Let's say you've decided to engage in a marketing campaign to expand your customer base.

The campaign is launched. Will it succeed?

Too often, business executives never give success any thought.

A financial advisor once asked for my help in acquiring more clients. "Sure," I said. "I'll come to town, do an interview on the local radio station and promote a seminar for you. I'll announce your phone number so the radio station's listeners can call you to register for the event. You can then try to turn the attendees into clients. All you need to do is book a hotel ballroom so I can present the seminar for you."

So I did just that. I flew into town, got on the radio and promoted the seminar using the advisor's phone number. When my radio stint was over, I called the advisor to see how many people had registered, but no one answered my call. I thought to myself, "Wow, they must be really busy answering other phone calls!"

After trying a few more times, I finally got through. "How's it going?" I asked the advisor. "How many signed up for the seminar?" The advisor said, "I don't know. We've all been in meetings. None of us has had time to answer the phone."

Apparently, it never occurred to him that anyone would actually call--that the marketing campaign would be successful--so he didn't bother to alter his schedule. He simply never prepared for success.

Don't make that mistake in your business. 

Another advisor told me he wanted to send out 10,000 pieces in a direct-mail campaign. I asked him how many replies he expected. He had no idea, and in fact had never even thought about it. A response rate of 0.5% would mean 50 telephone calls. Would he be able to quickly respond to them?

This means you must build an infrastructure so your company can handle the lead flow or new customer orders. In other words, marketing campaigns are merely a promise to potential consumers. Will you be able to deliver on that promise?

Many business executives spend a lot of time thinking about what might happen if things go wrong. They are, in essence, planning for failure. The truly great ones plan for success.