New Rules for Planning

July 2001
by Brian Jud

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Many independent publishers think of the word plan as defining a document that begins with your mission statement followed by an analysis of your business and a description of your markets, competition, strategies, and tactics. However, if your goal in planning is to create a list of straightforward actions, then there is an easier way to accomplish your objective.

Instead of creating a sequential plan as advocated in traditional marketing practice, simply create a set of rules under which you will operate. This approach considers the word plan not as a noun-a ponderous text usually valued in terms of its weight-but as a verb, a process. The end result is a description of how to proceed under various conditions, a set of policies that establish the parameters within which you will operate your business.

The process of planning is dynamic. It gives you the flexibility to recognize and act upon unforeseen opportunities as they arise. There are five categories in which your rules should be explicit, and examples of each appear in the chart below.

 

Category

Purpose

Example

1. Process Rules

How to proceed on a day-to-day basis

Define your company as, say,

a publisher of children’s

educational nonfiction books

2. Event Rules

Pursue unforeseen opportunities

as they arise

Evaluate unanticipated opportunities that

allow you to educate children

3. Ranking Rules

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