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Blog Training and Development

What is an Action Plan & How to Write One [With Examples]

By Danesh Ramuthi , Oct 26, 2023

action plan

An action plan is a meticulously structured strategy that pinpoints specific steps, tasks and resources vital to turning a goal into reality. It is extremely useful in any project management. 

Crafting an action plan is like plotting a route for a cross-country journey. It’s the strategic map that outlines every step, decision and pitstop needed to reach your ultimate destination.

With a well-thought-out action plan, you’re not just shooting in the dark; you’re making informed, purposeful strides towards your goals. Dive deep with our guide and witness real-world examples that will inspire and guide you.

Need a tool to kickstart your planning? Try out the Venngage business plan maker and explore their extensive collection of action plan templates .

Click to jump ahead: 

What is the purpose of an action plan?

When to develop an action plan, 7 components of a actions plan, 15 action plan examples.

  • How to Write an action plan?

Final thoughts

An action plan serves as a strategic tool designed to outline specific steps, tasks and goals necessary to achieve a particular objective.

Its primary purpose is to provide a clear roadmap and direction for individuals, teams or organizations to follow in order to efficiently and effectively accomplish their goals. 

Action plans break down complex projects into manageable, actionable components, making it easier to track progress and stay on course.

Moreover, action plans play a crucial role in fostering accountability and coordination among team members. By assigning responsibilities and deadlines for each task or milestone, they ensure that everyone involved is aware of their roles and the overall timeline, reducing confusion and enhancing teamwork. 

Additionally, action plans help in resource allocation, budgeting and risk management by enabling stakeholders to identify potential challenges and plan for contingencies. 

Overall, the purpose of an action plan is to transform abstract goals into concrete actions, making them more achievable and measurable while ensuring that the resources and efforts are aligned with the desired outcomes.

Developing an action plan is crucial when you’re looking to achieve a specific goal or outcome. Here are instances when you should consider developing an action plan:

  • Start of an organization : Ideally, an action plan should be developed within the first six months to one year of the start of an organization. This initial plan lays the groundwork for the future direction and growth of the entity.
  • Project initiation : At the start of any project, an action plan helps to clearly define the tasks, responsibilities, and timelines.
  • Goal setting : Whenever you or your organization sets a new goal. Action plans transform these goals from abstract ideas into concrete steps.
  • Strategic planning : For long-term visions and missions, action plans break down the journey into manageable pieces, each with its timeline and responsible parties.
  • Performance improvement : If there are areas where performance is lacking, whether it’s personal or organizational, an action plan can outline the steps needed to elevate performance.

An action plan is a detailed outline that breaks down the steps necessary to achieve a specific goal. Here are the typical components of an action plan.

1. Objective or Goal

The cornerstone of your action plan is the objective or goal. This should be a clear and concise statement outlining the desired outcome or result. Having a well-defined objective provides a direction and purpose to the entire plan, ensuring all tasks and actions are aligned towards achieving this singular aim.

2. Tasks or Actions

Once the objective is set, the next step is to list down the specific tasks or actions required to achieve this goal. These tasks should be broken down into detailed steps, ensuring no essential activity is overlooked. The granularity of these tasks can vary based on the complexity of the goal.

3. Set deadline

For each task or action, set a realistic and achievable deadline. This timeline ensures that the plan stays on track and that momentum is maintained throughout the execution. It also allows for monitoring progress and identifying potential delays early.

4. Resources needed to complete the project

It’s crucial to recognize and list the resources you’ll need to complete the tasks. This can encompass financial resources, human resources, equipment, technological tools or any other assets. Identifying these early ensures that there are no bottlenecks during execution due to a lack of necessary resources.

5. Person responsible

Assign a person or a team for each task. This designation ensures accountability and clarity. When individuals are aware of their responsibilities, it reduces overlap, confusion and ensures that every task has someone overseeing its completion.

6. Potential barriers or challenges

Every plan will face challenges. By anticipating potential barriers or obstacles, you can be better prepared to address them. This proactive approach ensures smoother execution and less reactionary problem-solving.

7. Measurement of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Determine how you’ll measure the success of each task or the plan overall. KPIs are tangible metrics that allow you to gauge progress and determine whether you’re moving closer to your goals and objectives. They offer a quantifiable means to evaluate success.

Action plans serve as blueprints, guiding the steps and resources needed to achieve a specific goal. 

They come in various formats, tailored to different scenarios and objectives. Here, we present a range of action plan examples that cater to diverse purposes and situations. 

From business strategies to simple task lists, these examples illustrate the versatility and importance of well-structured planning.

Business action plan example

A business action plan is essentially a strategy roadmap, meticulously tailored for realizing broader business objectives. By crafting a solid action plan, businesses can channel their resources, manpower and strategies in a direction that harmonizes with their larger vision.

Purple Business Action Plan Template

Key to this plan is the identification and alignment of steps that resonate with the company’s comprehensive strategy, ambitions of growth and aspirations for operational enhancements. 

While this might entail a myriad of specific steps based on unique business goals, some common elements include setting clear key performance indicators (KPIs), undertaking a thorough SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to grasp the current business landscape and establishing a timeline to keep track of progress.

Business Action Plan Template

Furthermore, allocating responsibilities to team members or individuals ensures that every aspect of the strategy has a dedicated focus. Budgeting, essential to the success of the action plan, ensures that every initiative is financially viable and sustainable. 

Red Business Action Plan Template

Regular reviews and iterations based on feedback and changing market dynamics keep the action plan agile and relevant.

Related: 5 Steps to Create an Actionable Employee Development Plan [with Templates & Examples]

Company action plan example

A comprehensive company action plan serves as the strategic linchpin, ensuring a coherent and coordinated approach to realizing organizational goals. Central to this plan is the incorporation of rigorous market research and analysis, which provides insights into consumer behaviors, market trends and potential opportunities. 

Clean Green And Gray Action Plan

Equally vital is the focus on product development and procurement, ensuring that the offerings align with market demands and stand out in terms of quality and relevance. 

Alongside, adept legal and financial management safeguards the company’s interests, ensuring compliance with regulations and prudent fiscal oversight.

Simple Green And Orange Company Action Plan

Moreover, the essence of any successful company action plan lies in its sales and marketing strategies. These define how the products or services are positioned and promoted in the market, ensuring visibility and engagement with the target audience. 

Navy And Yellow Modern Minimalist Action Plan

However, while acquisition is crucial, retention plays an equally significant role. Hence, impeccable customer service and nurturing relationships become indispensable components, fostering loyalty and ensuring that clients remain ambassadors for the brand long after the initial transaction.

Related: 30+ Project Plan Examples to Visualize Your Strategy (2023)

Sales action plan example

A well-structured sales action plan serves as the backbone for systematic and efficient progress. Central to this plan is the identification and utilization of the most effective sales channels, whether they are direct, online or through third-party avenues. 

Strategic Food Sales Action Plan Template

Clarity on the products and services on offer, combined with their unique selling propositions, facilitates tailored and resonant sales pitches. 

Budget considerations ensure that resources are judiciously allocated, balancing the act between expenditures and potential returns. This financial prudence is complemented by setting realistic sales projections, which act as both a motivational target and a yardstick for success.

Timelines, or proposed deadlines, infuse the process with a sense of urgency, ensuring that the momentum of the sales drive is maintained. 

action plan ideas for business

However, the true measure of the action plan’s efficacy lies in its key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics, be it lead conversion rates or customer retention figures, serve as tangible markers, highlighting the plan’s strengths and signaling areas that might require recalibration to increase sales.

Food Retailer Sales Action Plan Template

Corrective action plan example

The essence of a corrective action plan lies in its meticulous structure, tailored to address and rectify deviations or inefficiencies identified within an organization. At its core, each action item serves as a focal point, detailing specific areas or processes that require intervention. 

Black and Green Corrective Action Plan

Accompanying each action item is a clear description that provides a comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand. 

However, merely identifying a problem isn’t enough; delving deep into its origins through root cause analysis ensures that solutions target the fundamental issues, rather than just addressing superficial symptoms. 

Green Minimalist Corrective Action Plan

This analysis then paves the way for defining the corrective action, a tangible step or series of steps designed to mitigate the identified problem and prevent its recurrence.

Besides, to ensure the plan’s effectiveness, assigning a responsible person to each action item is paramount. This individual or team is entrusted with the task’s execution, ensuring accountability and focus. 

action plan ideas for business

The status of each action keeps stakeholders informed about the progress, be it in the planning phase, ongoing, or completed. 

Lastly, setting a due date for each corrective action introduces a sense of urgency and purpose, ensuring that issues are addressed in a timely manner, minimizing disruptions and maximizing operational efficiency.

Simple action plan example

A simple action plan strips away the layers of complexity, offering a concise and direct approach to achieving a goal or addressing an issue. This type of plan is characterized by its straightforward structure, devoid of extraneous details, yet powerfully effective in its clarity. 

It is specifically designed for tasks or objectives that don’t necessitate elaborate strategies or multi-layered approaches.

White and Red Simple Corrective Action Plan

The core components of a simple action plan usually include a clear statement of the task or objective at hand, followed by a sequence of actions or steps to be taken. 

Each step is described succinctly, ensuring that anyone involved has a clear understanding of what is expected. Responsibilities are defined clearly, with each task allocated to an individual or a team, ensuring accountability. Timelines might be integrated, providing a clear framework for completion, even if they’re just broad milestones. 

Simple Yellow And Black Action Plan

Regular check-ins or assessments, although minimal, might be incorporated to monitor progress. 

The beauty of a simple action plan lies in its agility and adaptability, making it particularly suited for individual projects, short-term tasks or situations where a rapid response is required.

Simple Action Plan Flow Chart Template

How to write an action plan?

Creating an effective action plan is a foundational step towards turning aspirations into tangible results. It provides a clear roadmap, ensuring that each step taken aligns with the overall objective.

Whether you’re aiming to enhance a business process or achieve a personal goal, a well-drafted action plan can be your guiding light. Here’s key steps on how you can craft one:

  • Step 1: Establish SMART goals: Initiating with a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound ensures you have a clear and focused endpoint in sight. Smart goals serves as the cornerstone for your entire strategic blueprint.
  • Step 2: Determine necessary tasks: Decompose your overarching objective into smaller, actionable tasks. This modular approach not only makes the mission less daunting but also provides a sequential pathway to goal attainment.
  • Step 3: Assign essential resources: Depending on the tasks at hand, designate necessary resources, be they human, financial or technological. This ensures that every activity has the backing it needs for successful execution.
  • Step 4: Prioritize tasks by importance: Not all tasks hold equal weight. Determine the hierarchy of tasks based on their impact on the goal and their time sensitivity. This allows for a systematic progression.
  • Step 5: Outline timelines and key markers: With tasks in hand, set clear deadlines for each. Introduce milestones, which act as periodic check-ins, ensuring you’re on track and allowing for celebrations of smaller victories.
  • Step 6: Oversee and modify your strategy blueprint: As you progress, there will invariably be learnings and challenges. Regularly review your plan to make necessary adjustments, ensuring its relevance and effectiveness.
  • Step 7: Consider ready-to-use templates: If starting from scratch feels overwhelming, lean on structured templates to guide your planning. There’s plenty of business plan softwares and platforms such as  Venngage that offer a plethora of action plan templates , tailored to various needs, which can significantly streamline the process.

An action plan is more than just an action steps, it’s a strategic blueprint that bridges the gap between aspirations and realizations. 

Through this comprehensive guide, I’ve walked you through the purpose, ideal timings, core components, and practical examples of action plans across various domains. 

Leveraging tools of project management , you can track progress, assign tasks and ensure every team member stays on the same page. 

It’s not just about setting goals, but about strategically planning every step, ensuring tasks completed align with the larger project goals. 

Remember, success isn’t just about having goals but about charting the right course to achieve them

And if you’re looking to supercharge your planning efforts, don’t miss out on the Venngage business plan maker. 

Dive into their extensive collection of action plan templates and make your strategic planning both efficient and effective. 

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How to create an action plan (with free templates and examples)

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An action plan template provides a ready-made framework for quickly adding the steps — like tasks, due dates, and assignees — to achieve your project goals. It’s a great way to ensure your project action plans are effective and consistent so everyone understands what’s expected.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to write an action plan step-by-step, with examples for inspiration. Plus, you can download two free action plan templates — including one from our Work OS — to get started immediately.

Download Excel template

What is an action plan?

An action plan is a detailed blueprint that outlines the steps you, your team, or your organization will take to achieve a specific goal. It includes specific tasks or actions with due dates and assignees, a timeline, and the resources required to accomplish your goal.

Action plans include detailed information, such as:

  • A description of each action or task to complete
  • The person responsible for each action
  • Due dates for each task
  • Resources required to complete the action
  • Space to reflect or take notes after you have completed a task

What is an action plan template?

An action plan template is a pre-structured document that gives you a framework for crafting your new action plan. A practical action plan template has designated spaces for each aspect you need to cover, often presented in a table format like this.

Screenshot of monday.com's action plan template

Free action plan templates

Here are two free action plan templates you can download and use today:

Try monday.com’s Action Plan Template:

This action plan template breaks down goals into actionable steps that you can prioritize, assign ownership, and track progress. You can also add start and end dates for each action, plus relevant details and files.

Get the template

Download the free action plan template for Excel:

Why is an action plan template important?

Leaders and managers use action plan templates to speed up the strategic planning process . Rather than spending unnecessary time designing the document used for planning purposes, project managers can simply pull up their template, save a new copy — keeping the existing template intact — and get straight to work scheduling and assigning tasks.

Action plan templates ensure consistency

Additionally, templates help to ensure consistency across plans and teams. When your organization uses the same action plan template for the whole company, it’s easier for team members to interpret and understand the plan — because they’re familiar with the format — and it contributes toward an organized, professional appearance.

Action plan templates help you plan more effectively

Action plan templates help project organizers plan more effectively by offering predefined categories and columns, reducing the chance of human error or omitting information from an action plan. In addition, you can apply any learnings from the project management process to your template. That way, you’ll consistently improve subsequent action plans.

While completing a project, you might find that some of the tasks in your task lists didn’t have clear outcomes. In addition, it wasn’t immediately obvious how to identify when the task was complete. So, you could borrow from the SMART goals framework — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound goals — and include a new column in your action plan template to note how you’ll measure if the task is complete.

And when using an action plan template built on a Work OS like monday.com, you can add your action plan to relevant project boards, create cross-team automations , and more — making it easier to collaborate with a distributed team in real time.

What are the essential features of an effective action plan template?

Action plan templates should contain the following features:

  • Multiple views — such as tables, timelines, Kanban boards, and Gantt charts to visualize tasks.
  • Task notifications — to detail and assign tasks to team members.
  • Structured layouts — to plan tasks based on priority, status, and resource allocation.
  • Collaboration ability — to maintain notes, comments, and files in one place.
  • Automations — to update task status and notify owners.
  • Status columns — to show the current status, such as Stuck, Working on it, and Done.
  • Dashboards — to track overall progress, timelines, and budgets.

What is the difference between an action plan and a project plan?

A project plan is more detailed than an action plan. Both list the tasks, timelines, and resources required to achieve a desired goal. But project plans also include:

  • Project goals and objectives
  • Project milestones and deliverables
  • Project scope and budget
  • Project roles and responsibilities
  • Project stakeholders and communication schedule
  • Project risk mitigation and contingency plans
  • Project success criteria

You can create an action plan from your project plan to outline the steps required to achieve your project goals.

What are the key elements of a well-written action plan?

A well-written action plan consists of seven components:

  • Goals: define what the action plan aims to accomplish.
  • Steps: detail the actions required to achieve each goal.
  • Items: determine the task dependencies and priorities.
  • Timeline: maps out the schedule and milestones from start to finish.
  • Resources: identify the people, tools, and budget required.
  • Responsibilities: assign tasks to an individual or a team.
  • Review: monitor the overall progress of action items completed.

