Speakers talk a lot about doing their “strategic planning,” but not all of them are good at mapping out their course to success. Some speakers struggle to get real traction
from planning. Here are three common strategic planning
mistakes to avoid:
MBA, CSP, is the author of The
Simpli;ied Strategic Planning
Manual and the best-selling
Simpli;ied Strategic Planning:
A No-Nonsense Guide for Busy
People Who Want Results Fast!
Strategy is about doing the right thing in the right place at the
right time. Real strategic conversations always revolve around
three questions: What do I sell? To whom do I sell it? And how do I
beat or avoid competition? If you’re assuming you know the exact
answers to these questions already, you aren’t actually doing
strategic planning. You’re just setting objectives to further your
SOLUTION: Ask those three questions, and then ask yourself,
“How am I changing my course to make success easier this year?”
2. YOU HAVE TOO MANY OBJECTIVES.
This one is so common that it’s the first question I ask when
people say they’re having trouble executing their plans. Larger
organizations—even those with thousands of employees—have
trouble implementing more than 10 truly strategic objectives.
SOLUTION: Consider a much smaller number of objectives: no
more than three for a one- or two-person operation, five if you
have three to 20 people, and 10 only for a larger business. If you
get three strategic initiatives completed every year, you’ll be far
ahead of the rest of the speaker pack.
3. YOUR STRATEGY ISN’T DISTINCTIVE ENOUGH.
This issue is largely driven by fear. Being different is scary, and,
at first, it can be harder to sell. But take a minute and think about
really successful speakers you know. Every one of them owns a
space in the minds of their market. I think of people like Tim
Gard, CSP, CPAE; Steve Spangler, CSP, CPAE; Larry Winget,
CPAE; and Roxanne Emmerich, CSP, CPAE. These
people aren’t just great speakers—they have created a
space and dominated it with their work. Every one of
them looked a little “out of the box” when they first
started pushing into their unique space. And every one
of them is often the clear first choice for their clients
when they are hired to speak. If you still don’t think this
is important, take a close look at people you consider
great speakers who haven’t done this. While they may
have a good speaking business, they have to work much
harder to make that work, and probably aren’t generating one-fifth the revenue of truly distinctive speakers.
SOLUTION: Ask yourself if there are clients who would
always make you their first choice. Why? Also, look at
your five toughest competitors and ask if you bring
anything to the client that none of the others do.
BY ROBERT BRADFORD, MBA, CSP