Creating A Business Action Plan To Increase Profits And Save Time

Are you wondering how Creating a Business Action Plan could totally transform your business?

Well before we get started with that, let me ask you a few questions:

  • Are you really in control of your business?
  • Do you have a system to effectively track all of the actions required to drive your business forward?
  • Have you automated as much as possible?

Let’s face it, 2020 and 2021 have both been a bit of nightmare because of Covid, so I want to provide you with an overview of a process that I use to manage my business goals and targets effectively, a process that has revolutionised our efficiency and added lots of dollars to the bottom line.

When I started out in my real estate investment business, I had a mission to automate as much as possible so that I could free up time for higher level thinking and future planning.

Business Action Plan Flow

It is far too easy to bog yourself down with the minutia of daily business. When you do this you become incredibly busy but you are not necessarily driving your business forward.

Can you relate to this?

I had made that mistake in other businesses and I was determined not to make the same mistake again.

I do subscribe to the principle of the “devil being in the detail” but I also wanted to avoid the detail becoming the main focus of my business.

Automating the detail was my main aim, so that my employees and I could spend time thinking about improving the business and planning for the future.

Entrepreneurs and New Ideas

When you are an entrepreneur with many new ideas floating around in your head all the time it is very tempting to impose these ideas on the business as the most important things to focus on.

If you do this then you risk compromising other important aspects of your business.

I didn’t want to stop these ideas from occurring in my head (I don’t even think this is possible) but what I did want was a process to manage them effectively. Many entrepreneurs fall foul of this.

They get bored of “business as usual” and want to inject life into their companies with new ideas all of the time.

But many of these ideas are untested and it is crazy to run from one new idea to another pulling your employees in many different directions. People get disillusioned very quickly when this happens and they can end up leaving you through sheer frustration.

Inspiration from Others

I am an avid reader and I’m always interested in new ways of doing things that will improve the overall efficiency of my business.

I found two great books which provided me with the inspiration to introduce my own business action planning system. The two books were:

Traction: Get a Grip on your Business by Gino Wickman with Rakuten Kobo

Business Action Plan - Traction

Scaling Up by Verne Harnish

Business Action Plan - Scaling Up

I cannot recommend these books highly enough. You can get them on Amazon and elsewhere and I recommend that you read them.

If you have an existing business and you want to move forward in the right way then there are incredible ideas in these two books to do this.

When reading any book of this nature you always need to accept that you are unlikely to find a perfect solution that will fit exactly into your company as it stands. Mine is different to every other business, so I knew that I would have to take the principles recommended in the books and modify them to fit in my business.

Another person that I gained inspiration from before creating a business action plan was David Finkel. David is the CEO of Maui Mastermind and provides business coaching with the emphasis on growth.

He has his own quarterly action plan system which I really liked.

I found it very stimulating to take the business action planning principles from these people and customise their ideas to make it work perfectly in my business. I involved my employees in this new process and we finally got it to work well for us.

We are always fine tuning things but the system that we have now works really well.

In the next part of this post I will explain how my business action planning process works and how I implemented it.

My process will show you how you can implement a similar process in your business and save a lot of employee time.

Creating a business action plan - overview

Creating A Business Action Plan

In the previous section of this post I explained the reasons why creating a business action plan was so important to me.

Now I will reveal the detail to you so that you can adopt a similar process in your business.

The business action plan process that I introduced several years ago into my business has revolutionised it in terms of efficiency.

It’s always a great time for you to introduce, or modify, a similar system for your company. I know that it will work for you.

Start with your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

You have no doubt heard of this term before. You can call it your one “big business goal” for the year or I like to call it our “prime objective”. It really doesn’t matter.

It is the one thing that you see as more important than anything else in terms of business growth and development.

As an example I decided that my prime objective for 2021 is to agree projects with a Gross Development Value of $20,000,000. I don’t know how I am going to achieve that yet and that doesn’t matter when you are deciding on your BHAG.

Using the business action planning process will help you to actually achieve the goal.

BHAG - Prime Objective

If you are not used to creating yearly prime objectives then I urge you to do so. After I started to do this I found that everything fell into place and I could focus my actions, and those of my employees, to reach this goal.

Some people ask me if you should have more than one big goal per year. For a business the size of mine one is certainly enough. If you have a larger business then it is possible to have more than one BHAG.

But always bear in mind that focus is really important, and if you have too many goals you can end up achieving none of them.

Break your BHAG down into Sub Goals

After deciding on my one big goal I will then break this down into a number of sub goals ( 5 – 7 is a good number). These dovetail into the BHAG and they are all about how I am going to achieve my prime objective.