What are some examples of action plan templates?

Now that we know what they do, let’s look at a few action plan templates.

Business action plan template

This template outlines how to write an action plan to track progress toward a specific business goal.

Example of a business action plan template

( Image Source )

This action plan begins by detailing the primary goal, with the first column dedicated to a breakdown of each action required. For example, if your business goal was to design and launch a new website, your activities might include:

  • Gathering design assets
  • Choosing a color scheme
  • Copywriting for new website pages
  • Assembling design and development teams
  • Creating design wireframes
  • Design and development
  • Launch and promotion

Note that the second to last column in this action plan template is reserved for noting potential hazards. This helps identify roadblocks that might get in the way of achieving your goals to plan around them.

Personal development action plan template

Though action plans are most often used in a business context, they can be a handy tool to help you stay motivated and work toward your personal goals.

Example of a personal development action plan

This template allows you to break down your actions into a step-by-step sequence and includes a “How will I know I’ve been successful?” column to ensure that the actions you write down have a clear outcome.

Corrective action plan template

Creating an action plan can also be a great way to solve a specific business problem or even an issue with a particular employee’s performance. This is known as a corrective action plan, as shown in the example template below.

A corrective action plan template includes important columns, such as “metrics and constraints” — to help users complete tasks and plan for potential roadblocks — and “percent completed” — to help measure the progress toward the goal.

monday.com’s Action Plan Template

As you’ve seen in the examples above, the typical action plan format is a PDF or Microsoft Word document. While this is fine for goal setting and creating the plan itself, it’s not so great for putting it into action.

That’s why we’ve purpose-built a flexible, customizable, intuitive action plan template to use with monday.com.

When you design your action plan on monday.com, you can:

  • Access multiple views (such as a table, Kanban, and timeline) to work in a manner that suits your needs.

Timeline view in the action plan template

  • Assign tasks to individuals and notify them instantly.
  • Comment and collaborate on tasks to keep communication contextual.
  • Design custom automations to save valuable time and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Report on progress with the Progress Tracking Column.

Screenshot of the progress tracking column on monday.com

Once there is buy-in from the team on the plan, it is easy to copy actions, dates, and assignees over to the task management board.

Because monday.com is a comprehensive Work OS, any action plans you create with this template also integrate with relevant project boards. In addition, comprehensive analytics make tracking easy.

How to write an action plan step-by-step

Never created an action plan before? Then, follow this simple guide and get started with the free template above.

1. Determine your goals

First, you need to understand what you’re trying to achieve. Then, make this goal as specific as possible.

For example, “increase sales” is not a clear enough goal. “Increase sales by 20% in quarter three” is more specific and allows you to set a metric for achieving it.

2. Break down the steps required to achieve each goal

What actions are necessary to get there?

In this example, that might include:

  • Hire three new sales development representatives
  • Increase content marketing budget by $20,000
  • Implement a new sales training program for new hires

3. Determine task dependencies and priorities

Remember: you can’t do everything at once! So now that you’ve broken down that big goal into bite-sized chunks, you need to figure out the perfect order for completing the tasks. In the above instance, you need to hire new sales representatives before starting a sales training program.

4. Set milestones

Now, set some milestones for significant events or checkpoints along the project. Some typical milestones are:

  • Completion of a substantial task or phase of the project
  • A significant event, such as a product launch
  • Important meetings, like customer review meetings

5. Add deadlines

When do you need to complete each task? Setting deadlines for each task helps your team stay on track and allows you to identify if your timeline for the larger goal is realistic.

6. Identify the resources you need

What’s getting in the way of completing these tasks? What do you require — perhaps from leadership or another team — to meet or exceed your goals? In our sales team example, we might need some assistance from the HR department to advertise an open role and attract new applicants.

7. Assign tasks to individuals

Who is responsible for each action? Assign a clear task owner to each task. Ownership doesn’t just make someone feel accountable; it empowers them to take the initiative and solve problems without dragging in management at every twist and turn.

8. Agree on a plan to review progress

Before you jump in and start your project, determine how you will measure progress toward your goals. For example:

  • Will you review your action plan every day or every week?
  • Will the task assignees or the project leader be responsible for updating the plan to reflect progress?

Determining these answers upfront means the action plan remains a living document reflecting actual progress.

Customize our Action Plan Template to your needs today

Prepare and present your action plans with our flexible, customizable Action Plan Template. Team members will love the multiple views, automations, and collaboration features to keep them on point. And you’ll benefit from the Progress Tracking column in your weekly reports to stakeholders.

FAQs about action plans

What’s the difference between an action plan and a to-do list.

An action plan and a to-do list are helpful tools for organizing tasks and achieving goals. A to-do list is a list of tasks to complete, but not necessarily for the same goal or project. Typically, to-do lists are less organized than action plans and can change daily. In contrast, an action plan follows specific steps and includes tasks that all lead to completing a common goal.

What's the difference between an action plan and a strategic plan?

An action plan and a strategic plan are essential for an organization’s long-term and short-term planning. A strategic plan outlines an organization’s vision for the future and helps prioritize goals, make resourcing decisions, and unite employees. On the other hand, an action plan makes the strategic plan operational by providing detailed instructions on how to accomplish those goals.

What’s the difference between an action plan and an implementation plan?

An implementation plan and an action plan are essential documents that help teams execute a project successfully. An action plan focuses on the specific tasks needed to achieve a goal. In contrast, an implementation plan is a more holistic document outlining the steps, teams, and resources required to execute a project successfully.

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What is an action plan? Steps, template, and examples

action plan ideas for business

Editor’s note : This blog was updated 27 June 2023 to add more information about action plans, including examples of the types of organizations that can use action plans and an in-depth example study. The action plan template was also updated.

What Is An Action Plan? Steps, Template, And Examples

Have a thoughtfully laid-out product roadmap? Great! What’s next?

It’s time to make things happen and turn your product vision into reality.

As a product manager, you’re akin to an orchestrator, juggling multiple hats that need different levels of skill and communication — the glue that brings everything together. One of the most important things you need to get started is an action plan.

What is an action plan?

An action plan is a guiding document and work breakdown structure that outlines all the tasks that need to be completed so you can achieve your product goals.

An action plan is like a music sheet: if you have a defined set of notes, you know exactly what the music is going to sound like.

As the product manager, you need to be able to define the set of tasks in sequential order, considering dependencies and priorities, that will help you complete your project in the quickest, most efficient way possible.

What is an action plan example?

Action plans do not all have to be for complicated products or things — they can be for easy, short-term plans as well. For example, say a product team at a stationery company wants to introduce a new pen model. Their action plan could involve defining the new model’s design, sourcing materials, setting up manufacturing processes, determining marketing strategies, and setting a timeline for the product launch.

Another example could be a clothing brand apparel brand plans to launch a new, sustainable line. This action plan could include researching sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, designing the clothing line, determining pricing strategies, planning the marketing campaign to emphasize the sustainability angle, and coordinating the product launch across various sales channels.

As you can see, action plans don’t always have to be for complex software products. We’ll walk through an example later in the article more suited toward a digital tech product, but the point is that every team can use an action plan no matter what their product is!

How an action plan complements your product strategy

It’s important to note that an action plan and product strategy are not the same thing. Product strategy defines the high-level direction of what will make a product successful and a general idea of how to get there. An action plan is created from an execution standpoint and is not meant to define product strategy.

However, a good action plan should incorporate a long-term product strategy that aligns with business goals. Taking action that doesn’t ultimately lead to achieving your goals is simply unnecessary and a drain on your resources. A smart action plan embraces the fact that business goals and product priorities can change along the way, making it crucial to create a plan that is flexible and allows you to pivot with minimal disruptions.

All in all, an action plan (especially when finely tuned and strategic) complements your product strategy by providing an actionable roadmap to success. As mentioned earlier, while the product strategy paints the high-level vision for what will make a product successful, the action plan breaks this down into tactical steps — think of it as the bridge between the strategy and actual implementation. It’s important to clarify that a well-crafted action plan does not aim to redefine the product strategy but gives a path to execute it.

action plan ideas for business

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action plan ideas for business

How to create an action plan in 5 steps

Creating an action plan is a logical exercise, much like putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. It’s just that sometimes, you don’t have the jigsaw pieces readily available, so you have to do some digging to find them first.

Whether you’re using pen and paper or a more sophisticated project management tool such as Jira or Confluence, it’s important to write down your action plan so you can get everyone on the same page (literally) and reference it later.

The steps to writing an effective action plan are as follows:

  • Define goals
  • Build your framework and task list
  • Define roles and responsibilities
  • Communicate and get feedback
  • Update your action plan

1. Define goals

The most important step in creating an action plan is to define the goals you want to achieve through that plan. This isn’t exclusively about launching a new product feature or enhancing user experience, you can equally use an action plan to reinforce security measures or diminish your product’s tech debt. The goals can be big or small, but defining them clearly is crucial.

To ensure these goals are robust and measurable, incorporate data metrics as your success indicators and set feasible timelines. The more precise and data-centric your goals, the more actionable they become. For example: Increase net-new users by X percent through the release of Y new feature by the end of Q3.

2. Build your framework and task list

Now that you have your goals defined, work backward from your goals and think about all the different pieces you need to reach them.

When dealing with so many moving parts, it’s important to create a structure for them. We call this the work breakdown structure.

Essentially, this involves dissecting the project into smaller, manageable tasks. Organize these tasks into groups and create dependencies and communication links between them. This forms the framework you can use to fully build out your action plan.

The framework will help you create a holistic execution plan and force you to think about the things that you possibly could have missed. No two companies are alike, so create a detailed framework that works for you and your company.

Example action plan framework

Here’s an example of a simple, high-level framework for a process-oriented action plan that’s ideal for software companies:

  • Product scoping
  • Technical scoping
  • UI/UX design
  • Development
  • Release and review

Product scoping — Gather product requirements through product analytics, customer discovery, cross-functional collaboration and internal feedback, competitive and market trends, and any other source that brings insights into the product you’re building. Consider how your product will impact existing customers, other products, teams, revenue streams, etc. within your company.

Technical scoping — Once you have the product requirements nailed down, having technical scoping discussions helps to understand technical feasibility and dependencies better.

UI/UX design — Create prototypes according to user experience and design best practices. This will help validate technical feasibility, customer usability, and alignment with product strategy.

Development — Now that we have a solid set of requirements that are ready to be developed, you can create further action plans specifically for development in collaboration with your engineering manager(s) . Together with your engineering leaders, break down the development phase into manageable chunks of work, taking into account technical dependencies and the sequential order of how the tasks must be developed.

Testing — Once your product is developed, it’s time to test it. Engage a variety of stakeholders to test your product. More feedback means more insights into how customers will perceive and use your product.

Release and review — Releasing a new product feature can be nerve-wracking. Having a release checklist to go with your action plan can be helpful. Think about all the things that need to be put in place before the release, including communicating with other stakeholders (e.g., support, marketing, sales, leadership, etc.). Once you release, review customer feedback to find ways to improve your product.

Once you have your framework, create a detailed list of tasks for each stage. Support each task with a written description of what the task entails and what defines it as completed . Reach out to your team members to help you understand each task better and include any other details that you think are relevant.

3. Define roles and responsibilities

Use the framework as a point of reference to manage your resources. Resources can make or break your project, so it’s important to manage them as efficiently as possible.

In collaboration with your engineering manager, establish the team that will be working on the specific project. Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member and make sure everyone understands how they are expected to contribute to the project.

Assign tasks to team members accordingly and help them understand the scope of their tasks. It’s also important to collaboratively set up deadlines for tasks and then hold them accountable to those timelines.

4. Communicate and gather feedback

You now have a well-established action plan. You know who is doing what, when, and how it all leads up to achieving the goals of your action plan. But there are always caveats.

For instance, sometimes you make assumptions before validating, or you’re just not aware of something that can become a problem later on. The list of potential nags is literally endless.

To avoid this, communicate your action plan to your core team, management, cross-functional stakeholders, and other team members to gather feedback. Being open to feedback is critical to learning and growing. Incorporating feedback will build your own credibility and will help evolve the process of creating action plans.

5. Update your action plan

The only constant is change. As market trends and business strategies evolve, you have to be ready to pivot. This can put a damper on your well-established action plans.

Acknowledging this and building flexibility into your action plans will help you keep projects on track. Create milestones or checkpoints in your action plans; this will enable you to make informed decisions on how best to pivot when the need arises.

As things change, update your action plan and communicate at the earliest possible to the project team, as well as any other stakeholder that needs to be in the loop.

Action plan in-depth example: Improving user engagement with a new feature

Let’s walk through a specific (and realistic) example product managers may face — improving user engagement by releasing a new feature. Specifically, let’s say you’re working on a news app and have been seeing declining user engagement recently. You’re not exactly sure why, but think that introducing a personalization feature might increase engagement. Following the steps outlined to create an action plan, the process would look like this:

The primary goal is to increase user engagement by 20 percent over the next two quarters. You’ll do this by introducing a personalization feature that tailors content to the individual user’s interests — something that we believe our competitors are doing already.

This will be measured by tracking metrics such as session duration, number of articles read per session, and click-through rates on personalized content suggestions.

You’ll use the simple, high-level framework we outlined to build the task list.

Product scoping — Conduct market research to understand user preferences for personalized content and see how our competitors are currently doing it.

Technical scoping — Collaborate with the technical team to assess the feasibility of implementing personalization algorithms, dependencies, and any potential challenges. This step may include meetings with data scientists and backend developers.

UI/UX design — Design the user interface for the personalized content feed. It could include the location of the personalized feed on the home screen, a section for users to choose their interests, etc. This step will involve creating wireframes, developing prototypes, and conducting user testing to validate the design.

Development — Implement the personalization feature, including the development of the algorithm, changes to the backend to handle user data securely, and the frontend changes to display personalized content.

Testing — Extensively test the new feature for usability, security, learning curve, etc.

Release and review — Plan the release of the new feature, and consider a soft launch with a small user group to collect early feedback. After the release, continue to collect user feedback to identify any needs for improvement.

For the sake of our example, let’s assume all of the team members have availability to help. The product manager will work on the product scoping phase and coordinate with the technical team for technical scoping, UX designers will handle the UI/UX design phase, developers and data scientists will work on developing the personalization algorithm and integrating it with the app during the development phase, etc.

4. Communicate and get feedback

The plan is then shared with all stakeholders — the core team, senior management, executives, and other teams impacted by this feature. You’ll get their feedback and make the necessary amendments. You’ll also use project management tools to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of the action plan and their roles.

Lastly, you’ll set up regular reviews to monitor progress and make necessary changes in the plan as we encounter new information or challenges.

Action plan template

Now that you have a foundational understanding of what to include in an action plan and how to write one, where do you start?

This action plan template is designed to help you keep track of tasks, resources, dependencies, and progress in a single, easy-to-read, and even easier-to-update spreadsheet:

Action Plan Template

To customize the action plan template for your next project, click here and select File > Make a copy from the main menu at the top of the page.

5 tips to build an action plan that drives value

A rushed or incomplete action plan will lead to stress and frustration down the road. Here are five best practices to help you create an effective and efficient action plan:

  • Create multiple action plans
  • Identify milestones and critical tasks
  • Communicate early and often
  • Embrace technology
  • Continuously improve your processes

1. Create multiple action plans

Action plans can get pretty daunting for bigger projects. Don’t overwhelm yourself; use the same concept as the work breakdown structure.

Start by creating a holistic, high-level action plan that encompasses the entire project. Then, take each part of that plan and break it down further, and so on.

You can create individual action plans for each part of the high-level action plan. You may also need to do this for specific parts of the project if they have a lot of dependencies or require many people to collaborate with each other.

2. Identify milestones and critical tasks

When you have numerous tasks, you might have trouble managing them all.

