Are You a Planner or a Doer?

Ask anyone in business what their plans are for the upcoming year? Chances are good that most will say, “I’m planning on taking my business to the next level”.

What does that mean exactly? What measures have they taken, to achieve this goal? First off, they would have to establish exactly what the “next level” means.

All of these questions need answers. Taking their company to the next level, regardless of what is meant by the term involves careful planning. I have found that every one in business LOVES to plan. They love to visualize – to dream of just how good they can be. It gives them a feeling of control. Nobody in business likes the idea of standing still.

In order to do better, they must be a moving target – this being the case, why is it that so many never get out of the gate, let alone get to the next level?

It must be similar to New Year’s resolutions. Great intentions with little execution. Weight Watchers™ and gyms increase memberships with people who love the idea of change but are ill-prepared to follow through to their goal. The reason for both scenarios:

It takes work and will power.

Companies we all admire as immensely successful and visionary, got there through perserverance and strategic planning. There are no short cuts to success. Once you do all of your planning, next you will have to put out the funds to finance it and sufficient effort to make it all happen. Without this trio, you will enjoy very little of the “next level” you aspire to.

You must be a “doer”. Doer’s as the title implies “get it done”. Doers are visionaries. Whether the effort earns success or failure, a doer wins by learning and growing until success is realized. A Doer does not recognize negatives, only opportunities. Do not PLAN on taking your business to the next level but, DO take your business to the next level – THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.

Ed Roach

For more than 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. I consult predominantly with businesses facilitating my proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.

I have international speaking experience and am the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today. I'm also a "expert panellist" with Bob Proctor (from The Secret)'s Matrixx Events in Toronto.

I have been interviewed in all media and I also blog extensively and uses the digital realm on the web to connect and promote my services world-wide.

I have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, in the Czech Republic and is the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today, the book is available on and the Amazon Kindle store.

My clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.

I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego aimed at teaching Graphic Design companies how to build brands for their customers.


  1. Great post Ed. I’m wondering if many people create ambitious plans for their business year – then become too overwhelmed to do anything. Breaking yearly goals down into monthly, or weekly ones does make it seem easier.

  2. Ed,

    Great post. Everyone starts the year with good intentions (My wife works for Weight Watchers. January is their busiest month of the year.) But without specific, measurable goals and objectives, intentions are nothing more than dreams that most likely will never come true.

    If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, you’re no more likely to succeed than if your goal is to “take your business to the next level.” If your goal is to lose one pound per week by decreasing your food intake by 3,500 calories or increasing your activity an equivalent amount or some combination of the two, you’re much more likely to succeed.

    Businesses need similar short-term measurable objectives if they’re going to succeed. In fact, without such measurable goals, the business is likely to go to “the previous level” if not fail completely.

  3. Catherine, Mike-

    I talked about this article to a client of mine today and he felt he fell into the planner model simply because of time constraints. But he gets most of his plans completed, so I felt he was a Doer. Your comment on smaller windows and Mike’s on a more realistic goal can produce more Doers. Planners who want to be Doers should not be so hard on themselves and give their plans a chance to work.

    Patience is the key and will-power is the engine here.


  4. Yup totally agree! “Doing” will get the job “done”!!
    You can plan all you like but only in the execution will success come of the planning!
    However a word of caution…when making plans, if you have staff on board be VERY sure to communicate those plans and required outcomes very clearly. For a number of reasons but the two main ones are, no one likes to be on a rollercoater ride – no matter what they tell you otherwise! If they can only see “change” with no definate outcome or goals it terrifies them!! It’s a little like riding a car with the windscreen painted black and someone occationally shouting directions through the sunroof! A very scarey prospect! Also you need to get team “buy in” to the change or the movement…(Ok I hate that phrase as much as the next man but you know what I mean!) if the team don’t know what the plan is, then they can’t buy into and help make it a reality for you!
    Just what I’ve learnt in the last 18 month the “hard way”!! 😉

  5. Terrific comment Freya. I have a client who learned the hard way that planning without execution demoralizes the staff. The feel lost and exposed. It feels as though the company is not moving forward. Recently I’ve helped them get moving and the employee response alone has been VERY rewarding. Everyone feels like something is happening within the company and management is trying to make it better FOR ALL.

    Love the windscreen analogy – you paint a real picture.

  6. Initial planning is good, but it takes dedication and grind to succeed! BE A DO-ER.

    BTW>>>Great article.

  7. If you ever met a planner and I’m sure you have, they can drive you nuts. Great intentions – no follow up. A complete waste of time. And the icing on the cake, they blame their lack of initiative on everything but themselves. “success eludes them for some reason”. Doh!

  8. Marketing is the one factor that plays an important role in the growth of the organization. Now a days online marketing is the easiest way to advertise our company or our product. So when we plan a business we should take care of the marketing strategies.

  9. Seun Fategbe says:

    A great and interesting “powerpush” for a new start in a new year

  10. Emphasis on PUSH. Get ‘er done.


  11. I think the problem is how you define a plan. “Taking your business to the next level” is not a plan, it’s just a wish. A plan is step by step instructions on how you are going make your wish/goal a reality. With a good plan it is easy to become a “Doer”.

  12. I thought you might enjoy it. Your statement that many may be held back by fear reminds me of a book I read about 10 years ago called. “The Fear of Success.” The premise was essentionally that we are all used to failure and we have over time learned to how to cope quite nicely with it. But success – thats another story. Since it eludes us so often, we aren’t familiar with this animal, so we fear it’s impact. I guess it’s not the devil we know.

    We all seek success, but as they say – “be careful what you wish for.”

  13. Judy Asman says:

    Hi, Ed,

    I did read this when you first posted it. Great article! Your piece really speaks to getting our glazed eyes off of the vision board and actually working the vision.

    I think many are held back by fear and perfectionism, the old analysis paralysis syndrome. While the “ready, fire, aim” approach is not always the wisest, sometimes it’s best to set the target and go for it. Only when we know we’ll actually miss our shot can we re-measure and reset our aim.

    At least that’s what’s worked for me and kept my business in motion. I might still be testing the theory but at least my business plan isn’t collecting dust.

    Thanks for the post!


  14. Michael Forey says:

    Great post and good discussion. For me Ready Fire Aim was one of the better business books I have ever read. It did push me to fire. I was ok on my planning, but I thought my product had to be perfect without flaws before I ever started to sell it.