Business Annual Goals

If I want to agree $20 million worth of property in 2021 then I will need to achieve certain sub goals. For example, I will need a number of new investors to fund the property purchases so a sub goal for me could be to “find 10 new investors”.

Buying properties means appraising deals so another sub goal could be to “appraise 50 new real estate investment deals”.

These sub goals are very important because they will be broken down into smaller chunks and they will feed into my business action planning process as time goes on.

For example, if I want to appraise 50 new deals this year then there are certain steps that I need to go through to achieve this number.

Focus Areas and Action Steps

To add even more structure into my business action plan I decided that I would have three primary focus areas each quarter. One of the main reasons that I did this is because it was very easy for me to come up with a huge list of tasks to meet a sub goal.

But this can be overwhelming and so I needed to be realistic about what we could achieve in a 3 month period.

Focus areas for action planningSo I created focus areas. These are areas of my business which need improvement. Examples of this could be marketing, automation and systems, the sales process and so on.

Within each of these focus areas there are between 10 and 14 action steps assigned to different individuals in the business.

I use an action planning worksheet which has a start and end date, each focus area, the action steps within that focus area, who is responsible for delivering each action and the target date for completing the action.

Business action Planning - Worksheet

Success Criteria and Key KPI’s

It’s fine to have an organised list of action steps under focus areas assigned to different individuals. But how do I know whether an action or set of actions is delivering the results that I want to achieve?Action planning time saved

The answer to this is the use of “success criteria” and a “key KPI” (Key Performance Indicator) for each focus area.

You cannot manage what you cannot measure, and I want to be sure that what we were doing is taking the business in the right direction. I didn’t want to develop a “busy business” that was really going nowhere.

Success criteria relate to a task or collection of tasks. When I was in the processes of automation I decided that initially I wanted some of the automation tasks to save at least 40 hours of work per month.

By deciding on this specific success criterion I could measure if the actions were successful or not in saving the working hours.

A key focus KPI is more high level. For example, I had a sub goal where I wanted to agree on a number of sites for the sourcing of land for development projects. The KPI that I set for this was “Sites agreed”.

Adding “Realism” to the Business Action Planning Process

Sometimes normal business activities will get in the way of you achieving all of your actions in a quarter. I knew that this would happen so I set realistic targets for action achievement.

If an opportunity arises for the business to make money then the action steps are always going to be secondary to this. So, I decided on a target of 80% completion of all actions as recommended in the Traction book mentioned previously.

It is not realistic to expect to get every action step completed during the quarter, but a good target to work towards is 80%.

What do I do with the actions that are not completed? Well if they are still important to the business going forward and I want to maintain that specific focus area then I roll these into the next quarterly planning cycle.

I discuss why we didn’t complete certain actions with my team and then decide whether to keep them going or not.action step monitoring

I found that as we were working through the tasks in the various focus areas that other tasks would naturally emerge. I assess these additional tasks for importance. If they were important and we could complete them quickly then we do them.

If they need more time I roll them into the next quarter’s action plan.

When I come up with a new idea (or anyone else does) I assess it for importance too. I then add the idea to the next quarter if I want to go ahead with it. This ensures that I do not disrupt the current actions with a new project.

When designing my business action planning process I split the system into different departments such as higher level planning, finance, sales, marketing, operations etc.

I add every new idea or task to the appropriate category in my project management system. I then go through everything that is outstanding when planning the next quarter’s actions.

My Final Thoughts on Creating a Business Action Plan

Since I’ve introduced this 90 day business action planning process and as much automation as possible into my business it has become a lot more efficient. We have saved thousands of hours through the automation resulting in my employees being able to perform higher level work as opposed to mundane daily tasks.

And because creating a business action plan process has made their roles very targeted, they are now able to focus more on the customers and finding new deals.

I now have automated systems in my company that help with email management,
viewings, customer onboarding, marketing processes, customer support and so on and so on. 

I can say without a doubt that my business action planning process has improved my business immensely in every department. It has freed up our time and my team and I are now able to focus on growing the business rather than dealing with everyday non income generating tasks.

I strongly recommend that you start planning to introduce a quarterly business action planning process into your company right now. I’m sure you will see the benefits very quickly.

I’d love to hear from you now please.

Have you introduced an action planning system that has drastically changed your company? Or worked on automation of daily tasks bringing big benefits to your bottom line?

If so, please add a comment below, it would be great to hear from you. Thank you and all the best Harvey.

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