Identifying milestones and critical tasks can bring visibility to the most important parts of the action plan. Make sure you have the right stakeholders in the room when discussing these.

Celebrating milestones is also a great way to improve the morale of the team.

3. Communicate early and often

No matter how detailed your action plans are, if you are not able to communicate them properly to the project team, it will be difficult to achieve your goals.

Keep the communication continuously flowing and keep an eye out for blockers. As the product manager, you need to work with the team to remove obstacles and keep things moving along.

Communication also goes a long way to align the team during change management .

4. Embrace technology

Technology can make our lives so much easier when we know how to apply it in the right ways.

There are many software tools that can help you create, document, and manage your action plans. Assess your needs and experiment with free trials to gauge which tool suits your process the best.

If paid software is too far out of the picture at the moment, you can simply use Google Sheets/Docs or Microsoft Excel/Word to create your action plan. Click here for a simple action plan template in Google Docs.

5. Continuously improve your processes

Small things that are done to better the process eventually add up and create drastic efficiencies over time.

Make time for feedback and introspection loops. Find ways to incorporate relevant feedback and distribute the knowledge. Monitor for process patterns and areas that need improvement and discuss with the team how you can make the overall process better for everybody.

Collaborate with the team to make improvements incrementally and continuously .

The framework and process for creating and managing action plans can vary based on the project and team. As long as you have action plans documented and communicate regularly with relevant stakeholders, you will be able to get things done efficiently.

Remember, as the orchestrator (product manager), you need your music sheet (action plan) and your orchestra (project team) to align, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic concert (product)!

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What is an Action Plan? Learn with Templates and Examples


Planning on turning your vision into reality? And what’s your best way to avoid challenges and problems during this journey? A solid action plan.

We have outlined 6 steps explaining how to write an action plan. Once you familiarize yourself with them, go ahead and use the editable templates below to start planning right away.

What is an Action Plan?

Why you need an action plan, how to write an action plan, action plan templates.

An action plan is a specific list of tasks in order to achieve a particular goal. It can be regarded as a proposed strategy to execute a specific project to achieve a specific or general goal effectively and efficiently. It outlines steps to take and helps stay focused and organized, whether it’s personal or work-related. Breaking down the goal into smaller, manageable steps, makes it easier to stay motivated and track progress.

It’s an essential part of the strategic planning process and helps with improving teamwork planning Not only in project management, but action plans can be used by individuals to prepare a strategy to achieve their own personal goals as well.

Components of an action plan include

  • A well-defined description of the goal to be achieved
  • Tasks/ steps that need to be carried out to reach the goal
  • People who will be in charge of carrying out each task
  • When will these tasks be completed (deadlines and milestones)
  • Resources needed to complete the tasks
  • Measures to evaluate progress

What’s great about having everything listed down on one location is that it makes it easier to track progress and effectively plan things out.

An action plan is not something set in stone. As your organization grows, and surrounding circumstances change, you will have to revisit and make adjustments to meet the latest needs.

Sometimes businesses don’t spend much time on developing an action plan before an initiative, which, in most cases, leads to failure. If you haven’t heard, “failing to plan is planning to fail” said Benjamin Franklin supposedly once.

Planning helps you prepare for the obstacles ahead and keep you on track. And with an effective action plan, you can boost your productivity and keep yourself focused.  

Here are some benefits of an action plan you should know;

  • It gives you a clear direction. As an action plan highlights exactly what steps to be taken and when they should be completed, you will know exactly what you need to do.
  • Having your goals written down and planned out in steps will give you a reason to stay motivated and committed throughout the project.  
  • With an action plan, you can track your progress toward your goal.
  • Since you are listing down all the steps you need to complete in your action plan, it will help you prioritize your tasks based on effort and impact.

From the looks of it, creating an action plan seems fairly easy. But there are several important steps you need to follow with caution in order to get the best out of it. Here’s how to write an action plan explained in 6 easy steps.

Step 1: Define your end goal

If you are not clear about what you want to do and what you want to achieve, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Planning a new initiative? Start by defining where you are and where you want to be.

Solving a problem? Analyze the situation and explore possible solutions before prioritizing them.

Then write down your goal. And before you move on to the next step, run your goal through the SMART criteria . Or in other words, make sure that it is

  • Specific – well-defined and clear
  • Measurable – include measurable indicators to track progress  
  • Attainable – realistic and achievable within the resources, time, money, experience, etc. you have
  • Relevant – align with your other goals
  • Timely – has a finishing date

Use this SMART goal worksheet to simplify this process. Share it with others to get their input as well.  

exit full-screen

And refer to our easy guide to the goal-setting process to learn more about setting and planning your goals.

Step 2: List down the steps to be followed

The goal is clear. What exactly should you do to realize it?

Create a rough template to list down all the tasks to be performed, due dates and people responsible.

It’s important that you make sure that the entire team is involved in this process and has access to the document. This way everyone will be aware of their roles and responsibilities in the project.

Make sure that each task is clearly defined and is attainable. If you come across larger and more complex tasks, break them down to smaller ones that are easier to execute and manage.

Tips: Use a RACI Matrix template to clarify project roles and responsibilities, and plan projects

Step 3: Prioritize tasks and add deadlines

It’s time to reorganize the list by prioritizing the tasks . Some steps, you may need to prioritize as they can be blocking other sub-steps.

Add deadlines, and make sure that they are realistic. Consult with the person responsible for carrying it out to understand his or her capacity before deciding on deadlines.

Step 4: Set milestones

Milestones can be considered mini goals leading up to the main goal at the end. The advantage of adding milestones is that they give the team members to look forward to something and help them stay motivated even though the final due date is far away.

Start from the end goal and work your way back as you set milestones . Remember not to keep too little or too much time in between the milestone you set. It’s a best practice to space milestones two weeks apart.  

Step 5: Identify the resources needed

Before you start your project, it’s crucial to ensure that you have all the necessary resources at hand to complete the tasks. And if they are not currently available, you need to first make a plan to acquire them.

This should also include your budget. You can assign a column of your action plan to mark the cost of each task if there are any.  

Step 6: Visualize your action plan

The point of this step is to create something that everyone can understand at a glance and that can be shared with everyone.

Whether your action plan comes in the shape of a flowchart , Gantt chart , or table , make sure that it clearly communicates the elements we have identified so far – tasks, task owners, deadlines, resources, etc.

This document should be easily accessible to everyone and should be editable.

Step 7: Monitor, evaluate and update

Allocate some time to evaluate the progress you’ve made with your team.

You can mark tasks that are completed as done on this final action plan, bringing attention to how you’ve progressed toward the goal.

This will also bring out the tasks that are pending or delayed, in which case you need to figure out why and find suitable solutions. And then update the action plan accordingly.

Business action plan

You may like to read: The Easy Guide to Making a Business Plan for Presentations

Marketing action plan

Strategic action plan, corrective action plan template.

Learn more about: Corrective Action Plan template .

Additional resources: The Easy Guide to Creating a Business Contingency Plan

Simple action plan template

Any more tips on creating an action plan.

An action plan is designed to guide your way to accomplishing your goals. It turns your vision into actionable goals and steps. And it helps you stay focused and motivated.

From an individual employee in an organization to larger departments can make use of action plans to steer their way towards completing their goals.

Maybe you are about to create your very first action plan, or you are already a pro at writing them. Either way, we’d like to hear your opinions on how to write an action plan. Do share them with us in the comments section below.

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FAQs About Action Plan

Lack of clarity on goals: Make sure the team understands the goals and objectives of the action plan. The goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Unclear responsibilities: Assign clear roles and responsibilities for each team member to avoid confusion and ensure accountability.

Overcomplicating the plan: Keep the action plan simple and easy to understand. Avoid adding unnecessary complexity or detail that may confuse the team.

Failure to prioritize tasks: Prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency. This will ensure that the team focuses on the most critical tasks first.

Inadequate resources: Ensure that the team has access to the necessary resources such as time, budget, and equipment, to carry out the action plan successfully.

Lack of communication: Effective communication is crucial to the success of any action plan. Ensure that team members are regularly updated on progress and any changes to the plan.

Failure to monitor progress: Regularly monitor progress and adjust the action plan as needed to ensure that it stays on track and achieves its goals.

Strategic action plan: This type of plan outlines the long-term goals and objectives of an organization, and the actions that will be taken to achieve them. It typically covers a period of several years and includes high-level strategies and initiatives.

Operational action plan: This plan focuses on the day-to-day operations of an organization, outlining the actions that will be taken to achieve short-term goals and objectives. It typically covers a period of one year or less and includes specific actions and timelines.

Project action plan: This type of plan is used for individual projects and outlines the actions that will be taken to achieve specific project goals and objectives. It includes a detailed breakdown of tasks, timelines, and responsibilities.

Sales action plan: This plan focuses on the actions that will be taken to increase sales and revenue. It includes specific strategies for marketing, sales, and customer service.

Marketing action plan: This plan outlines the actions that will be taken to promote a product or service and increase brand awareness. It includes strategies for advertising, social media, public relations, and other marketing initiatives.

Crisis management action plan: This type of plan outlines the actions that will be taken in the event of a crisis, such as a natural disaster or security breach. It includes specific protocols for communication, evacuation, and other emergency procedures.

An action plan can be used by anyone who wants to achieve specific goals or objectives. It is a useful tool for individuals, teams, and organizations in a variety of contexts. Here are some examples:

Individuals: An individual can use an action plan to achieve personal goals such as losing weight, completing a degree, or starting a business.

Teams: A team can use an action plan to achieve goals related to a specific project or initiative. For example, a marketing team may use an action plan to launch a new product.

Small businesses: Small businesses can use an action plan to achieve goals related to sales, marketing, operations, or finance.

Non-profit organizations: Non-profit organizations can use an action plan to achieve goals related to fundraising, volunteer recruitment, or program implementation.

Government agencies: Government agencies can use an action plan to achieve goals related to policy implementation, disaster response, or public safety.

Educational institutions: Educational institutions can use an action plan to achieve goals related to improving student outcomes, increasing enrollment, or expanding programs.

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Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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How to Write an Action Plan (Example Included)


What Is an Action Plan?

In project management, an action plan is a document that lists the action steps needed to achieve project goals and objectives. Therefore, an action plan clarifies what resources you’ll need to reach those goals, makes a timeline for the tasks or action items and determines what team members you’ll need. We’ll define what project goals, project objectives, action items and action steps are later in this guide.

An action plan documents the execution of the project plan; it’s a detailed list of the work that must be done to complete the project goals, including the action steps that are involved in getting from the start of the project to the finish. An action plan is similar to a project implementation plan and it’s very helpful during the project planning and project execution phases.

Not only are you figuring out the action steps and timeline, but you’ll also determine who you’ll assemble for your project team to work on those tasks. This requires robust project management software like ProjectManager . ProjectManager offers multiple action planning tools such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, project calendars and more. Best of all, these project planning views sync with project dashboards, timesheets and workload charts to keep track of progress, project resources and costs.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart showing a construction action plan

Action Plan Components

An action plan answers the who, what and when of what you’re proposing. Those questions are answered by the various components that make up an action plan. The following are the basic building blocks of a successful action plan.

  • Action Plan Steps: The action plan steps are the answer to the question of what. They’re the activities that’ll lead to achieving your goal. Action plan steps detail what will happen, and the more detail, the better.
  • Action Items: The action items are the specific, small tasks that make up the action plan steps. These are the tasks that, when executed, lead to the next action plan step.
  • Action Plan Timeline: An action plan timeline is the whole action plan laid out from start to finish. It shows the full duration of the action plan and every step and task is also plotted on this timeline, including their start and end dates.
  • Action Plan Resources: Resources are anything needed to execute the action plan. That includes labor, materials, equipment, etc. You’ll want to identify the resources you’ll need for the action plan and attach them to the tasks to which they’ll be applied.
  • Action Plan Matrix: A matrix is just a tool to help you determine which tasks you need to complete and in what order. Use our free action plan template to outline the steps, items, timeline and resources you’ll need to get the plan done right.
  • Action Plan Report: Once you start to execute the action plan, you’ll need to ensure your actual progress matches your planned progress. To track progress, you’ll want to use an action plan report, which is a snapshot of your time, costs and more over a specific period.

action plan ideas for business

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Action Plan Template

Use this free Action Plan Template for Excel to manage your projects better.

Types of Action Plans

There are many different types of action plans that are used on various kinds of strategic initiatives. Each is similar in makeup but differs in their goals. Here are a few of the varieties of action plans.

Business Action Plan

A business action plan is used to set goals and tasks when you want to start a business or grow an existing business. It outlines the vision for the business and the actions you’ll take to achieve that vision.

Project Action Plan

An action plan for a project is really no different from a general action plan. The only difference is that it’s about producing a deliverable at the end of the plan, whether that be a product or service.

Personal Action Plan

Again, a personal action plan differs little from any other action plan except for the goal. For example, a personal action plan might be for an individual to exercise more. Therefore, the goal might be to walk for a half-hour a day, say, during lunchtime.

Action Plan Sample

Take a look at this sample of an action plan. We used our free action plan template for Excel  and filled out some potential marketing tasks, phases and assignees. Download this action plan template for free from our site, and get started on your own plan today.

action plan sample and free action plan template for Excel

How to Write an Action Plan for Project Management in 10 Steps

The benefits of an action plan are simple: you’ve now outlined what action steps and what resources are needed to reach your stated project goals. By having this collected in a single project management document, you can more successfully plan out how to execute your project plan.

People get overwhelmed by project management jargon when having to plan out a project, but the word “action” everyone can understand. The fundamentals to getting an action plan together for any project follow these four project planning basic steps:

1. Define Your Project Goals

There’s a difference between project goals and project objectives. Project goals refer to the high-level goals that the project will achieve. Those generally align with the strategic planning and business objectives of organizations.

2. Define Your Project Objectives

The project objectives are much more specific than the project goals. Project objectives refer to the deliverables and milestones that need to be completed to achieve your project goals.

3. Define Action Steps

The action steps are a group of related tasks or action items that must be executed to produce project deliverables.

4. Identify and Prioritize Action Items

Action items are small, individual tasks that make up the action steps that are outlined in your action plan. First, you need to identify task dependencies among them, and then assign those action items a priority level so that they’re executed sequentially.

5. Define Roles & Responsibilities

Now that you’ve divided the work required to accomplish your action plan, you’ll need to assign action items to your project team members and define their roles and responsibilities.

6. Allocate Resources

As with your project plan, your action plan has resource requirements. Having identified your action steps and action items will help you understand what resources are needed for each task and allocate them accordingly.

7. Set SMART Goals

Your action plan needs to be monitored and controlled to measure its performance. That’s why it’s important that you set SMART goals for your action items, action steps and your project objectives. SMART goals stand for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

8. Set a Timeline for Your Action Plan

As a project manager, you’ll need to do your best to estimate how long it’ll take to complete your action items and action steps. Once you do so, you’ll have a timeline. You can use project management techniques like PERT charts or the critical path method to better estimate the duration of your project action plan.

9. Write an Action Plan Template

Create or use a simple action plan template to collect tasks, deadlines and assignments. This is the place where everything task-related goes in your project action plan, so you have a place for all this crucial information.

Writing an action plan template it’s a great idea because you’ll need to use that format throughout the project. That’s why we’ve created a free action plan template that you can download. There are also dozens of other free project management templates for Excel and Word that can help you with every phase of your project.

10. Use a Project Management Tool

Use a project management tool to keep you on task. ProjectManager has project planning features that help you monitor and report on project progress and performance. Get a high-level view of the action plan with our live dashboards. Unlike other tools, we don’t make you set up the dashboard.

Once you’ve mapped out your action plan, you can use project planning tools to zoom into all the details about your action steps and action items. With ProjectManager, you can calculate various metrics, such as project variance, workload and more. They’re displayed in easy-to-read charts and graphs. Share them with stakeholders to give them updates on action steps whenever they want.

