A plan is just a plan, wishful thinking, until it is executed.
How many annual planning meetings has your agency gone through the motions of creating a strategic new business plan only to have it fail in its implementation? Maybe next year, instead of focusing so much attention on the plan, use annual planning to create dynamic processes for execution.
“Execution, more so than planning, is the battleground that determines success and failure.”
Experience has taught me that successfully executing a new business strategy requires a system, not a series of diverse projects performed by different parts of the agency. Here are some practical tips for creating a system for new business for your agency:
- One person responsible: You will not only need the right person in place to oversee the process, someone who has focus, determination and consistency, the qualities are required for success.
- Convert your strategic plan into a game plan that includes Milestone Dates, To Do List, Resources, Assignments, etc.
- Set goals that stretch your agency but that are reasonably attainable and measurable.
- Determine what is needed to achieve your priorities: People, funding, equipment, space, training/development, etc.
- Get organized: Use a program such as Basecamp, an excellent, inexpensive online project management tool to help in the implementation process.
- Just start: A lot of time can be wasted if you don’t start somewhere. Identify and focus on the first step. Once you get going, it’s much easier to keep going. Also remember, don’t over think things, keep it simple.
- Based on your tasks create a “must work week” schedule. Arrange your work week priorities ahead of time. “If you don’t know and control your schedule, someone else will.”
- Be prepared to make changes. This is not an exercise in perfection – Plans give you a road map to our goals, but you have to be ready to make adjustments, based on your experience in execution. Every plan I have ever seen has obstacles. Don’t abandon your strategy at the first obstacle, create “work-arounds”, solutions, even temporary ones that will allow you to keep the process moving. Don’t let anything stop implementation.
- Make assignments: clear communications with those who must help with implementation of the various projects is a must. Who is doing what and when. Make sure they know their assignment, due dates and be prepared to prod, poke and push for completion.
- Close out completed projects.
- Monitor and report progress: Unless there is an ongoing process for evaluating execution, making decisions about it, and closing the loop with the original strategy, the effort fails. Note: I’ve worked with agencies that are bombarded with internal meetings, communications and reports. Keep this part simple, a monthly one-page executive summary of progress and a brief monthly meeting with only the persons that are necessary to review and make changes, will usually suffice.
- Periodically highlight successes and celebrate new business acquisitions: This will reward participants and create excitement within the agency.
- Incorporate “lessons learned” from accessing your accomplishments into the next year plan.
Please feel free to share additional tips and ideas for creating a system for agency new business in the comment section below
Additional articles that may be of interest:
- 10 Tips For Creating a Game Plan For Ad Agency New Business
- Ad Agencies: Three Things a New Business Director Needs for Success
- 10 Advantages When Ad Agencies Focus New Business Efforts on Their “Sweet Spot”
- Add A Fact Sheet for Ad Agency New Business
- The Changing Role of Ad Agency Rainmakers
- 6 Practical Tips for Ad Agency RFP Responses