Pants by Angela Treat Lyon

 

  • SandyMcD

    “If your first chakra isn’t spinning like a hula hoop on a 12 year old girl, you probably aren’t very grounded.”

    You just have a way with words, Tea. Thinking of this is going to make me smile to all day. And think a little bit too. The wobbling hula hoop is a rather too powerful metaphor for when things are truly going out of whack. Nothing like popping the next three things you MUST do to move your business along to get that hula hoop flying around your hips again. And then you can be a grown up and right a real plan. My challenge is always to make it fit on one page. (OK, my last one is on a rather large sheet!). But I can see it and that helps.

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      One BIG page, right? I love the easel-sized post-it notes. Put ‘em up on my wall and draw away. Whatever works, Sandy!

  • Shauna

    I attended your webinar, Tea and I still haven’t gotten my plan written down. I think the first thing I need to do is organize my desk (again!). I’ve got too much flour on the table and nothing’s sticking! :-)

    • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

      Ha! Sounds like you’ve got procrastination DOWN, Shauna. For folks in your shoes, I usually recommend you set the timer for 15 or 20 min and just do that much. Give yourself permission to tackle this in teeny tiny bites. Then IF you feel so moved, you can continue for longer. But you don’t have to. :-)

      • Shauna

        Yes, as a cook I clean as I go. When I worked outside the home I was organized to the point of being anal. Now that I work from home, I’ve printed soooooo much research material. I’ve put most of it in binders, but I have some stuff on my desk for reference. However, I can’t find it because it’s not yet found a home. I hate that I’ve gotten so disorganized. I have never, ever in my life had this problem!

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