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Planning and Strategizing

What's your business plan?

In 1845, a British expedition commanded by Sir John Franklin boldly set out in search of the Northwest Passage, a fabled sea route around the top of North America. The expedition was plagued by logistical problems from the very start.

The crew had little experience with the arctic. Other than Franklin, few among the officers were arctic veterans. Disregarding the advice of the native Inuit, crewmen were outfitted in uniforms far better suited to winters in Southern England. 

In May, the expedition set sail from England never to return. Studies over the years have concluded that hypothermia, starvation and lead poisoning, along with inadequate clothing and supplies, lead to its demise.

While few of us have our hearts set on being arctic explorers, the fate of the Franklin Expedition serves of a poignant example of the importance of proper planning. It has been said that if you don’t know how to get there, it doesn’t matter what road you take.

Planning is more than just looking at a set of directions and figuring out how to get to a destination. A good plan will address at least three basic criteria:

  • Who you are. If the plan doesn’t match your core values, then the results won’t be very fulfilling, even if the plan is successful. It can also be said that if you don’t like where you’re going, then it doesn’t matter how you get there. 
  • Why you want to get there. What is the business goal?  Financial gain? A better internet presence? More clients? Your reasons for doing something will fundamentally affect the way you go about it. When you take the time understand those reasons, you’re far more likely to come up with a plan that meets your needs.
  • How you’re going to get there. A good plan takes into account the obstacles that you’re likely to encounter along the way. Sadly, the Franklin expedition failed to meet this criteria. Even if you’re starting a brand new venture, research can be a valuable tool. Have others encountered similar issues? How did they solve them?

Sometimes you need to plan for your plan. While it won’t guarantee your success, it may help keep your plan from being stranded in the Arctic.