ProjectManager's dashboard showing a marketing action plan

Tips to Write an Action Plan

Once you have an action plan, how do you work with it to run a successful project? Here are some tips to help with implementing your action plan:

  • Focus on priorities and what’s due now when identifying action steps and setting your action plan timeline
  • When you complete action steps, mark them off
  • Have your team members work on one project management platform
  • Set up alerts
  • Discuss pending or overdue tasks

Action Plan Example

We’ve been talking a lot about an action plan, but let’s take a look at one in-depth. Below, you’ll see our free action plan template . It’s set up for the development of a website.

It’s broken down into phases, the first being the project planning phase , which includes the action steps, market research and the design of the site. You’ll see that tasks are outlined for each action step, including a description of that task, who’s assigned to execute it, the priority and even the status of its completion.

This is followed by the third action step, which is the launch of the site. This is the execution phase of the action plan, but it follows the same format, such as noting the priority, who’s responsible for the work, what that work is and its status.

action plan steps and action items

There’s also a timeline to define the start dates of each of the tasks in the action steps, including the planned hours. This allows you to determine the length of each task and the duration of the entire action plan, from start to finish.

action plan timeline

Finally, there’s a place to add your resources. They’re broken down into departments, for example, marketing, web development, etc. Then the materials that are required for each task are listed, including their costs. This allows you to estimate the cost of the plan.

action plan resource

How to Make An Action Plan With ProjectManager

Follow along with this action plan example to see how action plans are typically laid out using project planning software .

1. Map Action Plan Steps Using Multiple Project Views

ProjectManager can help you build your action plan and then execute it. Collect all your action steps tasks on our list view, which does more than light-weight to-do list apps because it allows you to then map your action plan with Gantt charts , project calendars and kanban boards. These robust project management tools allow you to prioritize action items, customize tags and show the percentage complete for each task. Our online project management software gives you real-time data to help you create an action plan and stick to it.

ProjectManager's list view

2. Assign Action Items to Your Team Members

Once you’ve mapped out your action plan steps with ProjectManager’s project planning tools , you can assign tasks to your team members and indicate what resources are needed for the completion of each action item. Indicate their roles and responsibilities and set priority levels for each task to ensure the work is carried out properly.

3. Set Action Plan Steps and Deliverables

It’s important to note all the phases of the project timeline to know what action steps and tasks will take place and when. In addition, ProjectManager’s Gantt chart allows you to identify project phases, find the critical path, and set due dates for project milestones and deliverables

4. Track Progress With Real-Time Dashboards

Once you start the project, you’ll need to chart the progress of the work being done. This leads us to the real-time project dashboard , where you’ll check whether your action plan is on schedule and under budget.

Manage Your Project With an Action Plan

Getting a plan together is only the first part of managing a project . Remember, it’s not something to write and put away, but rather it’s a living document that should follow you throughout the project life cycle. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, offers more tips on how to write an action plan in the video below.

Here’s a screenshot for your reference:

project planning fundamentals

ProjectManager’s Action Planning Tools are Ideal for Managing Action Plans

If you’re looking to make an action plan and then take action on it by executing, monitoring and reporting on a project, then you’ll want ProjectManager. Our online project management software lets you make an action plan online with multiple project planning tools such as Gantt charts, task lists, kanban boards and project calendars. Then, you can use timesheets, project dashboards and resource management tools to keep track of progress, time and costs.

Plan & Schedule With Gantt Charts

ProjectManager’s Gantt chart is ideal to map out your action plan on an interactive project timeline that helps you organize your tasks, link dependencies and set milestones. More than that, you can filter for the critical path. When you’re done scheduling your action steps you can set a baseline. This allows you to always see the planned versus actual progress of your action plan to help you stay on track.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart is ideal to map out action plans

Manage Action Items with Kanban Boards, Task Lists and Project Calendars

Once you’ve used the Gantt chart to create a timeline for your action plan, you can zoom into the nitty-gritty details of everyday work with kanban boards , task lists and project calendars. With these tools, you can assign tasks and give teams a collaborative platform to comment and share relevant documents with unlimited file storage and real-time communication features.

ProjectManager's kanban board showing action steps from an action plan

Track Progress, Resources and Costs With Real-Time Action Plan Dashboards

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How to Create An Action Plan: A Straightforward Guide for Marketers

Sheryl Green

Updated: January 03, 2022

Published: December 22, 2021

Have you ever sat down at your desk first thing in the morning and spent a good 45 minutes browsing social media or getting lost in your inbox because you can’t focus on what you need to do? At the end of the day, you feel as if you’ve wasted 8 hours of your life that you’ll never get back.

marketer creates action plan for project

On the other hand, have you ever sat down, opened your calendar app or a to-do list, and jumped right into work, knocking out task after task in a matter of minutes? When you shut your computer at the end of the day, you feel accomplished and know that you’ve done everything possible to move towards your professional goals.

What’s the difference between these two scenarios? A plan. Having your day (or week, or project) mapped out with a concrete action plan will help you feel more focused and accomplished in less time. When it comes to marketing, an action plan could mean the difference between a campaign that sizzles and a campaign that fizzles.

Now that you know there’s a way to ensure more days end with the satisfaction of work done well, let’s take a closer look at what these plans actually are and how they can benefit you.

Download your free marketing goal-setting template here. 

What is an action plan?

An action plan is a proposed strategy for whatever you want to accomplish. It’s a clear, detailed list of all the steps you need to take to reach your goal, along with a proposed timeline of when you’ll complete each step or task.

Perhaps you’ve heard of action plans in the past, but never tried to create one of your own, Or maybe, this is a brand new concept to you and you’re pretty sure you just heard a choir of angels in the background.

What is the purpose of an action plan?

Action plans are designed to help you reach your goals faster. By breaking down projects into smaller steps, you can ensure that you:

  • Meet your goal in a timely fashion
  • Don’t skip a step
  • Communicate effectively with team members
  • Set reasonable expectations for what you can accomplish in a specific period of time

While they will vary in complexity, action plans are good for small projects, large projects, projects that you complete on your own, and projects that involve other team members or individuals outside of your organization.

Convinced you need action plans in your life? Good. Let’s take a look at the steps necessary to implement them.

How to Write an Action Plan

Action plans can be as simple or complex as they need to be. However, before you start writing out the steps to reach your goal, you’ll need to identify something very important… your goal, of course!

What is it that you’d like to accomplish? Is there a new campaign you need to prepare before a specific launch date? Maybe you’re teaming up with another business or a nonprofit for cross-promotion. Perhaps you’re looking to increase brand awareness through various channels.

Whatever your goals, get very clear on what it is you want, why it’s important, and when you need it done. You may wish to create a SMART Action Plan by incorporating SMART goals into it. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. This framework helps you determine if your goals are realistic, identify what actions are needed to reach your goals, and defines what success looks like.

SMART goal action plan example from HubSpot

Once you’ve determined what you want to accomplish and when it will need to be done, it’s time to start devising your plan. Follow these easy steps to create your plan of action.

  • Use a template or tool to capture your action plan and share it with anyone who needs to be involved. (You’ll find some options in the next section)
  • Brainstorm. Consider all the steps that need to get done to complete your project. You may find it helpful to start with larger aspects of the project and then break those down into smaller tasks. No task is too small to be listed (let’s be honest, checking things off a to-do list feels amazing).
  • Delegate and assign responsibilities to team members. You don’t have to go it alone! Hopefully, you have a trustworthy team standing by to help complete tasks and inch you closer and closer to the finish line. This also allows you to identify what resources you need to achieve the goal.
  • Schedule due dates. If your project needs to be done by a specific day (which it should or it could stretch on indefinitely), then each task will have its own due date. Keep in mind that some tasks can be worked on at the same time, while others will require that a previous task has been finished before you can start the new one.
  • Set up alerts to keep yourself (and your team) on track. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget about a larger project looming in the distance. Use your scheduled due dates to set up reminders and pencil in time to work on specific tasks.
  • Track your progress and check in with your team. Your action plan may have looked top-notch when you wrote it, but as you work through it, you may discover that things need to change. If you see that you’re falling behind in the tasks, it may be time to re-evaluate and potentially tweak your action plan.
  • Celebrate. Completing a project is often cause for celebration, but don’t forget to review what worked and what didn't for a smoother project next time.

Leadership action plans will not only help you achieve your goals, but will also help your team be clear on what they need to do, and feel accomplished once they’ve done it. They will also serve to identify any weak links in your organization.

Action plan Formats may differ depending on the needs of our specific project, however, as long as you include the goal, the steps, the people involved, and the due dates, you’ll have a solid plan to work with.

Action Plan Templates

When you’re ready to create an action plan, there’s no need to start from scratch. There are a number of templates and examples available that will provide the framework you need to devise your marketing strategy.

Below, is an action plan example for a 30-60-90 Day onboarding plan . This can always be tweaked to onboard individuals into a marketing position, or to create a marketing plan for your organization.

Sample action plan for onboarding

A marketing action plan may be as simple as this template:

Sample action plan for marketing

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You can also use Hubspot’s Marketing Plan Generator to guide you along the way.

No matter how you do it, an action plan may take a little bit of time to create, however, you’ll save time, energy, and resources when you have a clear plan of action for your next project or campaign.

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A free template to help you create SMART goals for marketing campaign success.

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How to Write an Action Plan: Step-by-Step (Examples)

By Status.net Editorial Team on November 9, 2023 — 9 minutes to read

Understanding Action Plans

An action plan is a detailed roadmap of the necessary steps you need to take to achieve a specific goal or objective. It’s like a GPS that guides you from your starting point to your desired destination. Creating an action plan helps you break down a large goal into smaller, more manageable tasks, which makes the goal feel less overwhelming.

To start, you should first identify your end goal and be as specific as possible. For example, if you want to increase sales for your business, set a target like “Increase sales by 20% within the next six months.” This will give you a clear vision of what you want to achieve and make it easier to measure your progress.

Next, list the necessary actions or tasks required to reach your goal. These can be further divided into smaller tasks that are easy to understand and implement. For example, to increase sales, you could:

  • Improve your online presence by revamping your website, optimizing it for search engines, and posting regularly on social media platforms.
  • Reach out to potential clients through email campaigns and cold calls.
  • Offer promotions or discounts to incentivize new customers to try your product or service.

Now, it’s time to set a timeline for each task. Deadlines will enable you to monitor your progress and stay on track. Assign realistic due dates for each task, and if needed, break them down into smaller milestones.

To ensure your action plan’s success, make sure to assign responsibility for each task. If you’re working with a team, delegate tasks according to each team member’s strengths, skills, and workload. This will help ensure everyone knows what their responsibilities are, and they are held accountable.

Lastly, always monitor your progress and evaluate your action plan’s effectiveness. Regularly review the tasks you’ve accomplished, and make note of the tasks that were challenging or required more time than anticipated. This self-assessment will help you improve your action plan and make necessary adjustments as you work towards your goal.

Example Action Plan

Goal : Increase sales by 20% within the next 6 months (By January 1st, 2025)

Actions : 1. Improve online presence a) Revamp website design – Due October 15th b) Optimize website for SEO – Due November 1st c) Post regularly on social media (1x/week min) – Ongoing

2. Reach out to potential clients a) Create email marketing campaign – Due September 15th b) Start cold calling campaign (10 calls/day) – Start October 1st

3. Offer promotions a) Design promotion flyers – Due September 1st b) Run month-long 20% off sale – October 1-31st

Monitoring : – Check website analytics weekly – Track new clients monthly – Evaluate sales figures monthly – Adjust plan as needed at monthly meetings

Responsibilities : – John to revamp website – Susan to handle social media – Michael to create promotions – Jennifer to manage outreach campaigns

Steps to Creating a Powerhouse Action Plan

First, identify your goal . Be specific about what you want to achieve and set a time frame for accomplishing it. This will help keep your efforts focused and prevent you from getting overwhelmed by smaller tasks. For example, instead of “increase sales”, choose “increase sales by 20% in the next six months”.

Next, break your goal down into smaller, manageable tasks . Create a list of activities or steps that must be completed in order to reach your goal. If your goal is to Increase sales by 20%, some tasks might be:

  • Research your target market
  • Develop a marketing strategy
  • Improve product offerings
  • Train your sales team

Assign a deadline and responsible party for each task on your list. This will help ensure that all tasks are completed on time and that everyone knows their role in achieving the goal. Make sure to set realistic timelines for each task, taking into consideration the resources and time available.

Here’s an example:

  • Research your target market – due in one week – assigned to Jane (marketing specialist)
  • Develop a marketing strategy – due in two weeks – assigned to marketing team

Monitor your progress regularly. Keep track of your progress by using tools such as calendars, project management software, or a simple spreadsheet. Regularly assess whether you’re on track to meet your goal and adjust your action plan if needed. For example, if a task is taking longer than expected, you may need to reassign resources or revise the deadline.

Celebrate your milestones and learn from setbacks . Along the way, take the time to acknowledge and celebrate your successes, as well as learn from any setbacks or challenges. This will help maintain motivation and encourage continuous improvement.

Finally, communicate your action plan to all stakeholders involved, such as employees, investors, or clients. Clear communication ensures everyone understands the goal, their responsibilities, and the expectations for the project.

Defining Clear and Smart Goals

Specific goals.

When creating your action plan, start by setting specific goals. These are clear, well-defined goals that leave no room for ambiguity. You should know exactly what needs to be accomplished and how you plan to achieve it. For example, instead of aiming for “increasing sales,” set a goal like “increase sales by 15% over the next six months.”

Measurable Goals

Your goals should be measurable so that you can track your progress and know when you’ve achieved them. This involves identifying quantifiable indicators that will help you determine your progress. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, a measurable component can be the number of units sold or the amount of revenue generated within a specific timeframe.

Achievable Goals

When setting goals, make sure they are achievable and realistic based on your current resources and constraints. Consider your team’s capabilities, time, and budget. Unattainable goals may negatively impact your motivation and morale. For example, if you have a small team with limited resources, setting a goal to double your company’s size within a month might be unrealistic. Instead, aim for a modest yet challenging growth rate that can be achieved with your available resources.

Relevant Goals

Your action plan goals should also be relevant to your organization’s mission and vision. These are goals that align with your overall strategic plan and contribute to its long-term success. Relevant goals ensure that your efforts are focused on high-impact areas and avoid unnecessary distractions. For example, if your business is focused on sustainability, a relevant goal might be to reduce your company’s carbon footprint by 20% in the next year.

Time-bound Goals

Finally, ensure that your goals are time-bound, meaning they have a deadline for completion. Deadlines keep your team accountable and help maintain a sense of urgency, which is crucial for staying on track and achieving your objectives. A clear timeframe also allows you to measure your progress and adjust your plans as needed. For instance, you could set a goal to expand your customer base by 10% within the next quarter.

Assigning Roles and Responsibilities

When creating an action plan, it’s important to assign roles and responsibilities to your team members. This helps ensure tasks are completed efficiently and everyone is clear about their duties. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • First, identify the necessary tasks to achieve your goal. Be specific about what needs to be done and break it down into smaller steps if needed. For example, if your action plan involves promoting a new product, tasks could include designing promotional materials, creating social media posts, and reaching out to potential partners.
  • Next, evaluate the skills and expertise of your team members. Consider their strengths, weaknesses, and past experiences with similar projects. This will help you match team members with tasks that best suit their abilities. For instance, someone with graphic design expertise should be responsible for creating promotional materials.
  • Once you’ve determined which team members are best suited for each task, clearly communicate their roles and responsibilities. This can be done through a project management tool, an email, or a team meeting. Make sure everyone is aware of their duties and the deadlines for each task.
  • Keep track of everyone’s progress, and hold regular check-ins to see how each team member is doing with their assigned tasks.
  • Be open to adjusting your action plan and roles as necessary. Sometimes, unforeseen challenges can arise and require you to modify your plan.

