5 Steps to Write an Action Plan

Today, let’s talk about the famous ACTION PLAN.

5 steps to write an action plan

I know some people are afraid of such document but, in reality, an action plan can help you stay on the right track…and this is specially important during down times; or when you have to decide if you want to invest in the next new thing; or even when you are wondering if you are still in the right place with your business.

The Action plan is like a roadmap for your business that will help you achieve the success you want. It is a step by step document that lists the actions you have to take daily to achieve your success.

The Famous Questions

An action plan helps you answer the famous, what, why, when, where and how questions about your business. Questions such as:

Why…

Do you want to start a business?

Where…

Do you want your business to go? or

What…

Do you want your business to look like in 2, 5 or 10 years?

What…

Type of revenue and profits are you looking for in 2, 5 or 10 years?

When…

Do you want to expand your business, 2, 3, 5 or 10 years?

How…

Do you want to expand your business in 2,3, 5 or 10 years?

There are many more questions you can ask yourself related to your business…and I suggest you leave your mind open to new questions as they will come fast when you start the exercise. I can tell you that it is good to have many questions as you will be able to reflect more on your business…and you will have a stronger feeling about it, since you will have many reasons to actually start a business. The more and the better reasons you have to start a business, the more difficult it will be to quit…and you will be proud to be successful when you’ll see the results. Trust me. Don’t quit on yourself!

So the 5 Steps

I refer you to my post from yesterday as a reminder for your business vision, mission and goals.

The first step is to identify your business. What is its name, what is its purpose (vision and mission).  You have to give a brief description of your business and, one thing important, put a date on your action plan. That will give you a sense of creation and concrete towards your business.

The second step is to define the goals of your business. List your goals. They should be related to actions you need to take, such as develop and implement a marketing plan, build or buy certain tools, recruit employees or partners, etc… Your list should be in order of priority, which action has to be done first, and so on.

 The third step is to define even further each goals into more specific actions that are required to accomplish the goal. For example, you want to develop and implement a marketing plan. Will you do it yourself or give it externally as a contract; where will you focus your marketing, ads, internet, flyers,…

 The fourth step is to identify a start and an end date for each goal, as well as each action underneath each goal. There are tools that you can use for that that are popular in project management, such as Microsoft Project. You have to make sure that each date is realistic and achievable.
This can be done by evaluating the resources (e.g., human, financial) required for each action. Also, the time you (or a contractor) devote to your business on a daily basis will help you figure out the time. For example, are you working full time on your business, or devote 1 to 2 hours a day?

The fifth step is to identify the cost for each action you have to take under your action plan.  You have to track this as it will help you manage efficiently your business. That will also resonate in your previous steps as, like most of us, money can be a scarce resource for you. For example, you may want to build a list of customers but can you afford paying $4 per lead? Can you find free resources? This type of question will help you define what you can afford and do.

However, I would say that you should not use money (or lack of) as a stopping block for building your business. There are so many ways to find out resources that can help you build your business.  You just have to search for it.

In closing

I suggest you search the web for action plan templates. They can help you greatly and there are many that are free.

I hope you found this post interesting. Talk to you soon.

Patricia

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5 thoughts on “5 Steps to Write an Action Plan

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