Your summer holiday may be a distant memory or if you’re lucky enough you might be planning another break. No matter what holiday you take, be it the 2 weeks in the sun, a city break or a romantic weekend away, the vast majority of us don’t travel without some planning. We do this because:
If you quite sensibly do all these things, then why would you go into business or continue to run your existing operation without a roadmap for success, goals that can drive you forward and a clear understanding of how profitable you are and could actually be?
I have worked with hundreds of businesses over the years and most of them started out with a business plan, usually for raising capital from venture capitalists, or their bank. However, this largely academic tome sits snuggly gathering dust in a drawer, rarely if ever consulted or updated.
Some would argue that they don’t need a business plan and their ideas are all in their head, sadly for many that’s where they stay as the pressures of daily life take over. Others dislike the academic sterility of traditional plans and I tend to agree with them.
I favour action planning over some outmoded document which will never be used.
An action plan if produced correctly, can be the roadmap to take your business to your desired destination. It can also set the culture of your business and be the discussion document for establishing the alliances you need for success.
An action plan gives you and your business these benefits:
Take the ideas out of your head, write them down make them real. You can share them and gain the help you need to make them a reality.
Understanding of Your Market
Manage by fact, know who wants, needs and desires your product or services and mould your communications around that information.
How many plates are you spinning? A written action plan can help you identify what needs done and even some of the plates you can allow to fall!
Create good habits
Keep your plan alive by regular reviews, to see how you have moved forward and to identify the road blocks in your path. If required, you can then adapt your strategy accordingly.
Know if you’re profitable or not
Gut feel is not the best way to identify if you’re successful or not. It’s also not the way to monitor the progress of new ideas and activities. Like it or not, numbers if collated properly don’t lie. Your action plan needs to be your bench mark for success and failure.
Make your ideas happen
How often do you take time out to think? Day dream about the future, visualise what success could look like or even plan out the next 3 months!
Writing a business action plan allows you to really think things through. Something that would benefit every business.
Establish a united front
A written action plan if created from the bottom up in a business can be the ideal way to ensure that everyone in your business understands where it is going and knows the role they play in its future success. Make sure any action plan you have is shared with everyone in the business.
Using an action plan forces you think & create a long term vision and strategy for your ideas. Once these are down on paper, they can serve as a guide to allow you to track your progress and hold yourself accountable for the future.
Create a voice for your business
Your action plan should describe the vision you have set for your business and the goals you need to meet to bring this vision to life. These details can help you articulate what your business stands for to clients, future customers and potential alliances.
If you get it right and put in the work and your road map is identified then your action plan can be a valuable and vibrant, document that can serve as a successful benchmarking tool.
Where did your business exceed expectations? In what areas did your strategy maybe fall short?
Having an action plan allows you to steer your business through the daily grind and the myriad of events that provide both opportunities and threats.
If you’re interested in creating an action plan for your business then register for my next bright talk TV session in partnership with Panacea adviser here.
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting October 2016
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