Creating a Time Frame

When working on your action plan, it’s important to establish a realistic time frame for achieving your goals. This helps you stay on track and prioritize tasks effectively. We will walk you through the process of creating a time frame for your action plan.

  • First, break down your primary goal into smaller, manageable tasks. Think of these tasks as stepping stones that will lead you toward your overall objective. For example, if your goal is to start a new business, your tasks might include researching your target market, establishing a budget, and developing a marketing strategy.
  • Next, assign a deadline to each task. Deadlines should be specific and set in stone but make sure to be flexible enough to adjust as necessary. Use a calendar or planner to visualize your timeline, marking important dates and milestones. For example, you could set a four-month deadline for completing market research and a six-month deadline for securing initial funding.
  • To keep yourself accountable, set reminders or notifications for important deadlines. This can be done using digital tools like smartphone apps or traditional methods, such as sticky notes on your workspace. Regularly reviewing your progress and adjusting your time frame when needed will help you stay on track.
  • Lastly, consider any external factors that might impact your time frame. Are there seasonal events, holidays, or industry-specific deadlines that could affect your ability to complete tasks? Factor in these considerations as you build your timeline.

Resource Allocation

When creating an action plan, resource allocation plays a major role. You’ll need to determine the resources required for each task and how they’ll be distributed among team members. This usually includes time, budget, and human resources.

  • Start by estimating the time each task will take. Break tasks down into smaller chunks and allocate a specific deadline to each. This will help you prioritize tasks and balance workloads for your team members. For example, if designing a marketing campaign takes four weeks, divide it into weekly tasks like conducting market research, creating promotional materials, and setting up advertisements.
  • Next, determine the budget needed to complete your project. Identify any expenses such as salaries, equipment, software, and project-related costs like travel. Create a budget for each task to avoid overspending, and allocate funds accordingly. Using our marketing campaign example, allocate separate budgets for market research tools, graphic design tools, and advertising platforms.
  • Lastly, allocate human resources to tasks based on their skills and expertise. Delegate responsibilities to your team members, ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding of their role in the project. If needed, identify additional hires or outside consultants to fill gaps in your team’s expertise. For instance, if your team lacks graphic design experience, consider hiring a graphic designer or outsourcing the work to a design agency.
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What Is an Action Plan? (With Example and Template)

June 8, 2023 - 10 min read

Kelechi Udoagwu

An action plan is a definitive checklist of tasks and resources needed to complete a project or achieve a goal. You can think of it as a visual countdown to the project delivery or a list of tasks needed to achieve desired results.

Now you may be thinking, “What is the purpose of an action plan vs. a to-do list ?” The most significant difference between action plans and to-do lists is that action plans focus on achieving a specific goal. In contrast, to-do lists are ongoing and include tasks for different goals and projects. 

Understanding this distinction, it becomes clear that action plans are powerful tools for goal setting and project execution. They help teams manage resources, adhere to schedules, and track progress toward specific goals and projects.

In this article, we’ll go through the purposes of action plans, the key steps usually included in them, how you can use action plans to help your project management, and step-by-step instructions on how to put one together yourself.

And as a bonus, we’ll also give you information on Wrike’s pre-built action plan template , which can jump-start your action plan process. Here is a preview of what the action plan template looks like:

What is the purpose of an action plan?

Action plans help order project tasks in a sequential and timely manner to achieve a goal. Project managers and individuals can use action plans to achieve their work and personal project goals.

Developing an action plan clarifies goals to be achieved, teams and service providers to involve, tasks, dependencies, milestones, and resources needed to complete the project.

Working with an action plan ensures you complete every task and requirement to meet the expected standards of a project. As you develop an action plan, you identify any critical paths and dependencies. 

Keep in mind that a developed action plan is not set in stone. It should be a dynamic document you can adjust as your environment changes.

Why are action plans important in project management?

Mobile image promo promo

An action plan in project management is a quick and easy way to manage projects. You can quickly map out the resources and requirements you need and sketch a timeline to complete tasks. 

Because of their simplicity and ease of setup, action plans help maintain operational efficiency without taking much time. They declutter managers ’ minds and provide a framework for structuring new projects in a sensible order. Action plans also clarify the objectives of the project and build consensus on how the work should be done.

Action plans prepare you for predictable and preventable challenges and focus your resources to achieve your main goals. Effective action plans maximize personal and team productivity and resource allocation.

Following action plan steps also:

  • Reduces the possibility of forgetting tasks in the project
  • Generates a goal-driven workflow, so you know what to work on throughout the project
  • Provides a way to track progress as you check tasks off the action plan as you complete them

Action plan vs. project plan

Action plans should not be confused with project plans . Both list the tasks, resources, and timelines required to achieve a desired goal, but project plans go deeper, including details such as contingency action steps, risk mitigation strategies, quality assessment criteria, and stakeholder communication schedules. In contrast, action plans simply list the tasks, resources, and timelines needed to achieve a goal. 

Think of it this way: For big, long-term, or complex projects, you create a project plan first. Once your project plan is in place, an action plan helps you detail the steps and flow for allocating resources, sharing and executing tasks, and setting deadlines.

In summary, action plans and project plans differ in the following ways: 

  • Complexity: Action plans are simpler than project plans. They focus solely on the tasks, resources, and timelines required to achieve a goal. Project plans include sections for other measures, standards, and procedures for completing a project. 
  • Duration: Action plans focus on specific, short-term goals. These may be for standalone goals or part of a larger project. Project plans are more encompassing — covering longer-term objectives, which may take months or years to complete. 
  • Flow: Action plans are linear, one task following another until the goal is achieved. Project plans may have multiple phases, e.g., planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and reviewing, with each stage containing its own distinct tasks and deliverables.

The components of an action plan

Let’s take a look at the essential components of an action plan:

  • Action plan objectives: The action plan objectives serve as the guide for the action plan, defining and communicating what the plan seeks to achieve. 
  • Action plan steps:   Action plan steps form the core of the action plan. They detail crucial targets and milestones that must be completed to reach the goal. These steps divide the goal or project into manageable chunks and provide a framework for identifying tasks (action items), allocating resources, and determining timelines. 
  • Action plan items: Action plan items are the nitty-gritty details of the action plan — the actual tasks to be performed. Each action plan item must be clearly defined, actionable, and understood by the team involved. 
  • Action plan timeline : The action plan timeline maps out the plan schedule from start to finish. It’s crucial for setting expectations, tracking progress and performance, and ensuring the project stays on schedule. 
  • Action plan resources: These are the inputs required to execute the plan, e.g., labor, time, tools, and funds. Identifying action plan resources before delving into execution helps ensure tasks are not delayed or compromised due to resource constraints. 
  • Action plan matrix: The action plan matrix provides a structured layout for planning tasks. It serves as a roadmap and helps to categorize your action steps and tasks based on priority, status, and resource allocation. This alignment helps identify any dependencies or potential bottlenecks.
  • Action plan report: The action plan report provides an overview of the progress made in executing the action plan. It includes details like the tasks completed, time taken, costs incurred, resources used, and any deviations from the plan.
  • Assignments: Each task should be assigned to a person, team, or group. Clear assignment of responsibility is crucial for accountability and the successful execution of any action plan. 

What are the key steps of an action plan?

The main point of an action plan is to ensure you don ’ t overlook critical tasks and milestones of your project. In its simplest form, developing an action plan entails listing tasks you need to complete and prioritizing them. 

As you develop your action plan, you decide which tasks you can delegate, outsource, or delay. The steps below map out how to write a sound action plan to increase your chance of success. 

Step 1: Define your goal 

Get clear on what you want to achieve with your project. Define where you are and where you want to be. If you have alternative methods to achieve your goal, assess your situation and decide the best chances of success depending on your resources. 

Step 2: List tasks

Once you have your goal, list the tasks and activities you must complete to achieve it. Then order them sequentially by adding key dates and deadlines.

action plan ideas for business

Step 3: Identify critical tasks

Are there any steps that must be completed before others can start? These are critical tasks with dependencies. Prioritize these tasks and set realistic deadlines. If you plan to assign them to team members, be sure to let them know the dependencies and allow them enough time to deliver them. 

action plan ideas for business

Step 4: Assign tasks

Now the project is broken down, you can start assigning tasks. Will you be handling some yourself in addition to managing the project? Make sure you allocate time and human resources carefully — you may choose to delegate or outsource specific tasks. 

Step 5: Assess and improve

At the end of each project, assess performance and take lessons to improve your action planning and project execution. If you work with a team, collect feedback and improvement suggestions from team members for better future performance. 

action plan ideas for business

Action plan best practices

Following these best practices will mean you ’ re more likely to succeed: 

  • Involve your team: When working with a team, involve them early in the planning process to get their input and save time. Get team members ’ work schedules before assigning tasks to avoid conflicts. Communicate clearly to enable them to prepare for their responsibilities.
  • Set SMART goals: SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Ensure your action plan starts with a strong foundation by defining clear and SMART goals that add value, either as a personal project or at work. 
  • Make your action plans into templates: To get more benefits from your action plans, make them into templates for similar projects. After assessing your action plans at the end of a completed project, make a copy of the plan and remove all project-specific details, so you ’ re able to use the action plan template in future projects. This reduces rework and saves a lot of time and also mistakes. 

Who needs to write an action plan?

Action plans are not solely used in project management. They are handy for project managers, professional service providers, and individuals, and useful for both personal and business projects. Action plans can also be used alone or with a team.

In teams, the leader develops the action plan with input from team members. Developing an action plan helps individuals, managers, and organizations complete more successful projects. They are great for kick-starting, tracking, and maintaining progress on any project. Remember to check off tasks as they are done, update the plans, and communicate with your team as your project progresses.

Action plan example

Action plans are quick and easy to create. It’s all about putting down what you need to accomplish your goal or project. 

Here’s a simple action plan example for a marketing team working on a new campaign:

Action plan objective: Increase brand awareness and boost product sales by 30% by the end of Q4 2023 through a localized multimedia marketing campaign.

Action plan template

action plan ideas for business

Wrike’s action plan template simplifies goal and project management with an intuitive interface designed to help teams plan and launch projects with teams of any size. This template’s features enable real-time collaboration, easy task assignments, time tracking, and reporting.

Common issues like a lack of visibility on remote workers’ assignments and confusing project priorities are mitigated with functionalities such as: 

  • Organizing tasks by departments into folders, making the journey from “To Do” to “In Progress” to “Completed” smooth
  • Identifying dependencies and defining the priority of tasks to determine which tasks need to be done first
  • Providing a snapshot of the tasks due now and in the coming weeks, ensuring the project schedule is adhered to
  • Securing sensitive data from unauthorized personnel with permissions levels offering various levels of access and visibility for collaborators and stakeholders

How to create an action plan with Wrike

Using project management tools helps to organize your action plan visually. With software such as Wrike, you can easily input your project resources, requirements, and timelines, and track your progress throughout the project.

As outlined above, the best way to jump-start your action plan is to use our pre-built template. It helps you take control of your task management by providing sample folders to organize tasks, a calendar for project scheduling, and pre-built dashboards for monitoring progress. All you have to do is add your tasks and due dates to get a complete overview of project work.

If you’re ready to develop action plans and track your progress while executing projects better, you need Wrike. We make it easy to plan, execute, and ensure success, even when you’re on the go.

Click here to start your free two-week trial and kick off your action plan today.

Kelechi Udoagwu

Kelechi Udoagwu

Kelechi is a freelance writer and founder of Week of Saturdays, a platform for digital freelancers and remote workers living in Africa.

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An effective sales pitch email is a gamechanger for teams wanting to reach the next level. It sounds difficult, but our guide on how to write a sales pitch that wins clients will provide all the tips you need to convert leads.  Keep reading to learn more about why sales pitches are important plus tips for how to write a good sales pitch no matter what you’re selling. After, discover good sales pitch examples you can use to inspire your own.  Why are sales pitches important? If your customer or revenue goals are being fulfilled on autopilot every month then you can probably skip sales pitches. But if you’re like most businesses, you’ll greatly benefit from sales pitches that provide the company-wide benefits of better relationships and completed goals.  Chances are, the people you’re reaching out to have not yet heard about your company — otherwise, they may have already become customers by now. Sales pitches give you the opportunity to introduce your brand and show how you can help the customer with their pain points. They’re also a great way for you and your entire sales team to improve together.  But in order to win more clients, you’ll first need to learn how to write a sales pitch that gets results. Otherwise, you may not see these benefits right away. Even if you already know how to write a sales pitch, the following tips will help you improve your ROI rates.  Tips for writing a good sales pitch The best advice for writing a good sales pitch is to follow the three-step structure we’ve outlined below. Whether you’re leaving a voicemail or meeting in person, the following tips will help you make a strategic and strong first impression.  Tip 1: Grab attention When you first learn how to write a sales pitch, you have to start from the very beginning. Make the opening line of your sales pitch engaging so that the customer doesn’t close your email before they finish reading it. In general, you should always aim at the emotional side of the client’s mind – not the rational one. Here are three ways to grab attention in your sales pitch:  Find a creative phrase to start your proposal. This can be a joke, a piece of news, or an interesting fact. For example, you can start with the sentence, “If it saves you $50,000 per year, wouldn’t you consider spending $1,000 now?” Or show that there’s proof of the value you bring by using quantitative indicators. Engage your prospect with figures and relevant statistics right from the start. Include a relevant fact such as “more than 75% of your potential clients spend at least five hours a day on their smartphones. You can benefit from this — ! let me show you how.” Alternatively, consider personalizing your message so that your prospect knows you’re reaching out to them specifically with a tailored offer. Emphasize that your proposal is unique and available only for certain clients.  Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What are you more likely to choose: a product available for everyone or something tailored exclusively for you? Feel this difference and create customer-focused messages.  Tip 2: Offer solutions As you continue learning how to write a sales pitch, it’s important to have a clear ‘why’ when starting out. Why are you writing to this person? Why do they need your services or products? Why are your solutions the best?  But before you tell your potential client what you can do to help, you must first acknowledge their real pain points. For example, if you’re a budget-conscious wedding planner, you may open with: “You probably think that to arrange a dream wedding, you’ll need Jeff Bezos’ fortune. We’ll show you the other way to do it.” Next, explain how you can help. That means providing real solutions to customers’ problems. Make it clear that all the client needs to do is purchase your product and put the pain out of their mind.  For example, you could write, ”We specialize in transforming outdated web design into user-friendly interfaces that are a pleasure to work with. Our best solutions are attached.” Then, include an example specifically chosen for this pain point.  Lastly, make the client admire the benefits you provide. Supplement your product with unexpected options or advantages. For example, if your service is catering, emphasize the unique benefits you provide, such as free wait staff or a cake created especially for the client’s event. Your customer will be impressed by the bargain. Tip 3: Clarify next steps If you really want to learn how to write a sales pitch that people actually respond to, you have to practice giving instructions in the form of next steps.  At the end of the email, briefly emphasize the best statements of your proposal. Choose the ones most relevant to the customer’s needs and those that are most persuasive. Then, make a clear and concise offer, so you don’t mislead your customer on what they should do next. Write this in the form of a one to two-sentence call-to-action.  You can also set a time limit. Explain that a decision should be made quickly and within the given time frame. Point out the unique benefit within your proposal that is valid for “only five days.” That stimulates the client to decide faster and to get to the next step in the sales process. For example, you can say “If you decide within 14 days, we promise you the best price with a 15% discount.” Tips for writing an email sales pitch Email, like any form of digital communication, has its own unique set of best practices and uses. As a sales tool, it’s great for either resurfacing old threads or starting fresh with a cold message. It’s so great, in fact, Inc. reported that a recent McKinsey & Co. study found email is 40 times more effective at major social media websites at winning new business. In that same article, Inc. went as far as to dub email as “the best way to reach customers.”  Here are some tips for how to get the most out of this powerful sales pitch channel:  Keep it short and sweet. In our personal experience, a three-sentence email is more likely to be read and responded to than a long-form message.  Link out to key points. If you mention your portfolio, make sure to link out to it. You can also link to screenshots of results you’ve achieved or your personal LinkedIn if you think it will help you make the sale.  Mention your famous clients. Name dropping is a great way to prove your expertise in an email sales pitch. Mention your best clients or, at the very least, the solutions and projects you’ve done for clients like them. Don’t forget about real figures to emphasize the results. Align with marketing. Collaborating with marketing ensures that your message is on brand and relevant for your email list. Your marketing team may even create or provide original content to help strengthen your pitch. Whether it’s a well-designed client testimonial or a pitch video edit, they’re a great resource for making a fantastic and cohesive customer journey from Day 1.  Good sales pitch examples Learning from the best will help you overcome common beginner mistakes and get that much closer to closing. Below are some of our favorite examples of good sales pitches that can teach you how to write a sales pitch that actually works.  Alphalake Ai’s artificial intelligence pitch video There are two things that stand out about this sales pitch. The first is the fact that it uses artificial intelligence to generate a speaking avatar, something that few can say they’ve seen in their inboxes lately. The second is that it’s quite personal. Not only does the avatar look like the sender, but it’s also a great representation of the brand itself since they offer AI products.  Shopify’s whitepaper for client sales pitches In 2019, Shopify created a sales guide for merchants who want to pitch Shopify as their platform of choice. The whitepaper itself doesn’t give a specific pitch email. However, it does outline the following key talking points:  The benefits of using a fully hosted eCommerce solution Shopify’s key solutions for merchants Simple payment plans You can easily use any combination of these points to persuade a new user to join your site. Or have your customers do the selling for you with a guide like Shopify’s.  Lavender’s foolproof LinkedIn message pitch Co-founder Will Allred recently shared this great sales pitch template that leaders at the company have had success with:  “Hey ____, Saw you're growing the sales team by 20% this quarter. Would knowing which reps are at risk of missing email quota (and why) be helpful?” With social media, it’s best to keep your sales pitches even shorter and sweeter than email, just like Allred did here.  Now that you know how to write a sales pitch that works, it’s time to continue breaking down the wall between sales and marketing with Wrike’s project management platform. Start your two-week free trial today and begin organizing lead conversion projects more efficiently and effectively.

