During the beginning stages of starting a business, one of the most important things you should do is create an effective action plan. Why create an action plan early? Studies reveal that businesses with a startup action plan are more likely to succeed than those without a plan. However, there’s danger in spending too much time on planning—it can be procrastination.
Now, the main purpose for creating an action plan is to help you focus and crystallize your ideas. A well thought out plan can help you decide which steps to take to attain business goals and objectives.
A good action plan involves:
- Determining what your objectives are
- Setting measurable and achievable goals
- Prioritizing tasks
- A set of clearly defined steps needed to attain your goals and objectives
- Creating a contingency plan
- A concrete timetable
Your plan must be rooted in strategy and carefully outline the steps required to grow your enterprise. An action plan will help turn mere thoughts and aspirations into realizable goals.
Brainstorm your plan
The idea behind brainstorming is to help you come up with as many ideas as possible. Ensure that your action plan includes the four important areas, i.e. sales, marketing, operations, market research and administration. The first ideas that come to mind are sometimes the best ones. However, you need to reevaluate your list and pick the most effective and practical ones.
Brainstorming is best done when you are feeling relaxed, unhurried and receptive to unconventional viewpoints.
Include as many different and creative ways to achieve your goals no matter how impractical or unsound your ideas may seem at the moment.
Define your goals
Identify your goals and write them down in list format. Your goals should be prioritized in order of importance.
Focus on realistic, measurable goals
Our achievements begin with goal-setting. Knowing what you really want to accomplished is vital to your personal as well as entrepreneurial success.
Thinking or dreaming big is a good thing, but oftentimes we trip over our big ideas because we fail to lay them out in concrete terms. When we repeat the same ineffective approach to “planning” we are simply moving in circles and not getting anywhere.
By setting measurable and realistic goals, we are much more likely to achieve business growth.
Things you need to define when setting measurable goals:
Break it down into baby steps
Don’t overextend yourself but focus on measurable goals and deadline each step. When you take things in smaller increments, it simplifies tasks and makes it easier to measure your progress.
Define the cost of each baby step in terms of money, time and energy. Identify additional resources you will need to achieve each step.
Bridging the gap
Know where you’re at in relation to where you want to be. This will enable you to fully understand how much work still needs to be done to attain your goals. Consider sales volume, customers, profits, revenues. It’s like a bird’s eye view of everything to help you decide whether or not this is the direction you want to take.
Update your plan on a regular basis
The idea is to build on the minor successes you have achieved. Discard strategies that failed and continually make adjustments or introduce improvements to your plan. This will enable you to formulate a new and more educated insight.
Many people don’t like planning. However, when business gets tough, goal setting becomes crucial. Your action plan will facilitate zeroing in on the right information to help you to know what you need to get there.