Set your goals. Increase your sales. Grow your business. These are all great thoughts; however, do you have a plan on how to accomplish these tasks? A business without an action plan doesn’t really have a plan at all. And although creating an action plan might seem like just another thing to add to your growing “to do” list, the steps of creating an action plan are a healthy way to gain another perspective of what your company is doing and hopes to accomplish.
According to an online resource, Community Tool Box, there are five reasons a company, business or organization should create an action plan:
1. To lend credibility. An action plan shows members of the community (and your employees, board members) that your business is well ordered and dedicated to getting things done.
2. To be sure you don’t overlook any of the details.
3. To understand what is and isn’t possible for your organization to do.
4. For efficiency: to save time, energy and resources in the long run.
5. For accountability: to increase the chances that people will do what needs to be done.
It is wise to start creating an action plan as soon as your business is formed, but an action plan is an evolving document that will change and grow over time. Remember, once it is created, use it. Don’t just stash it away in a folder, never to be seen again.
Action plans can be grueling to create. They aren’t going to be generated overnight, and they are going to make you think about the priorities in your company. However, once you have the plan created and have shared it with everyone who works for you, your employees should be more efficient, and will spend more time working on the actions rather than doing tasks that don’t lead to growth or success.
Let’s review some key components of an effective action plan.
First, outline the clear goals you plan to accomplish with your action plan. When making a goal, make sure it is “SMART,” specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Next, assign the person, people or team to complete each particular goal. Yes, it might involve others along the way, but these people or teams should be the primary action-takers. Then, list the action steps to be taken to attain that goal and give deadlines for each step.
There is some other key information you will need to consider for your plan. What will you need to do to start your action? What are some obstacles that you might face? How will you overcome those? What resources will you need? Do you need sales coach help? If so, who will you reach out to? And finally, list the milestones you will reach along the way.
It is vital to have a plan to accomplish your goals. An action plan helps you to stay on task, make sure what you are working on is pertinent to the company and lets everyone know who is responsible for given deadlines. You may even find as you are creating an action plan that a goal you had in mind was actually a task to help you accomplish a greater goal, or it wasn’t part of the company’s overlying mission or vision, so there isn’t a need to spend time on it.
As the new year gets started, we challenge you to think about the goals that will drive your success in 2019 and create an action plan to help you get there. We can’t wait to watch your business grow this year!