One of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make with strategic planning is crafting their plans based on optimal conditions and over-optimistic assumptions. That approach leads to no margin for error -- not good. Obstacles will arise that need to be overcome. Objectives will be met (or not) by the slimmest of margins. Miss by a little and you're done. There is a better way. You can set yourself up and develop plans that are designed to produce no-lose scenarios. Here are five steps to help you design for success, no matter what.

1. Identify the many wins in every scenario

A winner-take-all viewpoint, often leads to a narrow-minded focus on the deal alone. There are more avenues to success than you may or may not notice. Broaden your view to see all the wins on the table. Those additional subsequent wins in your periphery will equip, empower, and inform your next move and open up more and bigger opportunities.

You may go into a meeting to build a relationship, identify previously hidden needs, strengthen your position, refine your sales tactics, and ultimately of course to get the deal. These are all separate wins. It's a lot easier to walk out with a win when you have multiple winning scenarios available to you.

Pro Tip #1: Raise your BAAR. Your Beliefs and Attitude produce your Actions and Results. Don't underestimate the importance of your attitude and how you frame the win. Small wins and improvements if you look to see them, add up over time and contribute to your success.

2. Reverse engineer from realistic, high failure rates and aim for success no matter what

Make success no matter what your new mantra. Focus on the effort that ensures the desired result, no matter what. Don't focus on getting 5 customers from an email campaign because that's what will make you profitable. You'll end up making 5 calls and getting 1 customer. Instead aim to reach 1,000 people with that email campaign, because it will yield you 5 customers. Calculate the realistic rate of return on a campaign, then plan to put in the necessary effort to reach your goal.

Pro Tip #2: Ditch the over delivery mantra. The mental trap of over-delivery sets you up to believe that you are doing extra, and therefore have room to slack, and slack you will. Focus on defining and meeting a standard of delivery that produces success no matter what. Connecting with 1,000 people to get 5 customers is simply delivery, not beyond the call of duty.

3. Don't go it alone

Assembling a tough team increases your odds of success several fold. You need other talented people who believe in your vision to join you on the journey. Even single project based alliances can help you, so don't be afraid to assemble a team for a single mission.

The famous explorer Ernest Shackleton is said to have placed an ad out in the newspaper that read "Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success." Anyone who signed up for such a journey, was confident in their ability to contribute to success. So try the Shackleton approach to find your hearty team. Set clear, gritty and real expectations.

4. Plan for foul weather

A ship designed to work well only in fair weather is not seaworthy, just as a business venture designed to work in optimal circumstances isn't ready for the real world. Expect significant pushback from the outside world, every step of the way. Getting attention in the noisy world is like navigating raging seas with high winds and piercing rain. Here are five examples of marketing foul weather to plan for:

  • Your prospects are overwhelmed with information
  • You are competing with every other boat in the water for your prospects attention, regardless of industry
  • 0.5% return on email campaigns - this is more typical than marketers care to admit
  • 0% or negative return on social media campaigns
  • $5 and up cost per click, with a 1% conversion rate (adding $500 to your cost of customer acquisition)

These are real world conditions that all the business fairytales fail to mention. Be ready for them.

5. Pack a parachute - up-cycle your results through your story

If you know exactly what you'll do in a catastrophic event you won't panic and are more likely to land on your feet. There's a reason that people have parachutes on airplanes. Your business needs them too. You need to know how and when to use them.

A well documented story makes for a strong parachute. You don't have to wait for a successful result to start telling the story. In fact you shouldn't. Telling your story as it unfolds attracts attention to your business, helps you build an audience and acts as a success multiplier and a safety net. Fail or succeed you can leverage your story to recover, rebuild, pivot, and grow.

All in all, If you're expectations are realistic, and your efforts are designed to aim for success no matter what, you are more likely to reach your goals, exceed expectations along the way and enjoy more and longer moments of smooth sailing than your competition.