The 11 Step Business Action Plan
I came across this article on the American Express Open Forum and had to share it with our followers and clients. Murray Smith gives a quick 11-step list for creating a business action plan in this article. In our system, OnStrategy, we use Action Plan Reports to show a person or department’s goals and action items, due dates, and status. Like Smith says, the Action Plan Report is a great way to, “help measure progress toward your goals.” Smith also says how, “in business, your action plan is the key to focusing on the right information in the right order.” We could not agree more with Smith and his take on the Action Plan. Below is the article, The 11 Step Business Action Plan, by Murray Smith.
Many people don’t like planning. But in business, your action plan is the key to focusing on the right information in the right order—much like the combination to a safe—and it helps measure progress toward your goals.
Here’s how you should use an action plan to accelerate growth and increase your revenues and income.
1. Create a revenue plan: Identify your sources of revenues, the product or services that you offer, how many you plan on selling, and the price you will charge. This will let you know if it’s possible to achieve your financial goals.
2. Map your gap: This is the distance from where you are to where you want to be. This includes your financial, non-financial and personal goals—revenues, profits, volume of sales, number of customers etc. It’s a snapshot for you to decide if it’s the journey you want to take, or change it.
3. Know your customer: Make sure you know who your ideal customer is, because it’s often not who you think it is, or who you are currently selling too. Knowing the profile of your customer will help you save time and money when it comes to acquiring them. This is the foundation for every business.
4. Document how your prospects/customers think and behave: Specifically, you should think about why customers decide to purchase—which is the key to making the sale. Every decision starts with a desire created by internal emotion or external influence. If you follow the way they think and act then you can place your product or service right in front of them at the point of decision.
5. Create a unique positioning in your market: In a world of clutter, what gets heard is a simple message. Identify the biggest problem in your marketplace and then tell people how you solve that problem and say it in less than 1 minute.
6. Know what sets you apart: Write down the biggest benefit that you offer your customers (a benefit that your competition doesn’t offer). It doesn’t have to be a coherent statement, it just has to have impact.
7. Take action: This is what is missing from the book The Secret which talks about using The Law of Attraction to bring abundance into your life. You cannot attract abundance without taking action. Affirmations, visualizations and meditation all work together when you add action to the formula.
8. Success starts with the belief that it’s possible: Your current belief system may not be helping you achieve your goals. Old paradigms (beliefs) are the number one reason for holding us back from achieving what’s possible. Click here for a copy of Chapter 7 from my book The Answer to help you change your paradigm.
9. Determine which distribution channels you will use for your business: A distribution channel is simply the place where the transaction takes place between you and your customer—otherwise known as the Point of Sale. The seven distribution channels to choose from are: retail, online, direct sales, events, mail order, phone sales or agents.
10. Select the right strategies: These should get people to the Point of Sale identified in step No. 4, and there are about 130 strategies and tactics to choose from (i.e., advertising, direct mail, copywriting, tele-marketing, Internet marketing, etc.).
11. Create a 90 day sales and marketing schedule: This will help you plan the strategies, tactics, timing and who will be responsible for implementation. Once you get your thoughts on paper (or excel spread sheet) you will feel less overwhelmed that you now have some direction to follow or action items to delegate.
These 11 steps are not intended to represent a complete guide to creating a detailed Action Plan—they are intended to help you get started. Now you have something to measure against and you can review things periodically to see if you are on track. Ask yourself every day if you are on track or if something needs to be adjusted.