Why you need an Action Plan
I'm going to talk a little bit about a 90 day Action Plan, because I think people get a little bit confused. Business plans are important. They play different roles in your business. For some you need a business plan for getting financed, for example. A lot of banks, if you’re applying for an Internet merchant facility, they'll ask you to submit a business plan and they'll even give you a business plan template to you, and you can fill that out. The shame of that is that you'll go through the process and you'll put the effort in to get the merchant account up and running or to get the loan from the bank, but then you won’t ever refer to that plan again. I think that’s kind of crazy.
Now there are a lot of different templates out there. It’s not the finished plan that matters most, it’s probably the journey you go through completing the plan, answering the questions. ‘What is my market? What is my competition? What are my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? What am I looking to get out of it?’ That type of plan is a very important thing for you to do in your business, but it’s not a day-to-day operational plan. It just helps you understand more about what you’re trying to achieve, what’s likely to help you get there, and what might stop you from getting there.
A 90 day Action Plan is going to help you get stuff done this quarter.
Tip #1: Have an overall Business Plan
I'm going to give you five tips to effectively use a 90 day plan in your business, and tip one is to have a larger plan. Have an overall plan. Now the 90 day plan is going to be very detailed, it’s going to have a lot of detail as to what you need to do. The larger plan doesn't need to have that. It just has to have an overall view of where you’re going. If you've watched any of my videos on training or planning, I talk a lot about Mount Everest, because Mount Everest is a very tall mountain, it’s 8848 meters high, and to get to the top of that, you’re going to have to need a plan.
Everyone that’s ever even contemplated climbing Mount Everest, even if you were thinking about thinking about climbing Mount Everest, you would probably start doing a bit of planning. You would google ‘how tall is it, how hard is it, what gear do I need, what time of year should I go?’ You’ll be starting to think about it. Whilst you’re thinking about it on that level, all you’re thinking about is the summit, the very top of Mount Everest. The same thing is true in your business. That larger plan, you’re thinking about what’s the summit? What’s the top of my business? What level is that? Is it 3 million a year, 5 million, 10 million, 40 million? What is it that I’m aiming to achieve long term? What is my long term plan of my larger plan?
Tip #2: Do it every 90 days
My 90 day plan, and this is tip number two, and it isn't going to be that profound, you do it every 90 days. So every quarter I start a new 90 day plan, and it is a plan of action that helps me achieve my goals. Let’s go back to Mount Everest for a second. If I was climbing Mount Everest, would I be worried about the last three steps or the first three steps on day one? Well of course I'm going to worry about the first three steps. The last three aren't going to matter unless I make it up there. The same thing is true in your business.
It’s no use worrying about what your business is going to need or do in five year’s time. It’s good to know where you’re heading and be prepared for what might happen, but you need to know what’s happening today and you need to plan for what’s happening today. Your 90 day plan gets done every 90 days, and it’s a step-by-step plan. I like to look at it like ladders. Not that you use ladders to climb Mount Everest, but you can imagine stacking ladders up Mount Everest. Now at 8,848 meters high, if you climb 12 meters a day, grab the calculator out. 12 meters a day, divide 8,848 by 12 and you'll come pretty close to two years. It’s like 730 days or something like that. You'll come pretty close to that. The reality is, if you climb just 12.1 meters a day, you would get to the top of Mount Everest in two years if you did that every single day. Climbing 12.1 meters a day is easy. The whole idea of a 90 day Action Plan is to say, ‘What do I have to do today that’s going to help me achieve that long term goal. How many sales do I need? What systems do I need to do? How many people do I need to hire? Who do I need to train?’ Etc, etc, etc. That’s my 90 day plan.
Tip #3: Don't put to much in
Now tip number three is not to put too much in. Because what happens is you’ll be overwhelm. Once you do overwhelm, you’ll just crash, you won’t continue on the plan. Now your plan is never going to be an exact science anyway. It’s like the bus time table. Just because the bus says it’s coming at 7am doesn't mean it’s going to arrive at 7am, but at least you’ve got a rough idea. The same thing in your plan. You want to try to stick to a fairly consistent pattern of what is achievable to get done and what is realistic. You start putting too many things in your play, try to get to the top too fast, and you’ll struggle. You’ll fall over. It’s simple. You’ll run out of energy, you might run out of cash. You’ve probably heard of businesses going out of business because they proved too fast. These things can happen pretty easily if you’re not ready for them. So don’t load too much up in your plans, that’s tip number three.
Tip #4: Have a new ideas board or book
One of the things my team, and it makes me laugh when I think about some of the things they say, but I come up with new ideas all the time. They have their 90 day plan, they’re working on their plan for this quarter, and I run in all excited, ‘You won’t believe! I went to this seminar, I read this book, I saw this on the Internet this new great thing. I want to do this straight away. I want to get this done tomorrow.’
Let the team have to go, ‘Ben, let’s just put it on the ideas board, and we'll look at it for next quarter.’ Because if you've already set sail for that period, it’s no good trying to do other things or go to other destinations. It sort of ties in with number three of not doing too much, number four is have a new ideas board or book. It could be a shared folder on Google Drive. Just come up with a way you can park those ideas.
Funny enough, this will make you laugh, it makes me laugh, is that sometimes those new ideas that I come up with, they’re super exciting on the day I have them, then two months down the line I realize it wasn't such a good idea. Let’s not do it. It really gives me time to think about that strategy and evaluate whether or not it’s going to work in our business. Sometimes that excitement can die off, and I realize that it was a stupid idea, and you've probably done the same thing.
Tip #5: Have somebody hold you accountable
I’m definitely biased because I own a business coaching firm, but I can tell you I have a coach myself. without that business coach, a lot of things, especially the scary things, wouldn't get done. I think there’s an accountability to put things out there to the public to a mentor or coach, it doesn't have to be us, it could be anybody. I suggest thought that you don’t make it your friend, neighbour, husband or the girls that do your nails. Make it somebody who is completely independent, and I reckon pay them. As soon as you’re parting with your hard earned dollars to get an accountability call or a coaching session with a coach, you’re more likely to respect that relationship.
So get yourself a coach, give them the copy of the plan, and give them permission to kick your ass if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do. Because the only way you’re going to succeed and get everything implemented is with a little bit of pushing. If you’re not stretching your comfort zone, well then what you’re trying to achieve is probably not big enough.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.