Use an Action Plan Template to help create an action plan to achieve your Vision and your Goals. Without a goal, your chances of success are significantly reduced; without an action plan with your goals, your chances are again reduced. Most successful business owners will write a business plan. This is simply a more elaborate action plan.
If you are looking for a business plan review our information about business plan templates.
First Step: Set Your Goals
Before you actually build your action plan, you need to have a vision for what you want to achieve and then set your goals. With a clear vision of what you want to achieve, now it's time to create a, well thought out, plan of action.
This action plan is your road map to success and should help you stay motivated as you are building your business. If you aren't sure how to create an action plan, the use this action plan template to help you build the steps to move closer to your goals.
When creating your plan, you must think about the goal. Ask yourself questions about this goal... What do you want to accomplish? What will everything look like when you accomplish this goal? What will you be doing? What will you have spent, how will you feel when you reach this goal? What will you do differently... etc.
Let's use an example
To show clearly how to incorporate the action plan template, let's assume our goal is to travel to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for a 1 week vacation in August, to see the Killer Whales and visit the Butchard Gardens.
Our SMART GOAL could then be stated as follows: For the week of August 10th, I will take a holiday to Victoria, British Columbia to visit the Buchard Gardens & take a Whale Watching Boat Tour. See Creating SMART Goals.
We'll use a vacation as an example to illustrate the action plan template because we all go on holidays. When we plan a holiday, we effectively use the same process as we would to create action plans to achieve other goals!
In fact, I believe that every goal is a destination. A Weight loss goal, for example, is a destination for your new body image. A goal to have a certain amount of wealth or income is also a destination. The journey to achieve that goal is the plan of action that we create with our action plan template!
Next Step, Follow the Action Plan Template
1. Brainstorm & Identify Main Categories/Topics
In our example, a quick brainstorm has identified 7 main topics that we need to consider to accomplish our goal:
2. Brainstorm Actions for Each Topic
We have identified 7 main categories that we need to accomplish to our goal of having a holiday in Victoria. It is now time to consider the actions needed to clarify and accomplish each of these different topics?
With Travel, for example: We have a number of choices and options and have to narrow all of these down.
The first action for Travel is to decide which method we wish to take to get to Victoria. Taking the train is interesting, but perhaps another time. Taking the bus is just too inconvenient. Taking the car is an option, but will take too long.
Let's fly there! We now have to brainstorm the actions needed to book a flight.
Using a travel agent is an option, there is less time for us to do the research. Book a flight ourselves, is an option. This could take a little more of our time. We have enough points! This is a good option and will be much less expensive.
Once we have finished brainstorming for the Travel Category, then we move on to the next category. We brainstorm for Accomodation, then Budget, etc., until we have completed a brainstorm for each category!
For Accomodation, we may come up with the following list:
Once we have brainstormed each category, then we will have a much better picture of what our vacation will look like. We will have decided on a budget, this will then help with our decisions around accomodation and travel and perhaps other activities we wish to do while on holidays!
3. Identify The Order of Each Step
Brainstorm ideas and issues for each topic will help you to understand which topics you need to consider first and others that you don't have to worry about until later. This process of brainstorming will also help clarify the goal and get a good picture of what the actual result will look like.
The next part of the action plan template tells us to identify the order of activities... Based on the brainstorming, decisions regarding the budget will have to be completed first. Travel and Accomodations could be completed at the same time. We might be able to get some sort of package if we book through a travel agent or through our points provider. We might also get a room with a kitchen, where we can prepare some of our food...
Once the travel & accomodations are completed, then we would review, research and decide on activities, places to eat, etc.
4. What will limit your ability to achieve your Goal
In our example, the budget is one topic that you would probably limit some of our decisions. The time we have to spend on vacation will also limit some of our decisions.
When reviewing the budget, we might need to decide how to pay for the trip: From Savings? From a Bonus from work, or on credit? This may require it's own goal and action plan if we haven't already saved the funds for the holiday and we don't want to go into debt to achieve this goal. We could again utilise the action plan template for a goal to save $x,xxx.xx for this holiday.
The order of the action plan will be:
5. Identify Resources
In our example, our resources would be the funds we have to pay for this vacation. We would also consider the Travel Agent, the internet, friends & family as resources for information about our trip.
You may notice that as you go through this process of research within each topic. As we work through the action plan template we uncover more information that we may not have considered before.
For example, perhaps the whales are more likely to be seen during a specific season of the year. This will help us to clarify the dates for our holidays. If we were not aware of this, then we might plan a spring holiday and not be able to accomplish our goal of seeing any Killer Whales.
As I mentioned before, I used an example of planning a holiday to help illustrate how to use this action plan template to create an action plan. I chose a holiday because I have found that many of us will often spend more time planning our vacations than we do planning any other aspect of our lives.
The creation of an action plan will require some research, and this research will help you to overcome hurdles as they come up. In the above example, if we were in Victoria and planned to visit a certain restaurant for dinner and found that it was closed for renovations when we arrived, then we would probably know of some others, based on our previous researcy, that we might want to visit instead.
An action plan doesn't have to be complicated or extremely detailed, but we should do some research and write down some of the steps. I've found that writing down goals and action plans help me to accomplish the goals faster and keeps me on the right path toward them!
Always keep the goal in mind. Are the steps that you are taking moving you toward the goal? Review your actions and your goals regularly and ask "what is my next action?" This review will keep you on track and get you there faster than if you didn't have any goals or actions planned in the first place.
Having an action plan, whether from this action plan template or just a list is like having a map. If we had decided to drive to Victoria instead of fly there, we would plot a route on a map and then start following the route.
If the trip takes 5 days to get there then we would have to stop each day and rest somewhere overnight. In the morning, we would get out the map again. Review the route and start on our journey again. Every day we do the same thing!
If we didn't look at the map, we might start driving in a different direction and end up somewhere in the complete opposite direction!
Why is it that in life, we wake up in the morning and go about our day without looking at our goals or our action plan? If we have a goal, we have a destination. We MUST review our goals & action plan regularly! Otherwise, we are going to get off track!
Use this action plan template, brainstorm actions and activites related to achieving your goals. Write down your goal and action plan. Review your goals and action plan every day for 1 month, then tell us how you did!
We would love to hear about your goal and action plan, what your learned what you achieved!
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