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Making Time for a Non-Plan Plan

Intro by Skip Cohen

Sarah Petty is without question a leader in marketing education and, more important, inspiration in our industry. Everything she writes and talks about in her podcasts gets me thinking about something I could be doing better.

The post below was an email to me about a recent podcast she was doing. Well, it got me thinking about how I do the planning for my business. I’m more prone to keep it loose than over-focus on planning and the calendar.

We should all have a certain level of long-range planning with ideas ready to go, but it’s essential these days to leave yourself a little room. Everything has changed in the way we’re doing business now, and it’s crucial to be able to pivot and act.

For years I worked for somebody who wanted a full calendar of events/activities the company would be involved in, often sixty days out. And when a great idea did come along, instead of acting on it, he’d ponder, often taking too long and missing the initial opportunity.

We’re in an industry going through some profound changes, but time is still your most valuable commodity. Remember to save a little, so when great ideas come along, you’re in the parade instead of watching it go by!

Sarah Petty’s podcasts need to be on your radar – you’ll find everything over at her Joy of Marketing website and blog.

By Sarah Petty

Let’s time travel back to 2004….

“Along Came Polly”…. Remember that movie?

There was this scene … I think about all the time: Jennifer Aniston (Polly) and Ben Stiller (Reuben) are on a yacht in a storm. They’re arguing about whether or not to settle down.

The boat is pitching hard in the waves. Polly and Reuben are being tossed across the cabin like old napkins.

Polly argues that her life is amazing without commitment.

  • She’s proud of her adventurous life!
  • She’s traveled all over the world!

But to Reuben, having that much “freedom” drives him bonkers!

  • He’s a risk-management guy who carefully plans every single minute of his life.

Reuben yells at Polly: “You’re on the non-plan plan!”

And Polly yells back: “I AM NOT ON THE NON-PLAN PLAN!”

(As Rodolpho goes sliiiiiiding across the floor)

Usually, I’m a Reuben.

But when it comes to my photography marketing, I’m a Polly!

Not because I can’t deal with commitment.

Not because my dad had a whole second family on Long Island. (He didn’t. That’s a line in the movie, FYI)

But because leaving a little wiggle room in your plans makes room for MAGIC.

  • To jump on surprise opportunities
  • To pivot when things change (and they always change)
  • To force yourself to come up with fresh, new ideas

If you’re a Reuben…

And the thought of being on the non-plan plan for your marketing fills you with anxiety….

Take a breath.