We all need effective business planning to be successful. Unlike to-do lists, action plans focus on achieving a single goal. These are simply lists of all the tasks you will need to complete to achieve a goal. Action plans are useful for strategic planning because they give you a framework for thinking about how you are going to accomplish complex tasks.
What is an action plan?
An action plan is a smart overview of activities that help you complete activities in a logical order, and it also helps you make sure you don’t miss any important milestones. With action plans, team members can easily see each task and quickly decide which tasks they can put on hold or prioritize. Action plans are essential to achieving your exact goals, as they will help keep you motivated and ensure that you are on track to achieve your goals on time.
Why your business needs an action plan
Planning actions has several benefits to help improve productivity and achieve goals. Some of the benefits that come with action plans include:
Help you monitor progress: action plans are great for tracking your progress. You have a start and end date with them and know how long a task will take to complete. Action plans can also help you make sure you’re on budget, save time, and determine adjustments to your time or resources.
Gather the team members: Action plans can bring team members together to achieve a common end goal. With it, you can delegate or prioritize tasks under a single vision and track tasks on time.
Inspire concentration: By creating a plan of action, you can help stay focused. Without a plan of action, you can engage in many activities without accomplishing anything to reach your goal. Your action plan helps ensure that your actions and decisions of your entire team are designed to achieve your specific goals.
Measure success: Since action plans prioritize tasks through a timeline, they are useful for measuring success. Because each task is presented as a stepping stone to a larger goal, it allows progress to be measured.
How to write a business action plan?
Action plans help you achieve your ultimate goal by identifying and scheduling a series of tasks that will help you achieve your goal. Here are five easy steps to writing an action plan.
1. Decide on a SMART goal
The key to having an effective action plan is to use SMART is a mnemonic acronym. Simply put, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Specific: you need to identify an ultimate goal, it will help you to set goals, focus and direct all your efforts towards an ultimate goal.
Measurable: you will need your yardstick to measure your performance on how well you achieved the goal.
Feasible: Your goal should be realistic within the time frame, budget, and effort that you invest.
Relevant: make sure the goal is very important to you. You will need to answer questions such as “Why are we doing this?” And “Why is this important to us?” “. This will clarify that the goal is aligned with the needs of your business.
Limited in time: everything has a start and an end as such, you need to have a specific start and deadline date for your action planning.
2. Create a timeline
Without a clear schedule, you risk languishing indefinitely in a series of tasks. You will need to assign a timeline and deadline for each task, this will help you monitor performance and identify obstacles that might need your attention to be rectified.
3. Complete the milestones
Your action plan includes a series of tasks that will need to be completed for your business goal to be successful. You must take each step of your action plan to successfully execute your action plan.
4. Monitor progress
Tracking progress will help you identify obstacles as well as skills. You should follow up against your action plan to make sure agreed actions are taking place, assess effectiveness, and decide what further actions, if any, are needed.
Example of a commercial action plan
A business action plan will help you explain how you are going to operate and manage your business. A simple example of a business action plan can be developed using this template:
Goal: How to run a successful bakery
Define tasks: define tasks in terms of items to be produced; develop a marketing strategy; determine prices; develop a financial plan.
Assign task owners: assign people to specific tasks.
Identify the resources needed: purchase equipment and supplies; determine staffing needs; budget.
Anticipate the obstacles to come: determine the competitive advantage over you; identify challenges for businesses.
Define the timeline: establish a timeline indicating when the activities should be completed.
Example of an emergency action plan
An emergency action plan helps deal with emergencies your business may face. Some examples of emergency response may include fires, hazardous material spills; natural disasters and others.
An example of a fire emergency response plan template should include:
Goal: Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency.
Tasks: list the procedures for determining the type of escape and exit routes; use floor plans or workplace maps to clearly show emergency escape routes; procedures to be followed by remaining employees to operate critical plant operations prior to their evacuation, such as power supplies, water and other essential services; procedures for reporting all employees after the evacuation; identify employees performing rescue or medical duties.
Assign team members: Name or job title of the employee who can be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.
Example of a marketing action plan
A marketing action plan will help you develop and execute marketing strategies. With it, you can define your goals (increase sales, leverage the brand, run promotions, etc.), strategies, designate resources and other plans to track and measure the progress to execute your marketing campaign. .
Marketing action plans may differ in their goals, but standard items to have in your marketing action plan include:
Goal: To boost the sale of a product
Assign key performance indicators: these are metrics you can use to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaign and action plan.
Identify your target market: by identifying your target audience, you can frame your marketing messages according to the personality of your target.
Assign a deadline: This includes a major deadline as well as deadlines for key tasks throughout the project.
Identify the product: to sell your product, note the product in your marketing action plan.
Assign team members: Assign team members to a particular task.
Marketing budget: You will need to include a marketing budget for the successful execution of your marketing campaign.
Example of a project management action plan
A project management action plan can help you organize teams, track performance, and measure project execution. Think of a project as a collection of all the tasks involved in achieving a specific goal.
An example of a project management action plan:
Goal: Organization of events for the launch of a product
Assign tasks: assign the structure of the management team and staff for site preparation; marketing and promotion; media awareness; hire MCs and reserve talent; organize gift baskets; catering and decoration rental; send invitation cards etc.
Budget: Include all the resources and money necessary for the success of the project and prepare a cost estimate for each task and monitor the costs.
Assign team members: include workers who are part of the project.
Project risk: List and consider anything that could go wrong in your project. This will help you identify risks before embarking on a project, so that you can best prevent them.
Chronology: include the project timeline from the project start date to its end date.
Simple action plan template
You can use this simple action plan template for any situation:
Problem: (What challenges do you want to overcome)
Goal: (The ultimate goal you want to achieve to solve your problem)
Actions to be taken: Include the steps you plan to take to achieve your goals
Responsible: Assign staff members who will manage each step
Chronology: prepare a timeline for each step
Resources: include the resources you need to allocate for each step)
Potential obstacles: List the factors that can potentially hinder the completion of each step and how to avoid them)
Results: make a list of the desired results you want to see at each step