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Do you have a current Business Action Plan?

Posted by Ian Davies on 5 November 2014
Do you have a current Business Action Plan?
Do you have a current Business Action Plan?

Just mentioning the two words, business plan, often evokes either trepidation or total disinterest in the minds of many business owners.
A good business plan is the foundation for a successful business start-up and onward growth.  It sets out the things that matter to you and your team and provides a day to day guide that will help you stay on track and not get lost in the jungle of decision making, email, operational and people management issues that drown many new business owners.
You will only understand why your business plan is your bible when you write and follow one that captures your vision, mission and beliefs; when you write a plan that is inspiring, easy to understand, reviewed and updated along the way.
Certainly you will follow the business's systems and manuals but your business plan will personalise your objectives and be easier to share with those who will help you make it happen.
When you make your plan a living document and share key, exciting goals and objectives with everyone in your organisation you will soon not only understand why your business plan is your bible but enjoy the feeling that comes from others making it their bible too!
Writing the plan is also often approached with anxiety because many business plan templates are too detailed and too tedious for entrepreneurial types. Here are some tips on writing a plan that you will enjoy writing, sharing and using.

An overarching objective kept down to one sentence is a good first step to ensure that your plan stays on track for the duration. This important first step may take more time than writing the whole plan however having a clear written objective will serve you well.
Define your objectives then break them down into the key areas of your business; for example this may be its financial performance, customer service or human resources. Hold a brainstorming session with your team, and accept all ideas as good ideas in the early stages.
Set some goals for achievement in the next 12 months in each area.  You may choose to set the goals yourself then brainstorm with your team
Make a list of what you are doing now in each area
Against each item list the new things to do, or to do better
Narrow the lists down to what's appropriate and achievable by having the group vote on the top five items which then become action items against which to set measurable goals for achievement.
Write an action plan for each item including what, how, and a completion date.

Note: make sure that every action is geared to achieving a goal and celebrate success as you reach a decision on each one.
Involve your accountant and get their assistance to adjust the plan to fit within your budget but don't lose the things that matter, your beliefs, values and your mission.  
Remember, an annual business plan, broken into quarters can be revisited and adjusted along the way.  You may choose to use the simple process I've outlined here or a more detailed analytical one. Either way make sure you re-read and spend 5 minutes to update it every month to keep your vision on track.
Whichever approach you choose, write down that overarching desire and dare to action it.  Don't be overwhelmed, "go as far as you can see and when you get there, enjoy the moment of achievement then reset the plan with some larger plans and targets and repeat the process.

Author: Ian Davies
Tags: Motivation Advice

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