What Are Segmentation Bases in Marketing?

What Are Segmentation Bases in Marketing?

Organizations use segmentation bases to focus marketing efforts on specific customer groups. Learn how to create an effective segmentation strategy with Wrike.

Cycle Time vs. Lead Time: Everything You Should Know

Cycle Time vs. Lead Time: Everything You Should Know

Lead time and cycle time are often confused with one another. Both cycle and lead time are important time metrics in manufacturing, but they’re also important strategic tools for project management. Project managers and team leaders need to fully understand their differences and similarities to harness their power.  In this article, we’ll go over cycle time vs. lead time and what they do. We’ll also share some tips on managing both cycle time and lead time in your project management solution to achieve better results.  An introduction to cycle time vs. lead time In a nutshell, cycle time measures the time it takes for a team to make a product, while lead time measures the time between the customer order and order fulfillment. Lead time is always longer than cycle time because cycle time fits into the timeline of lead time. In Scrum methodologies, cycle times are equivalent to a sprint.  Here, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between the two metrics. Keep reading to discover the answers to your most common questions about cycle time vs. lead time.  What are the differences between lead time and cycle time? The cycle time is the time it takes for a developer or a team to finish a project. It is typically the time between when the work item is in progress and when it has been completed. The cycle time officially starts when an item is moved to “In Progress” and ends when it is marked “Done” in whatever project management solution you’re using.  For example, when a marketing manager builds a social media campaign for Twitter, the cycle time begins when the team starts preparing the content.  The lead time is the time it takes for a single unit of product to be created and added to the backlog when it is shipped. This is typically the time it takes for one project to be completed and sent to the customer. If you’re using a Kanban board, the lead time will begin once the item is added to the “To Do” list column.  In the marketing example scenario above, the lead time will end once all the content is published on the platform.  By measuring cycle time, you can identify areas of concern that need to be addressed to improve the efficiency of your team. But by measuring lead time, you can determine how many items are flowing into your queue and how long it takes for your team to check them off.  And when it comes to testing the system's efficiency, focus on the lead time, not on the overall development process. In simpler terms, lead time refers to the time that has already passed, while cycle time refers to the time it would take. They are not easily compared side by side for this reason.  What are the similarities between lead time and cycle time? First and foremost, lead time and cycle time both measure the minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months it takes a product to get from a starting point to an ending point. Those points are different for each, but they do represent a quantifiable period of time.  If those measurements are consistent, then teams can achieve business continuity. If they aren’t, they may need to adjust in order to better plan and execute projects.  Because of this, both lead time and cycle time offer insight into the efficiency of teams and their processes. These values examined simultaneously create an accurate picture of how a company uses its time when properly monitored and measured. From there, project managers and team leads can create realistic benchmarks. They can easily make the necessary adjustments, calculate these values again, and weigh the results side by side to see if any progress has been made.  Lead time and cycle time are also values that represent effort versus output. After all, not all effort resolves in progress and not all output leads to outcomes you’re looking for. What does it really take to create this product? And what does it take to create this product once our team makes it? What about our customer orders — do those match up with our fulfillment plans?  All of these questions and more can be answered with the help of these two tools.  What do both lead time and cycle time metrics miss? Lead time and cycle time metrics miss the human element of project management. Although there are ideal turnaround times for a product or service, there may be interferences that you simply can’t account for in a mathematical model. For example, unexpected supply chain hiccups or sudden team shakeups from the Great Resignation may create longer than average cycle or lead times.  Also, they may be great for predicting issues, but they’re not useful for diagnosing them. Only a holistic project management software can give you the full picture of what’s going on. Even if you know you need to make a change, simply relying on lead time and cycle time to determine your course of action may negatively impact other areas of your business if not used wisely.  Cycle time vs. lead time vs. takt time The cycle time, lead time, and takt time are the three key factors that determine the average time it takes to produce a product. To better understand what they are and how they compare, let’s take a look at how to calculate each one:  Cycle time: When the team begins to fill one customer order/ number of units in one customer order Lead time: When the incoming work request is received — the time it takes to deliver the end product Takt time: Total number of work hours available/ total number of products needed to meet total customer demand  As you look at these equations, it’s easy to spot the differences. Cycle time and lead time refer to a singular order, whereas takt time refers to overall customer demand. This means that cycle time and lead time are smaller values within takt time.  Lead time is useful for setting customer expectations of delivery times. The lag time between when the order is placed and the cycle time begins can sometimes take longer than the time it takes to create the product itself. This means that it’s important to incorporate the entire lead time in with delivery estimates. If you only use the cycle time to set expectations, customers may feel disappointed when their product takes longer to get to them than they were originally told.  To summarize:  Cycle time measures the time it takes your team to complete an order. Lead time measures the time it takes between order input and fulfillment. Lead time measures how long it takes to fulfill one order. Takt time measures the total number of hours you have available and how many average orders you can fulfill within that time frame. How to manage time metrics with Wrike Understanding both cycle time and lead time metrics will help you keep track of your team’s progress. It will also provide insight into how to pick up the pace and ensure that your customers are satisfied. There are plenty of tools available to help you determine cycle and lead time, but understanding how they're calculated can be helpful in planning releases. Project management solutions like Wrike add context to your metrics and make it possible to plan, monitor, and measure different strategies to improve them.  One of the biggest obstacles to accurately measuring both cycle time and lead time is updating progress statuses. From order input to order fulfillment, there are quite a few different phases a request can go through. If even one status update is missed, the entire team can lose track of where they are in the fulfillment cycle.  Wrike offers a few different features to help keep track of the statuses of all your projects, orders, and tasks. First, there are detailed task views which allow users to choose from a customizable menu of status updates.  Then, once the task is marked as ready for review or ready for the next phase, Wrike will automatically trigger a notification to the next responsible party, saving time on individual updates and eliminating the opportunity for team members to miss the change on their own.  Wrike also has time tracking, a must-have data feature for measuring cycle time and lead time. Time tracking is automatically recorded and measured so that project leaders can measure progress. This information helps laser focus on which phases or team members are responsible for higher than expected numbers. And with Wrike’s reporting capabilities, it’s easy to turn those insights into actionable adjustments.  Now that you understand the nuances of cycle time vs. lead time, you’re ready to apply what you’ve learned with Wrike. Improve productivity, manage resources more efficiently, and better understand which processes are or not working with Wrike’s two-week free trial. 


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How to Write an Action Plan (Examples Included)

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Before you start any project, you have to draw up a plan to manage, organize, and realize the project’s goals. Planning is a crucial component of the project initiation phase of the project management life cycle.

The best way to turn your project objectives and goals into reality, and to avoid risks and challenges during the project management life cycle , is to use a solid action plan. You can use an action plan to create a clear path to success for any goal (personal, business, or financial goal ).

In this article, you will learn how to write an effective action plan and why you need one for your project.

Let’s get started.

What is an Action Plan?

An action plan is a comprehensive plan on how to reach a goal. This is a step-by-step process you have to perform to attain your goal.

Every organization has a guideline or strategy in place to achieve its goal, be it small or big. An action plan can work towards a quarterly or yearly goal. This will include setting goals and objectives that are realistic to achieve.

A goal is the primary objective of an action plan. An action plan does not only exist in organizations, but it is very useful in our day-to-day life.

When you set a goal, an action plan has to be in motion to bring such a goal to life. Some processes or structures have to be in place to create an action plan.

Ask the following questions before you write an action plan.

  • What are the goals you need to achieve?
  • What methods will go into achieving them?
  • What is the end goal of these goals and objectives?

You also need to follow processes to set an effective action plan.

1. Setting A Goal

The first step for writing an action plan is to set a goal. When you discover the goal of the whole operation, you can then draw up an action plan to achieve it. The purpose of this is to create or have a picture of what the goal is going to be about. This ensures that you set a realistic goal.

During the process of setting a goal, consider the following.

  • The goal must be clear and actionable
  • Must be realistic
  • Must have a completion date

Organizations at this phase create a project charter to sketch out the goals and objectives.

Project Charter Template - Excel-PMT

2. Structures to Achieve the Goal

These are the guidelines or step-by-step plans to achieve the goal. During this stage, you write a well-described and outlined plan. The action plan is a guideline for achieving the already set goal.

Break down the goal of the project into smaller units and tasks that will lead to the eventual progress of the goal. Set targets and deadlines, and share responsibilities and resources needed to achieve the goal.

Some of these structures to achieve the goal include:

  • Listing the steps to be followed
  • Establishing key goals and targets
  • Identifying available resources
  • Visualizing the goal

Why You Need an Action Plan

An action plan is a framework for how to complete a project effectively. One of the reasons why projects fail is due to a lack of planning. Many projects fail because they either did not carry out extensive research or they did not have a solid plan to bring all their goals to fruition.

Every goal must have a to-do list of all tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve an objective. An action plan guarantees a well-organized objective. You need this plan to stay on track and manage the progress of the project or goal.

1. Provides Motivation and Eliminates Procrastination

An action plan is simply a to-do list that one checks till a task or goal is accomplished. A well outlined and organized arrangement of your plan encourages one to start and complete the task. Breaking the task into smaller units makes it feel less overwhelming and cumbersome.

Ticking your to-do list makes the progress of the goal visible. You can easily track milestones and accomplishments of the set objective.

2. Sets Direction and Priorities

One of the benefits of writing an action plan is that it establishes direction and priorities for your goal. It defines the whole purpose of the operation. In an organizational setting, it can be likened to a project charter. This represents a sketch of what the end goal should look like or should be.

An action plan helps the project team to stay on track and focus on the purpose of the project without going outside of the main objective. This prevents the waste of time and resources on scope creep . If eventually, you have to make changes, there will be adjustments that will easily fit into the project.

3. Uncovers Weaknesses and Opportunities

In the course of drawing up an action plan, one uncovers both the strengths and weaknesses of the project. An action plan provides you with a better chance of adjusting and creating a better plan for your goal or project.

The weaknesses uncovered could be the risk involved in the project. The action plan helps you discover the weaknesses and how to quickly eliminate them before the project begins.

During the process of writing an action plan, one can also find opportunities that can be generated from it. An action plan will force you to think strategically to deliver insights that will improve your project.

How to Write an Action Plan

There are seven steps to follow that serve as a guideline for writing a strategically well-detailed action plan.

1. Define Your Goals

The first step to writing a good action plan is to define the goal, be it a personal or business plan . Break down the overall goal into smaller, easier, and understandable sub-goals.

The reason for this is that, when people start to accomplish a task, the first impression they will develop is that it will take lots of time and energy. Breaking down the goal into smaller units will make it easier to understand and accomplish

By defining the goal, you understand what it takes to achieve it. It is at this stage you decide if you can go through with the plan. The goal you define should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely.

SMART - specific - measurable - attainable - relevant - time-based by indeed

2. List the Key Objectives

Listing priorities is another important step when writing an effective action plan. What are these priorities? They are the key elements that form the goal of what you want to achieve.

By listing the key objectives , you know where to focus on majorly or areas that will require more attention.

3. Create a Step-by-Step Guideline to Achieve Your Goal

A guideline ensures you do not get stuck during the process of achieving your aim. Many businesses have failed due to getting to a particular segment of achieving their goal and not knowing what to do next. Creating a step-by-step guideline ensures there is the next thing to do.

4. Set Targets and Deadlines

Time is a very important factor when setting a goal. During the process of trying to achieve the aim of the project, you can easily lose track of time if you do not track it.

When a goal drags on for a particular period, it can lead to loss of interest or the goal might fail to accomplish what it was intended for.

5. Identify Available Resources

An action plan should have an estimate of the resources available. When talking about resources, this is not just in terms of financial resources but also human resources. This refers to the number of teams on the ground to achieve the goal.

The essence of identifying available resources is to manage them effectively to achieve a specific goal.

6. Set Milestones

In every sector of life, the show of success no matter how little serves as a morale booster. Setting milestones helps you keep track of the project’s progress.

When working on a project, after completing a milestone, no matter how little the step is, it is important to celebrate or mark that milestone.

Milestones show progress. The essence of setting milestones is to give morale and motivation to your team members to do more work. A good practice is to reward team members when they accomplish a set milestone to show appreciation for their effort and encourage them to accomplish more.

7. Monitor and Evaluate the Plan

Monitoring and evaluating the plan is the last section of an action plan. This is where you evaluate the whole plan, check for the loopholes, and whatever was missed when writing the plan. It also leaves room for adjustments and scope creep.

Tips for Writing an Effective Action Plan

1. involve team members and experts.

This goes with the saying that “no man is an island.” No matter how much you understand a project, you need to involve team members and experts for better opinions and inputs. Following this tip allows for growth and communication among the team.

When opinions are welcomed from the team, this helps develop the project and might even uncover a greater benefit to the project. There are certain aspects of the project you may miss which your team members can pick up.

2. Have a Timeline

Getting your timing right is key to the success of any project. Having a timeline guiding all the activities you want to carry out in the project is crucial. A well-established timeline for your project ensures that you accomplish all tasks and milestones at the appropriate time.

3. Communicate the Plan

Communication is the foundation upon which a project can develop. When communication is in place, there will be a smooth transfer of information from one section to another. This is key because, without communication, the goal will remain stagnant.

4. Tick Off Items As You Accomplish Them

After completing an item or task in your project, mark them as completed. Doing this will make it easy for you to know the items or tasks you have completed and the ones that are still pending.

Ticking off items as you accomplish them can boost the morale of the team and encourage them to put in more effort to achieve the project.

5. Write an Action Plan Template

Writing an action plan template helps you save time and energy. Instead of having to create an action plan from scratch each time you need one, you can write or collect action plan templates you can edit to fit your needs.

