Creating A Powerful Action Plan In 4 Easy Steps To
The first step to figuring out what to do next is figuring out where you want to go with an action plan.
Creating an action plan is useful for everyone, regardless of the task. I was first exposed to planning when I was an athlete, but it is helpful for business, finances, and personal development.
Think about a year-long reading goal. Do you want to get in 12 books? Then you need to read one book a month. What does that look like each week? Then, what does that mean for each day? A chapter or two?
If you know what you want but not the steps to get there, planning is for you. It allows you to break down goals into manageable chunks and make progress. I think it’s safe to assume that with a cohesive strategy in hand, you would be able to keep your head down and work with confidence, knowing that your actions are one step along the way.
What gets in the way?
Let’s assume we are talking about planning for a business, though the lessons learned will be the same. The number one thing getting in the way for most people is the flood of required tasks.
In the short term, social media and advertising take a lot of the bandwidth. This attention is appropriate since you need to act when their eyeballs are on your material.
Client management and sales are medium-term tasks. Also important, because this is how every business makes money.
Our contention, and why we believe developing an action plan is essential: ignoring long-term growth of the business happens far too often. Where do you want to be as a business in a year? Five years?
Four steps to developing an action plan
To make sure the tasks you are inundated with today lead to the growth you want tomorrow, you need to develop an action plan. To make one, follow these four steps:
- Set goals. Be honest with yourself; what do you want? In what timeframe? These need to be within the realm of reason but should be enough of a reach to make you uncomfortable. Our suggestion is to develop a lower limit, a level you will be pleased with reaching if you fall short of your “reach” goal. Key: make sure this goal is measurable.
- Set milestones. If you are going to reach 1 million dollars in sales in a year, where do you have to be at six months? At three months? These milestones will inform your decisions on the path to your ultimate goal, and allow you to make adjustments as necessary.
- Schedule. This step is where the medium timeframe tasks come into play. How many clients do you need to contact to reach your 6-month target? What level of sales do you need to attain to hit your goal for the month? Scheduling also includes the tasks required to deliver the sold services/products to the client.
- Consistency. Finally, we come to the daily tasks, like social media, advertising, and outreach. How many people do you need to talk to today, or this week, to reach your projected goal? Based on your advertising conversion percentage, what is your budget to sign the expected client number?
It isn’t always easy.
I’ll be the first to admit, this all DOES sound good on paper. Putting it into practice is another issue. That’s where discipline, and learning how to put “blinders” on, can go a long way.
Be careful about mixing the time frames of different tasks. For example, a dogged focus on the money in the short term could result in your missing out on planting the seeds that would be harvested later in the cycle. Conversely, if you know you sign a new client for every 100 new social media followers, obsessing over the work it will take to develop those followers could result in you staring up at the peak of the mountain of content you will have to create. Paralysis by analysis, anyone?
Make your life easier by making a plan that allows for manageable steps toward your ultimate goal. If your milestones don’t align with your projected timeline, adjust your strategy.
Here at Algorithmic Global, we would love to talk about what we can do to help turn your advertising into the propellant that will launch you towards and through your long term goals. Contact us today to find a time to talk with a digital marketing expert and take one more task off your list.
Now that you know the steps to take, what goal do you have in mind to develop your action plan?