How to Write a Business Action Plan

Every business owner has dreams about where he wants to take his business. But until these dreams are converted into a strategic plan with goals and objectives, they will probably not become a reality.

Developing a business action plan is the way to turn the owner’s ambitions into reality, and finally, into more money in his bank account.

An effective business plan starts with setting up goals using the SMART outline. Goals created with a SMART framework have the following characteristics:

  • Specific: Let’s suppose you have a store selling roller skates. Setting a goal to “increase revenues” is vague and not specific. A better goal would be to “increase sales of outdoor skates by 12 percent.”
  • Measurable: Goals must have a way to report a measurable number. For example, the goal to increase sales could be tracked with weekly sales reports.
  • Attainable: Employees have to be convinced and believe that the goals are attainable. If the employees do not think that they can reach the goals, they will not even try. Your people may not believe that they can increase sales by 25 percent but increasing sales by 12 percent seems doable.
  • Relevant: Goals must be created that conform with the business model and the demographics of the customers. It would not make sense to set a goal to sell refrigerators if your main business is selling surf boards.
  • Timely: Goals must have deadlines. Increasing sales of outdoor skates by 12 percent in the next six months is specific and timely.

The next step is to convert the goal to “increase sales of outdoor skates by 12 percent in the next six months” into an action plan.

How to Achieve the Goal

Each goal must have an outline for the process necessary to achieve the goal. The first objective is to increase the number of prospective buyers coming in the store.

In the case of selling more outdoor skates, one step may be to do more advertising in print and on television about the wide choice of outdoor skates that the store has in stock. Another step could be to email the store’s list of customers about an upcoming sale on outdoor skates.

Which Resources Are Needed

If the company will use advertising to drive more traffic into the store, how much will it cost? How much money will be needed for the total campaign? Effective advertising requires repeating an ad several times before it has the desired effect on the consumer. All of this costs money.

The action plan should define the amount of money needed, the number of people required and any physical assets that will be necessary.

Who Is Responsible

To achieve a goal, someone must be held accountable. It could be more than one person or even a department. In any case, the employees must know what their goal is and when it should be attained.

In the case of increasing sales of outdoor skates, the sales staff on the floor must have their own individual sales goals. They also must have the training in sales techniques and product knowledge to effectively perform their jobs.

Track the Progress

Set up a procedure to receive regular reports on the progress toward achieving the goal. If it appears that the company is not on the required pace to meet their goal, then adjustments can be made to get back on track.

Business action plans are the vehicles that transform dreams into reality. Goals that are created with the SMART method and combined with employee accountability and tracking have the highest likelihood of being achieved.