Procrastination is the Thief of Time

So……we’re in Q2 already! The weather is finally brightening up, the spring flowers are out and, while we may not be using the ‘green shoots of recovery’ rhetoric these days, it seems we may avoid a triple dip recession after all. The question is, as time marches on, are you letting opportunity after opportunity pass you by?

As a nation, we Brits are more cautious than most, and nothing brings out our latent risk averse tendencies more acutely than recession.  The problem is, the more we prevaricate, procrastinate and pause to consider the pros and cons, the more likely we are to miss the opportunities that will help us get ahead of the field and sure our businesses up against risk.

It’s a Catch 22 decision: Do you invest in marketing your business while others are cutting back to give yourself an edge in a slower, more competitive market or do you bide your time and wait until your marketplace is more dynamic? Opting for the first choice means having the courage of your convictions to invest where capital is needed despite the uncertainties of the times. Opting for the second choice, on the other hand, could leave you waiting indefinitely for the ‘right’ time, which will see you miss valuable opportunities and enable the competition to steal a march on you!

There is no definitive right or wrong answer but one thing is for certain: indecision is the enemy of any business and makes effective marketing planning almost impossible.  Marketing plans, whatever tactical approach they employ, should be designed to address market conditions within a target time frame, leveraging the strengths of your business during that period, the factors driving decision making amongst your customer groups and the competitive landscape. Leave them to fester on a back burner while you wonder whether or not the time is right and you risk diluting them and failing to deliver results.

Commercially, these are still in hard times and the small signs of economic recovery we have been seeing are, like the spring weather, too unpredictable to give us any confidence of a permanent upturn. However, just as putting off making plans for the weekend in case it rains can leave you missing an opportunity to enjoy some unexpected sunshine, putting off your marketing plans for that mythical ‘right time’ in the future could mean that the optimum moment passes you by because you’re late with the legwork and haven’t allowed sufficient lead times.

To advise companies to seize the day without first assessing their financial position would be trite and irresponsible.  However, my advice would always be to ask yourself how much time you have to lose in making your business stronger. If you weigh that question against a level of marketing activity that you can afford now to implement a phased plan you’ll be in much better shape to implement additional phases during the remainder of the year.

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