The best marksman needs to see what he’s aiming at. If you reach for the top without a clear picture of what the top looks like you’ll just flail wildly, like a drowning swimmer.

How will you dress, talk, walk when you have achieved great results? What will your day be like? What will your friends be like?

In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill writes, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” If you conceive and believe only in some misty notion you’ll get some pretty befogged results. The more clearly and completely you can visualize yourself as you intend to be, the better.

Having marketing vision is essential when starting a new business. But vision without a specific action plan is a ship without a rudder.

Developing a marketing plan that includes specific goals, vehicles and budgets offers significant advantages. Planning six to twelve months ahead gives you a broader, long-term perspective of your marketing needs and expenditures, and allows you to take advantage of volume discounts on advertising space, services and printing. When you can commit to a schedule in advance, you may also be able to negotiate longer payment terms.

But most importantly, a detailed Marketing Plan will help you stay focused on your brand goals, and avoid purchases that aren’t in your company’s best interest.

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?”

Robert Browning had it right. We usually fall a little short of perfection in what we try to do. But reaching for the top is vital.

After all, if you aimed to have a million dollars in the bank and fell short with only nine hundred thousand, you would still be pleased. But if all you hope for is enough to pay the bills, and then you fall short — that’s disaster.

No one sets out to be the worst salesperson in the company or the last person to complete their part of a project. But some people seem satisfied to be average. If you set the highest standards for yourself you may fall a little short. But you will still be great at whatever you do.

Remember:

Outstanding Standards = Great Results
Great Standards = Average Results
Average Standards = Poor Results