Taking action is important. But how? What steps should you take? How can you be sure that your steps are leading you in the right direction? The truth is, you can’t always be positive that your steps will lead yield that results that you want, but you can TRY. You can come up with a map or blueprint of what you need to accomplish in order to reach the your goal. This is called an ACTION PLAN.
An ACTION PLAN is an analysis of various components that are required for you to reach your goals. Every ACTION PLAN requires 7 parts;
Let’s look at these one at a time.
STEP 1: A Goal
Every ACTION PLAN needs a goal. It is the foundation. It is what all other parts work to accomplish. A goal needs to be specific, measurable, and attainable. We typically use SMART goals to ensure that we are setting goals that are relevant to our business and are attainable in a timely fashion. SMART goals are the easiest way for us to stay on track and meet our goals. For more info on SMART goals, click here.
STEP 2: Task List
The next step is to list the smaller steps necessary to reach the ultimate goal. For example, if your goal is to start a lemonade stand and sell 100 cups of lemonade in the next 2 weeks, you would need to break down all the steps you will need to take, such as, going to the store and buying the supplies, making signs, and picking a time and date for your lemonade stand. These tasks are more manageable chunks that are required to meet your larger goal. Without the smaller steps, your goal would not otherwise be able to be accomplished. List out all the steps you think you will need to meet your bigger goal.
STEP 3: Prioritize and make deadlines
Now that you have all of the steps, list them in order of priority. What is the most important task that will need to be done first? Go through each step and place them in order. Going back to the example of a lemonade stand, you wouldn’t be able to make a sign promoting it, if you didn’t first pick a day to hold your stand. Once all of your steps are in order, place deadlines for each one. If you are using a SMART goal, timeliness is important. Set a deadline for each step to be accomplished so that the ultimate goal can be accomplished in the timeline you have chosen.
STEP 4: Milestones
Each small step will likely need a milestone. This is a measurement to show that each step has been finished. How will you know if you have met the smaller steps? For our lemonade stand example, a milestone for “buy lemonade supplies,” would be to have bought lemonade mix, cups, and lemons. The milestone is your way of knowing that it was done.
STEP 5: Resources
Resources are the things you need to have in order to accomplish those small steps. For example, you would need a pencil, paper, and markers to make your lemonade stand sign. Resources can be things, people, or skills. You may need artistic resources to create a great looking sign. You may need your parents or a guardian to take you to the store to buy the supplies for the sign. These are all examples of the various types of resources.
STEP 6: Creation
Now you have all the parts for your action plan. Fill in your ACTION PLAN and get started on each of the steps. Filling in the ACTION PLAN gives you an easy visual with everything in one place. You can track each step and see where you are in the process of reaching your ultimate goal.
STEP 7: Evaluation
As you work towards completing the steps towards your goal, you may see that you need to adjust some things. Maybe you are meeting steps in the process faster than expected or perhaps they are taking a bit longer than you originally thought.
Either way, as you work towards your goal, evaluate what is and what is not working, and change things up accordingly. This flexibility is what will make all the difference in your business. This reflection will also help you adjust things as you work through the process. You don’t want to continue on an ACTION PLAN if things go astray and do not continue leading you towards your goal.
Once you have done this, congratulate yourself! You are on your way to reaching your goals of being a successful business owner.