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5 steps to transform your business intentions into a working action plan

Everyone talks about the importance of planning for business growth. And there are hundreds of ways to taking your ideas and translating them into a concrete action plan. This month, I’d like to share my process. It’s simple, straight-forward – and for those visual / kinesthetic learners – interactive.

As discussed in October’s newsletter, I create an intention poster to sketch out my annual outcomes. It’s the starting point of my planning process and helps me guide decision-making and prioritize my actions as I enter a new year.

Armed with sticky notes, coloured felts, HIP’s vision, mission, and values, and of course my intention poster, I work through this process:

  1. Brainstorm ideas on how to make the outcomes noted on my Intention Poster a reality and put the ideas on sticky notes;

  2. Review & prioritize these ideas based on which will help me maximize outcomes and maximize my return on investment of time, money, and energy;

  3. Select the top three ideas and craft SMART goals;

  4. Brainstorm and select key strategies (overall campaigns (i.e. social media)) that will result in goals being achieved and by sure to ask WHY these strategies are the most important to help achieve the outlined goals;

  5. Brainstorm and refine the tactics (or action steps) (i.e. post to Facebook daily using an online tool) that support the strategies.

With the goals, strategies, and tactics outlined, it’s time to create an action plan that clearly outlines who is doing what, how it will be accomplished, when it will be completed by, and how the outcome will be evaluated.

Often, we forget to build in the evaluation part – or maybe we add it in, but don’t use the systems and process that can help us measure and track the returns. However, this step is vital and you need to spend some time on it. When we understand which components of our plan are working effectively, we have valuable information for future planning and prioritization.

For example, if one of our strategies is to strengthen our social media presence and drive more traffic to the company website, then we need to have a system in place to track which social media platform directs the most traffic to our website. Having this information helps us fine-tune our approach and define where we focus our energy in the future.

Having a clearly laid out action plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and tactics is a great tool for building business. When you get overwhelmed with your to-do list, the action plan is the road map that you can use to re-orient yourself and re-focus your attention. It’s a fabulous tool.

There are many ways to go about creating an action plan. What processes or tools have you utilized that work for you? Please share your thoughts so we can all learn.

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