Since the format for writing an action plan is similar for many projects or goals, writing an action plan template is a great idea.

6. Use a Project Management Tool

The best project management tools help you write effective action plans and keep you on track. Project management software like Monday.com, ClickUp, and Wrike have project planning and reporting features that help you monitor the progress of your project and the performance of your project team.

Action Plan Template

An action plan template makes it easier and faster for you to create an action plan for your goal or project. While almost every action plan template follows the same format, modifications vary depending on its purpose and the industry.

1. Business Action Plan

Business Action Plan Template

2. Marketing Action Plan

Marketing Action Plan Template

3. Sales Action Plan

Sales Action Plan

4. Project Action Plan

Project action plan

5. Corrective Action Plan Template

Corrective action plan

Action Plan Example

An example of an action plan for a marketing agency.

Problem: Slow growth due to lack of sufficient employees and clients.

Goal: Increase profit by 50% within three years.

We expect our marketing agency to increase our profitability by 150% as we increase our marketing and customer service team and attract more clients over the next three years.

Current State of Our Agency: Annual profit of $100,000, six employees, and fifteen clients.

Our Agency in Six Months: Training for our existing customers in marketing and customer service and our profit will increase by 10%.

Our Agency in 12 Months: Annual profit of $150,000, ten employees, and 25 clients.

Our Agency in Three Years: Annual profit of $225,000, fifteen employees, and fifty clients.

Action Plan to Achieve Our Goal

Task 1 – Training

Action: Train all employees in the latest marketing and sales trends, client acquisition, and customer service.

Completion Date: August 2022

Person Responsible: Project Manager

Task 2 – Recruitment

Action: Work with the HR manager to hire new employees that fit the skill sets needed to achieve the agency’s goal.

Completion Date: November 2023

Task 3 – Improve Customer Service

Action: Improve relations with clients to convert them into repeat customers by updating the agency’s website, taking note of their birthdays, and sending customized gifts showing the agency’s logo to them.

Completion Date: Ongoing

Person Responsible: IT Manager

Task 4 – Generate More Sales

Action: Organize meetings with clients and in-house staff to develop the best strategies for increasing sales conversions.

Completion Date: January 2024

Person Responsible: Sales Manager

Action: Run marketing campaigns on Google, Facebook, and Instagram to generate more sales for clients.

Completion Date: March 2024

Person Responsible: Marketing Manager

Task 5 – Reduce Friction at Payment Channels

Action: Optimize your payment clients for a seamless payment experience for your clients and increase the number of payment channels

Completion Date: May 2024

Task 6 – Expand Client Base

Action: Participate in relevant regional marketing summits to hunt for high-paying clients.

Completion Date: June 2024

Action: Target weaknesses in competitors’ services and offers and create better deals to attract more clients.

Completion Date: October 2024

Evidence of Success: Annual profit of $225,000 or more. Tracking and Evaluation Process: Assess staff size, client number, and profits.

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Anastasia belyh.

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Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.

How to Write and Develop an Action Plan for Your Small Business

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6 min. read

Updated October 29, 2023

Taking action at the appropriate time is critical to turning your visions into a viable reality. However, doing so without a proper strategy can be a recipe for disaster. 

A well-designed and concrete action plan that weighs all the benefits and possible challenges is the key to executing your vision successfully. Furthermore, it makes tracking progress easier, which in turn helps you attain your goals. 

Whether it’s a business, personal, or career goal you are going after, the right action plan can be your roadmap to success. A comprehensive plan details all the information regarding your objectives and projects, such as the resources required, the complexity level of tasks, etc.

Let’s figure out how you can build one to achieve your goals successfully and efficiently.

  • What is an action plan and why is it important?

An action plan serves as a trajectory for the tasks or steps you need to accomplish to reach your goals and objectives. It is a crucial part of your strategic process that helps you improve teamwork planning significantly. Also, a proper action plan allows you to manage projects efficiently.

You have all the essential information in a centralized location that your team can access, making it easier for everybody to monitor progress and plan things successfully. As your company grows and circumstances change, you can revisit and make modifications to meet your latest requirements.

Planning of action items helps you prepare for any obstacles ahead. You’re your teams on track while ensuring impactful results. Furthermore, it also boosts your productivity and keeps everybody focused on urgent tasks.  

Here are some of the reasons why an action plan is vital for you:

  • It gives you a clear sense of direction by highlighting precisely the steps you need to take when you need to take that and what it will help you accomplish 
  • Having your objectives and goals on paper with structured steps keeps the team members motivated and dedicated throughout the project
  • You can gauge your and member’s progress and contribution toward the collective goals
  • You can turn your visions into reality, increase accountability and efficiency within your organization

How to create an effective action plan 

When it comes to creating an action plan, various practical methods and tools can help you develop a robust action program. Begin by following this straightforward 7-step strategy.

Following these steps for structuring your action plan incidentally also acts as a brilliant roadmap for your idea’s overall presentation and can effectively create a clear goal.

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1. Define your scope

It is essential to define your scope, create a roadmap, and align it with your strategic planning . Make sure your actions guide you toward company goals. Start by gauging how your team members can contribute and help you achieve your objectives.

If you don’t have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, it might be challenging for you to plan a new initiative. Defining your current status and where you see your company helps you analyze the situation, explore potential solutions and implement strategies successfully.

2. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) objectives or goals is a method of objective setting that enables employees and managers to set, monitor, and achieve their long-term and short-term goals. This approach brings tractability and structure together.

Once you map out your plan, scope, and aim to accomplish, the next step requires you to set well-defined goals and measurable tools. Create a template to highlight all the tasks that your team needs to perform and deadlines.

It is vital to make sure that your entire team is on the same page, involved in the process, and has access to the document. This way, the projects become manageable while also boosting team productivity.

Furthermore, ensure that the tasks are attainable. If you have more complex tasks, it’s essential to break them down into manageable parts for easy execution. 

3. Visualize your plan

Once you plan on the action items, prioritize tasks, and set milestones, the next step is creating a visual representation of your action plan. This visualization helps you engage your team and allow everyone to follow through to carry out activities.

A graphical presentation also makes it easier to get a bird’s eye view of your project. This way, you can identify your objectives and tasks that you weren’t able to execute or reach, allowing you to prioritize them to accomplish them.

You can elaborate your action plan with the help of a concept map that can help you explicitly communicate all the essential elements and information — task owners, tasks owners, resources, goals, objectives, deadlines, etc. Also, make sure the document is easily accessible to all. 

Additionally, you can also leverage online visual collaboration platforms to help you seamlessly visualize and structure your simple and complex concepts.

4. Prioritize your tasks

It is imperative to align all your activities with specific goals and assign them to relevant team members. When you list and prioritize all your tasks, it helps keep track of your projects’ status, progress, and completion. 

You could also structure your task list by importance. This way, everyone knows what needs to be done first to meet your deadlines effectively while ensuring that your employees can manage those tasks. That way, your team will also know their responsibilities and tasks to get done and engage them with a clear vision.

5. Set milestones 

Milestones are the objectives that your team aims to achieve to keep a specific project progressing at a steady pace. Your work will have a lot smoother flow when everybody is clear with goals.

When you set milestones , it serves as mini-goals that help you achieve your central goal towards the end. Adding milestones to your action plan is crucial to give your team members something to look forward to and encourage them to stay motivated throughout.

6. Identify your resources

Before starting your project, it is imperative to ensure that you have the critical resources to complete the tasks successfully. And if you don’t have adequate resources, devise a strategy to leverage what you have effectively. Include all the essential components such as the number of projects, budget, timelines, etc., to make sure you don’t miss out on vital aspects.

Knowing what you have to work with will ensure that any tasks or projects you set out to accomplish have a better chance of succeeding. If you don’t have enough cash, a large enough team, or even enough time to manage every project, you’ll soon find yourself struggling to meet milestones and deadlines.

7. Monitor, gauge, and update

It is pivotal to allocate time and resources to evaluate your projects’ and teams’ progress. Make sure you conduct frequent follow-ups with team members to see if everybody is on track. 

For this reason, you need to elaborate on the follow-up and assessment of teams in your action plan. This will help you implement the strategies that work well and eradicate the ineffective ones.

  • A guide to reaching your goals

An action plan is an indispensable tool that helps you guide your way to realizing your goals. It turns your visualization into actionable steps and milestones. 

From larger departments in an organization to individual employees, an action plan is a defined methodology that helps you outline your activities, tasks, resources, budget, objectives, etc. This, in turn, allows you to achieve desired outcomes.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: JT Ripton

JT Ripton is a business consultant and a freelance writer out of Tampa. JT has written for companies like T-Mobile and others.

Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

  • How to create an effective action plan 

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The Beginners Guide to Creating An Action Plan


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The Beginners Guide to Creating An Action Plan

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Imagine being a conductor of a world-class orchestra with no musical score, each member of the ensemble playing their own tune.

Harmony is disrupted; chaos takes center stage. Similarly, the lack of an action plan in any business can lead to inefficiency, confusion, and missed opportunities.

An action plan serves as that indispensable compass, the essential score. It offers clear direction, keeps everyone aligned, and orchestrates a harmonious path toward business goals.

With an action plan, you turn the chaos of the unknown into a well-synchronized dance of progress and productivity.

In this article, we delve deep into the world of action plans. We’ll explore their building blocks and learn why they are more than just a set of tasks or to-dos.

Through a step-by-step guide, you will understand how to create an action plan that is tailored to your business’s unique needs, along with ways to efficiently implement and monitor it.

And to give you a head start, we’ll even dissect some action plan samples, pulling out the essential ingredients that you can use in your recipe for success.

Ready to dive in? Let’s embark on this journey toward crafting and executing an effective action plan.

The DNA of an Action Plan

The DNA of an Action Plan

Every flourishing venture, big or small, has a secret formula behind it – a detailed action plan. But what exactly is an action plan? It’s a roadmap for success, a sequence of action steps for goals meticulously designed to drive your business toward its objectives.

An action plan is a detailed layout that outlines a set of specific actions needed to reach your goals. It serves as a reliable GPS, directing your business operations with clarity and focus. But this GPS is more than just your route; it’s your pit stops, rest areas, and destination.

Breaking down the structure, the components of an action plan include:

  • Clear Goals: Every action plan starts with defining what you aim to achieve. Goals are your end-point, your desired outcome. They are the ‘why’ of your action plan, giving purpose and direction to your journey.
  • Action Steps: These are the ‘what’ of your plan, the specific tasks or activities you need to perform to reach your goals. Each action step is a critical milestone on your road to success.
  • Responsibilities: Accountability is key in any action plan. By designating who is responsible for each action step, everyone on your team knows exactly what their role is, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment.
  • Resources: Be it monetary funds, time, equipment, or human resources, clearly identifying what you need to carry out each action step will help ensure smooth execution.
  • Timeframes: A sense of urgency and a clear timeline are vital for maintaining momentum. By setting deadlines for each action step, you can monitor progress effectively and keep your journey on track.
  • Measurable Outcomes: What does success look like for each action step? Having clear metrics in place allows you to evaluate performance objectively.
  • Follow-up Mechanisms: Lastly, defining how you’ll track, review, and adjust progress ensures your action plan remains flexible and responsive to changing business dynamics.

Writing an action plan involves creating this blueprint, a precise path that clearly defines ‘how to write a plan of action.’ This process, though meticulous, is a strategic investment. It translates your grand visions into manageable, bite-sized tasks, making the climb towards your goal a series of achievable steps.

The beauty of an action plan lies in its adaptability. It’s not a rigid map but a dynamic guide that adjusts to your evolving business journey. Its purpose is to offer a clear direction while accommodating detours, helping you navigate the complex business terrain with confidence and control.

Why Do We Need Action Plans

Why Do We Need Action Plans?

The necessity and potency of action plans lie in their innate ability to turn nebulous goals into concrete action steps. Their purpose is to make the daunting achievable, bringing your aspirations from the realm of ideas into the world of action.

Here’s why an action plan is a compelling necessity in different scenarios:

Launching a New Product

Imagine launching a new product, a complex and multifaceted endeavor that can feel akin to exploring uncharted territories.

However, an action plan serves as your torchlight, illuminating the path.

By setting clear steps, resources, responsibilities, timelines, and success metrics, an action plan transforms the product launch maze into a well-lit pathway, guiding you from concept to market.

Enhancing Customer Service

Consider a company striving to elevate its customer service quality. Without a clear plan, improvement efforts can be disjointed and ineffective.

However, with an action plan, the company can outline systematic and strategic action steps. These steps might include employee training, updating service protocols, or integrating new tech tools.

Each step is targeted and measured, ensuring a cohesive, organized approach towards enhancing customer satisfaction.

Personal and Community Projects

The purpose of action plans transcends the confines of corporate walls. They are equally powerful in personal and community contexts.

Are you aiming to run a marathon, planning a community fundraiser, or working on a university project?

An action plan is your route to success, breaking down grand ambitions into manageable steps. It’s the difference between a lofty dream and a reachable goal.

So, the purpose of an action plan?

It’s about transforming your ‘why’ into ‘how.’ It’s about taking the journey from intention to action, from aspiration to achievement. It’s your strategic companion on the road to success, ensuring each step you take is purposeful and progress-driven.

How to Write an Action Plan

How to Write an Action Plan

Writing an action plan is like crafting a detailed itinerary for your journey to success. But how do we plot this itinerary?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you ‘write an action plan’ with precision, turning your lofty goals into actionable steps.

Step 1: Identify Clear Goals

The first step in ‘writing an action plan’ is to define clear, concise goals. What is it that you aim to achieve? Be specific and use measurable terms wherever possible. Remember, the goal is your destination; hence, it should be well-defined to provide a clear sense of direction.

Bonus Tip: Use the SMART framework for goal setting – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Step 2: Create a List of Action Steps

Now, break down your goal into ‘action steps for goals’. These are the tasks you need to perform to achieve your goal. Each action step should be clear, specific, and concise, serving as a direct path towards your goal.

Bonus Tip: For complex goals, consider creating sub-tasks for each action step. This will help break down your tasks even further, making them more manageable.

Step 3: Assign Responsibilities

Once you’ve identified your action steps, it’s time to assign responsibilities. Who will be responsible for each task? Ensure that every member of your team knows exactly what they’re accountable for.

Bonus Tip: When assigning tasks, consider the strengths, skills, and workload of your team members to ensure optimal task allocation.

Step 4: Identify Necessary Resources

Next, pinpoint the resources required to complete each action step. This could be financial resources, human resources, equipment, or anything else you need to execute your plan effectively.

Bonus Tip: Be realistic and comprehensive when listing your resources. Remember, inadequate resources can lead to bottlenecks in plan execution.

Step 5: Set a Timeline

Now, it’s time to ‘create an action plan’ timeline. When will each task start, and when should it be completed? Having a clear timeline ensures that your project stays on track and maintains momentum.

Bonus Tip: Allow some buffer time in your schedule to account for unexpected delays or setbacks.

Step 6: Define Success Metrics

How will you know if you’ve achieved your goal? Define clear, measurable outcomes for each action step. This will help you evaluate progress objectively and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Bonus Tip: Keep your success metrics relevant and achievable. Overly ambitious metrics can lead to demotivation and burnout.

Step 7: Establish a Follow-up Mechanism

Finally, create a process for tracking, reviewing, and adjusting progress. Regular follow-ups help ensure that your plan remains flexible and adaptable to evolving circumstances.

Bonus Tip: Regularly share progress updates with your team. Celebrating small wins along the way can boost morale and keep your team motivated.

Action Plan Success Tips

Action Plan Success Tips

The journey from writing an action plan to setting it in motion is all about commitment, focus, and adaptability. Ensure every team member understands their role and responsibilities, and create a supportive environment where everyone is comfortable discussing progress, challenges, and suggestions.

