Lets get right to the point here. Smart planning has always saved money in business. In this day and age, it starts with your business plan. Plan what you are going to do, how you’re going to do it, and when.

It’s like anything else. Going to Staples without a list of what you need will certainly yield you a good solid hour of looking at black leather dayplanners (if you’re a guy) or color coded paper products (if you’re a girl) and maybe you’ll leave with a red stapler, wondering what just happened. When you get back to the office you will come to the startling realization that you went to get ink for the printer, and you’ll have to spend the time to go back, get what you really needed in the first place, and come back.

So then, lets say it takes you two hours instead of an hour to get an ink cartridge. If we are to measure the value of ones time in ink cartridges, an hour of ones time would be worth half an ink cartridge at this point. I know, that sounds bad. It is.

You haven’t just wasted time; you have effectively cut the value of your time in half.

Lets apply this to a business process of a marketing campaign; lets say it is a poster job for your new music store. You see two or three draft designs to start off. You sign off on the direction of one of them. But you haven’t done your business plan yet and you don’t know what genres you will be specializing in. You see a beautiful final version of a poster with awesome colors, your logo looks fabulous, and there is some young good looking person on it listening to music on their iPod. The approved poster goes to print; ten thousand copies, appearing all over the city in brilliant full-bleed color. A week later, you have nailed down that you are specializing in Country music, and you fill your boots with the first order form with your music suppliers. Cowboy up! Posters go up, the store opens, and everyone is excited that you have the new Eminem since they saw him on the poster for your music store. What? Who? Uh!

In the few seconds that it took you to say “yes that looks great,” a significant portion of your marketing budget, if not all of it, has been decimated by sheer and utter lack of planning.

You may think this is an unrealistic scenario. It is not. Once the wheels are set in motion in business, they can only be reversed with money. Be wise with yours. Plan ahead.