Business

7 Steps to Creating an Effective Business Action Plan

As a business, turning your goals into reality can be overwhelming. However, one of the things that simplify this process is the formation of a well-thought-out business plan.

 

What is an Action Plan?

A business action plan is a brief overview of the goals and vision you have set for your business. It consists of a road map, strategies, and processes to achieve those goals.

An effective business plan action creates small steps towards achieving long-term business goals, considering all possible challenges and benefits of the vision.

Think of a business plan as the roadmap to take your business to the next level. However, to be successful, it must contain your goals and projects with details about the required resources and the complexity of tasks.

An action plan allows for efficient teamwork, enabling team leaders to delegate projects and tasks effectively. It holds individuals accountable as everyone can view progress and plan things simultaneously to ensure that the plan is followed at all times.

Businesses of all sizes can create an action plan by following these steps:

 

1. Set Your Goals and Objectives

When creating an action plan, you must set objectives and goals that you want to achieve to make your business successful. It is vital to let your team members know what your targets are so that they can help you achieve them.

An action plan won’t work if you do not know what you want to achieve. Start by analyzing your current business and mapping out where you want to see it in the next few years. Read our article on How to Eat an Elephant to create a vision for your business that’ll take it to the next level.

This will help you get a clear idea of the situation while exploring ideas to build your business and achieve your goals. Moreover, defining your goals is the first step to implementing successful strategies.

Start by prioritizing essential tasks and delegating responsibilities. Creating S.M.A.R.T goals for your team makes it easier to set long and short-term goals and execute them efficiently. This means that your goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

 

2. Make Use of Available Resources

One of the most common reasons for failed action plans is that employers are not fully aware of their available financial and human resources, which is why they tend to under or over-delegate. When creating an action plan, make sure that you take a good look at your budget, workforce, and time constraints.

Follow the R.A.S.C.I matrix  which includes the following:

  • Responsible - Delegate a team to carry out the task
  • Accountable - Delegate a manager or head of the team to ensure that the action plan is followed
  • Support - Delegate someone to provide support to employees, such as an H.R. manager or in-office counsellor
  • Consult - Delegate a go-to member who needs to be consulted before any task is executed. For example, C.F.O.s are responsible for all the finances of the company.
  • Informed: Decide who needs to be informed about decisions, task progress, and any discrepancies in timelines. This could be the head of the department or a senior member of the team.

 

3. Create a Bulletproof List of Details for Each Task

The best way to make an effective business plan is by creating a spreadsheetthat includes a list of goals with the employees responsible for achieving those goals. The actions you list do not have to be complicated- they can include daily tasks like employing someone new, creating a new budget, or working on a bigger project.

The spreadsheet should have a key performance indicator, a list of delegated employees responsible for the goal and a timeline during which the action must be executed. Moreover, the spreadsheet can list tasks by priority so that no deadline is missed.

This will also help with customer relationship management- as long as quality tasks are completed in time, customers will be happy with the process.

 

4. Visualize Your Action Plan

Once everyone in your team or department has a clear idea of their tasks, goals, and responsibilities, you can create a virtual representation of the business action plan. This will help keep your people engaged while ensuring everyone sticks to the script.

By creating a graphical presentation you can ensure that viewing your project’s goals and targets is easier. This will also allow you to identify tasks that need to be prioritized.

A concept map can communicate vital data, such as the employees responsible for attaining specific tasks, goals, resources, and deadlines. Everyone should have access to this document, as transparency is one of the best ways to keep employees engaged and loyal to the company.

Visual collaboration platforms can help your team visualize objectives, allowing you to provide a structure to your concepts and goals.

 

 

5. Ensure Active Team Participation

Get your team on board from the start so that they can ofer timely feedback on the strategy and become a part of the decision-making process.

For a business to be successful, teamwork is vital. Hence, managers should sit down with their teams and look at projects together so that they can brainstorm an effective action plan and think about how to implement it.

The idea is to encourage the flow of ideas and then pick out those that you think will help your business attain success. You never know which employee might come up with a ground-breaking concept that will take your business to the next level.

 

6. Incorporate a Timeline

An action plan can give you a bird’s eye view of the 12 months of work. Every initiative listed on the spreadsheet must have a column that lists the deadline for the task and how it will be divided over the months.

You can also include extra columns in the action plan to list the things that need to be achieved in the next two to three years. Recognizing and working on these goals will help employees execute them faster with lower chances of error.

 

7. Create a Follow-Up Process

Employers must come up with ways to track their action plans. This could include creating milestones, like offering a small bonus when tasks are completed, establishing quantifiable measures to track performance, such as market share, an internal point system, or creating a revenue margin.

It is vital to form steps and take action to ensure that all designated tasks are completed and that no one in the team falls behind. Sit down with your team every month and discuss performances in detail. You can hold regular meetings and ask for end-of-the-day reporting to track progress.

With the help of meetings, you can recognize the work of exceptional employees and reward them for their initiative. Moreover, you can offer support to employees struggling to meet deadlines so that a corrective action plan can be implemented.

 

Conclusion

Keep in mind that business action plans are not written in stone. You must be flexible in responding to problems that arise during the implementation period. Moreover, there could be changes in deadlines or employee turnover that you must be ready to deal with.

Keep reviewing and updating your business action plan every six months so that you can account for changes that might have taken place at your workplace and keep track of regular progress that will affect the final goal.

Ian Haynes
19. 12. 2022
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