How do you go about creating an action plan for your new business? Start by defining your vision, your mission, and your purpose. An action plan can help you outline the specific steps necessary to carry out the strategies you have identified in your business plan. It can help you achieve your goals and determine who does what and when they will do it. Additionally, the action plan should focus on the resources required to put things in motion and identify the expected result.
Define Your Vision and Mission. A vision statement is created from the beliefs, values, and principles you have about your business. It focuses on the path you intend to travel and describes the future you hope to see. Think of it this way: While your business plan is the blueprint for your organization, the vision statement is the blueprint for the achievement of that plan.
A vision statement needs to be realistic and credible. It is a description in words that helps everyone connected to it understand its purpose. It should serve as a guide to action and be in alignment with the organization’s values. A vision statement should challenge and inspire an individual or organization to achieve its mission.
A mission statement describes the “what” and “why” of your business. It tells people why your organization is in business and what you are hoping to achieve. A mission statement identifies your company to its customers, vendors, and the media. It has one common function: to serve as guide for you and your employees in making decisions that effect the direction of your company.
A typical mission statement contains three components:
1. The purpose of your business
2. What your business does
3. The values of your business
Know Your Customers! In order to be successful in business, you must understand your clients or customers. You need to know what makes them tick; what they need; the challenges they face; and how your product or service can address and solve those issues.
Look at demographic characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, or income. Find out what they like and what they don’t like. You’ll want to know how your services or products can solve a problem they have.
Remember, time is money and every activity has a cost associated with it. One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is that they neglect to include the cost of time.
You have your vision, your mission, and your goals. You’ve brainstormed, determined your costs and found the best deal. Now it’s time to make things happen. Go back to your list and create a timeline. Set a date to accomplish each task in every section of your plan. Some tasks can be accomplished quickly, while others may take a year or more.
Once the timeline is added you can easily use your action plan as a checklist to ensure that you actually do what you set out to do. By taking these steps you can easily turn your business plan into a powerful business compass for years to come.