December is Write a business plan month, the time of the year where entrepreneurs recap the year that just ended and start planning their goals and objectives for the upcoming year. In theory, it’s all nice, but in reality, that’s not what’s going to move the needle the most in your business.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I’ll be the first one to talk to you about the importance of having a plan. But, the thing with business plans is that they tend to be way too long, and they tend to be neatly stored in a binder left on a shelf for the next 12 months.

If you really want to bring your business to the next level, ditch the business plan and focus on creating an action plan instead.

What do I mean when I talk about an action plan?

Simply put, an action plan is a one-pager where you’ll write what needs to happen this year and when it needs to happen. Think of it as your business’ GPS, with a GPS you don’t get lost, you know exactly where to turn, when to turn and you get to your destination faster.

Here are the three steps to create your own action plan

No.1 Map out your goals

First, map out your goals. When I talk about goals, people often think of the number of new clients and revenue generated – but in reality, these are results of actions you take throughout the year.  Here I’d like you to focus on the actual steps you need to take to get to these results.

For example:

  • Do you want to host events or seminars to attract clients?
  • Do you want to create a mastermind group to nurture the relationship with centers of influence?
  • Do you want to implement a business protocol to elevate the client experience you offer?
  • Do you want to take a course, start working with a coach?

What do you want? Make a list, map it out.

No.2 Create your action plan

Take a sheet of paper, divide it into 12 boxes – one for each month – and decide when you will complete these goals. It all starts with a decision and a timeframe, for example:

January February March
Start coaching program Create engagement plan for clients
April May June
Host client event Team building event
July August September
Vacations Finish office clean-up Launch newsletter
October November December
Offer seminar Create action plan for next year

No.3 Review your action plan weekly

Pick a day of the week and review your action plan – I do this on Friday afternoon as I’m planning my following week. We all know the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ you want your action plan to be visible. The more you focus on it, the more actions you’ll take and faster you’ll reach your goals.

Have passion, take action, magic happens

Three steps, that’s it. People tend to complicate things. When we make things simple, we follow-through and that’s when we reach our goals.

These three powerful and simple steps will help you create the solid foundation you need to achieve.

Now, go out there and make it happen!

Sara Gilbert



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