Regular progress tracking is key. Schedule routine check-ins to evaluate whether your ‘action steps for goals’ are being carried out as planned and assess the effectiveness of your strategies. This ongoing review is crucial to maintain momentum and to make real-time adjustments as needed.

Bonus Tip: Use project management tools to aid in tracking progress and collaboration. A tool like Teamly is designed to support your team with real-time chat features, screen capturing, and task management.

Samples and Templates

A sample action plan can serve as a handy reference, particularly for those creating their first action plan. It provides a structured overview of how goals can be broken down into action steps, how responsibilities can be assigned, and how timelines can be set.

However, remember that each project is unique. While an action plan sample can be a good starting point, it needs to be tailored to fit your specific goals, team, and resources.

Similarly, templates can be useful when creating an action plan. They provide structure and guide you through the planning process, ensuring you don’t miss critical elements. However, templates aren’t without their drawbacks.

They can be rigid, restricting creativity and flexibility, which are essential when planning for dynamic goals or environments. Thus, while templates can be a good starting point, always remember to customize them to suit your unique needs.

Transitioning your action plan from a document to a roadmap for success demands perseverance, vigilance, and flexibility. The real power of an action plan comes to life only when it’s put into practice.

Action Plan Samples

Action Plan Samples

Looking at real-life examples can truly illuminate the process of creating effective action plans.

Let’s delve into three action plan samples to uncover the insights they hold.

Example 1: Local Cafe’s Customer Retention Strategy

Imagine a local café aiming to boost customer retention by 15% over six months. Here’s a simplified snapshot of their action plan:

  • Goal: Increase customer retention by 15% over six months.
  • Action Steps: Implement a loyalty program, introduce limited-time menu items, host monthly community events.
  • Responsibilities: Manager designs the loyalty program, Chef curates unique menu items, Marketing team organizes community events.
  • Timeline: Roll out each initiative at the start of consecutive months.
  • Success Metrics: Track return customer rate, loyalty program participation, event attendance.
  • Follow-Up: Bi-weekly team meetings to assess progress.

This action plan example emphasizes the importance of customer-centric strategies in boosting retention. It illustrates the direct correlation between clear action steps, assigned responsibilities, and success metrics with the ultimate goal.

Example 2: Software Startup’s Product Development Plan

Consider a software startup working towards launching a new app feature in the next quarter. Their action plan might look something like this:

  • Goal: Launch a new feature within the next quarter.
  • Action Steps: Conduct market research, design and develop the feature, perform testing, prepare for launch.
  • Responsibilities: Research team handles market research, developers design and build the feature, QA team performs testing, marketing prepares the launch.
  • Timeline: Each action step has a dedicated timeframe within the quarter.
  • Success Metrics: Completion of each action step on time, usability test results, customer feedback post-launch.
  • Follow-Up: Weekly check-ins to review progress and troubleshoot issues.

This action plan illustrates the phases of product development and highlights the significance of regular follow-ups to ensure smooth execution.

Example 3: Nonprofit Organization’s Fundraising Campaign

Imagine a nonprofit planning a fundraising campaign to support a new initiative. Their action plan could look like:

  • Goal: Raise $50,000 in two months.
  • Action Steps: Identify potential donors, organize fundraising events, launch online donation drives.
  • Responsibilities: Fundraising team identifies donors and organizes events, the digital team handles online donation drives.
  • Timeline: Stagger events and drives over the two-month period.
  • Success Metrics: Amount of funds raised, number of donors, event attendance, online donations.
  • Follow-Up: Post-event debriefs to discuss what worked and what needs improvement.

This example demonstrates how an action plan facilitates the organization of large-scale events, focusing on the objective of raising a specific amount of funds within a defined period.

Each of these examples emphasizes the elements of an effective action plan and provides a practical, relatable context. By adapting these principles to your unique situation, you’ll be well on your way to ‘creating an action plan’ that drives success.

Each goal, each team, each organization comes with its unique context and dynamics. Tailoring your action plan to reflect these nuances is key.

While action plans are intended to guide you towards your goal, they’re not set in stone. They’re meant to serve you, not constrain you. When circumstances change, as they often do, don’t hesitate to revisit and revise your plan.

Because the most successful action plan is the one that adapts, grows, and evolves with you.

So, go ahead and harness the power of action plans. Begin by identifying your goal, breaking it down into action steps, assigning responsibilities, setting a timeline, defining success metrics, and determining a follow-up process.

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🚀 15 Best Action Plan Templates for Effortless Project Execution in 2024

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To achieve effective and successful project plans, it is crucial to invest time, dedication, and attention to detail.

In order to optimize your project management process and drive success in your business, it is vital to create a well-defined roadmap that outlines each step of the journey.

An action plan plays a pivotal role in any project, providing structure and guidance on how to accomplish desired outcomes.

An effective action plan template helps you define objectives and tasks for each team member involved in the project so that everyone is on the same page with expectations.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of essential components designed to help organize all aspects of your company’s operations so you can focus on what’s important: getting things done!

So, let’s explore the power of action plans in keeping you organized, focused, and on track to achieve your goals.

Page Contents (Click To Jump)

Best Action Plan Templates for Projects

 1  corrective action plan by monday.com.

action plan ideas for business

The Corrective Action Plan is a strategic roadmap that organizations must follow to address and rectify factors negatively affecting their workflow and profit margins. It serves as a record of actions and presents an opportunity to drive positive outcomes and improve overall performance. It also proactively tackles challenges and paves the way for enhanced success.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This is great for work planning and performance review because it allows you to clearly define areas of improvement and automate workflows, including conducting root-cause analysis and risk assessments, identifying problem statements, detailing the necessary action steps, assigning stakeholders and recording progress updates. Additionally, users can also track completion metrics for an effective monitoring system.

 2   Simple Action Plan Template by Smartsheet

Simple Action Plan

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This template works just as well for individuals as teams. At a single glance, you can identify all the core elements of your action plan, see who’s responsible, and identify at what stage specific tasks are.

 3  Team Alignment Template by Miro


✅ Why this is a good action plan template: The ease of collaboration between team members. You can sign up for FREE with Miro and start using this template in minutes.

 4  Team Action Plan Template by Wrike

Team Action Plan

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: With this template, there’s full transparency with a wide range of views, like list and Gantt views. Tasks are organized very simply as “to do,” “in progress,” and “completed” tasks. You can also easily stay on top of delivery timelines with tailor-made dashboards.

 5  ClickUp Action Plan by ClickUp

action plan ideas for business

The ClickUp Action Plan empowers you with the ability to effortlessly organize and prioritize tasks, ensuring that each smart goal is accomplished. It allows you to seamlessly assign tasks, track progress, and measure results with the help of built-in analytics and visualizations.

If you choose to utilize this template, you will have all the necessary tools to create an effective action plan that propels you toward your goals at a much faster pace.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: The ClickUp Action Plan template offers a powerful framework for effective project planning and execution . With its intuitive task organization and activity prioritization features, users can streamline their workflows.

 6  Action Priority Matrix by Miro

action plan ideas for business

The Action Priority Matrix is an invaluable tool that optimizes users’ time and effort. By leveraging this template, individuals can swiftly identify tasks that demand immediate attention, along with those that can be delegated or avoided altogether.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This matrix comprises four distinct quadrants, each representing a different task category. The “quick wins” quadrant encompasses tasks that yield high impact with minimal effort, offering a remarkable return on investment. On the other hand, the “major projects” quadrant includes tasks that require both substantial impact and effort, potentially resulting in significant rewards despite the time investment. The “fill-ins” quadrant represents tasks with low impact and effort, which can be effectively delegated to others. In addition, the “thankless tasks” quadrant focuses on tasks that may involve high effort but offer minimal impact.

 7  Custom Project Action Plan by monday.com

action plan ideas for business

The Custom Project Action Plan is perfect for teams that require an all-in-one action planning solution. It comes with features such as advanced task tracking, project timeline view, and integrated communication tools to keep everyone on the same page. This allows user to effectively collaborate and communicate in real-time without having to switch between different platforms.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This template is customizable, insightful and replicable: It can be tailored to suit each team’s individual needs, providing insight into the project timeline and breaking down goals into actionable steps.

 8  Employee Action Plan by ClickUp

action plan ideas for business

The Employee Action Plan is designed for managers who need to keep their teams on track and organized at all times. It integrates a unique performance tracking system that helps you monitor the progress of your employees while also facilitating timely feedback and intervention when needed.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This project management template keeps individual tasks organized, prioritizes workloads, and makes it easy to track progress. It is also incredibly useful for streamlining communication among both managers and employees, keeping everyone informed of current goals and objectives.

 9  Strategy Map by Miro

action plan ideas for business

The Strategy Map provides a clear visual guide on how different elements synergize, encompassing financial, customer, internal, and growth perspectives of your business or organization. Now you can effectively communicate your overall business goals, fostering better alignment among teams and managers.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This template empowers users to visualize their strategy at a glance, allowing them to better understand the relationships between objectives and actions. Additionally, it helps teams connect short-term objectives with long-term goals more effectively.

 10  Single Project Template by monday.com

action plan ideas for business

Effortlessly centralize all your project’s critical elements, including deadlines, stakeholders, budget, and more, within a single comprehensive platform. Seamlessly plan, effectively manage, and meticulously track every aspect of your project to ensure that no detail goes unnoticed or falls through the cracks. With the Single Project Template , you’ll have complete control and be well on your way to achieving project success with ease!

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This template helps users to easily set milestones and timelines, efficiently organize tasks into groups based on project stages or categories, and enjoy complete visibility through status and priority categorization.

 11  Marketing Action Plan by ClickUp

The Marketing Action Plan provides a comprehensive strategic blueprint for effectively promoting and selling a product or service. It includes vital information about the target market, dynamic advertising and promotional efforts, competitive pricing strategies, and optimized distribution channels. By leveraging the power of a well-crafted marketing plan, businesses can confidently navigate the path to success, attracting and delighting customers along the way.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This template is research-driven, allowing for a better understanding of prospects and customers through the analysis of relevant data. Optimized promotion tactics are used to maximize consumer engagement, while comprehensive tracking ensures that progress is accurately monitored over time – enabling timely course corrections when necessary.

 12  Gap Analysis Template by Miro

action plan ideas for business

This is a strategic process that allows your business to compare its current real-world situation with its ideal goals. By identifying obstacles that may be hindering teams or individuals from reaching their goals sooner, the Gap Analysis Template propels your organization toward growth and development. By pinpointing goals, understanding the current situation, and uncovering remaining obstacles, your team can collaborate on a well-crafted plan to achieve those goals.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This template helps teams gain a better understanding of their overall strategy and identify areas that need improvement. It provides the necessary insights to make smarter decisions, increases productivity , and promotes long-term success.

 13  Work Plan Template by monday.com

action plan ideas for business

The Work Plan Template  helps you move from goal setting to actionable steps, which is essential for reaching desired outcomes in the workplace. This template guides users through the process of creating a clear and comprehensive plan that focuses on all aspects of their project or goal.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This HR template enables users to monitor progress, estimate resources needed, define objectives or milestones associated with each task, and assign tasks efficiently across teams and individuals. In addition, its comprehensive approach promotes greater productivity and long-term success.

 14  Mutual Action Plan by ClickUp

action plan ideas for business

The Mutual Action Plan is an indispensable template for coordinating and executing successful strategies. This powerful template helps you plan, visualize, and track progress along with fostering a sense of shared goals and collaboration. Whether you’re working on a small project or a large-scale initiative, this template will keep everyone on the same page and help you achieve your goals quickly and efficiently.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This template allows users to clearly define objectives and expectations, break down tasks into achievable steps, identify roles and resources needed to complete the plan, create a timeline for completion, and track progress to ensure all goals are being met. This enables teams to collaborate more effectively towards successful strategies with greater productivity.

 15  Simple Project Plan by Miro

action plan ideas for business

The Simple Project Plan helps users create projects with ease. Whether you’re starting a new project or managing an existing one, this template enables users to effectively plan, manage tasks and resources, and track progress in real-time.

✅ Why this is a good action plan template: This meeting template allows you to construct a customized project roadmap that perfectly aligns with your unique requirements and available resources. It also enables you to effortlessly delegate tasks to the appropriate individuals, establish achievable deadlines, and effectively monitor progress. Moreover, this action plan template establishes a shared understanding among all project stakeholders regarding their respective roles and responsibilities, ensuring everyone is fully aligned with the project’s goals and objectives.

Depending on the scale and complexity of the work involved, various types of action items can be utilized. Additionally, project management tools can aid in organizing tasks, allocating resources, and monitoring progress.

Whether you need one-time solutions for a specific project or an integrated system that can manage workflows in an organization, having the right action plan template is key.

What Is an Action Plan Template?

An action plan template is a document that outlines the key steps, resources, and end dates for any project. It helps to break down the various elements of a project into smaller, more manageable tasks and determine the right sequence of activities for successful completion. An action plan template also includes relevant dates and milestones that will help keep all stakeholders on track throughout the life cycle of the project.

Benefits of Action Plan Templates

Using an action plan template is a great way to get organized and ensure that nothing gets overlooked while you work on a project. The main benefit of using an action plan is that it provides structure for your thoughts, ideas, and tasks. This helps you stay focused on the goal at hand and gives you a starting point for tackling any task.

Here are some other benefits of using an action plan template:

🚀 Effectiveness and Efficiency

Using an action plan template can help you structure your project effectively and efficiently, ensuring that all tasks are completed on time and to the highest standards.

🎯 Providing Objectives

This template can help reduce risks associated with a project by providing clear objectives, tasks, timelines, and dependencies between teams or stakeholders

🤝 Collaboration

Action plan templates also make it easier for teams to use their online collaboration tools  effectively on any project, providing a clear roadmap for everyone to follow.

⏰ Setting Timelines

It can help you break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. This can allow you to put together a timeline for completing each step and give you a visual representation of all the work that needs to be done.

People Also Ask These Questions About Action Plan Templates

Q: how do i choose the right action plan template for my team.

  • A: When selecting a template for an action plan, there are several factors to consider. First, you must determine the purpose of the plan and what objectives it should achieve. Once you have defined these goals, you can begin to narrow down your selection by looking at types of action plans that may be appropriate for this project. Additionally, you should ask yourself if the template is easy to understand and provides ample space for your team to record their progress. It is also important to choose an action plan template that suits the needs of everyone in your team, so it is vital to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Finally, when making your decision on an action plan template for your team, be sure to consider the cost associated with it. There are many apps and free action plan templates available, but they may not be suitable for your list of tasks or business.

Q: How do I write an action plan?

  • A: Creating an action plan needs strategic planning and organization of ideas and goals into a clear, achievable roadmap. It’s important to consider your end goal, break it down into individual tasks, and then identify the resources needed for each task. When writing an action plan, think about how you will measure success, as well as how long each step of the plan should take.

Q: What features should an action plan template include?

  • A: When creating an action plan template, there are certain features that you should include to make sure your plan is effective. Firstly, the action plan should include specific goals. Secondly, an action plan should include a timeline/timeframe for each step or task of the project mentioning the due dates. Business action plan templates should also include a list of the tasks and activities required to complete the project. Finally, action plans should feature a section for necessary resources needed or potential risks and obstacles.

Q: Can I customize existing action plan templates?

  • A: Yes, you can customize existing action plan templates and docs to match your specific tasks and objectives. This is done by adding the relevant information and adjusting the overall formatting and layout of the template. Additionally, you can add any additional notes or instructions that may be needed for the successful execution of your project.

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SnackNation is a healthy office snack delivery service that makes healthy snacking fun, life more productive, and workplaces awesome. We provide a monthly, curated selection of healthy snacks from the hottest, most innovative natural food brands in the industry, giving our members a hassle-free experience and delivering joy to their offices.

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Action Plan Template for Business Development

Action Plan Template for Business Development

  • Formulate achievable goals and objectives
  • Organize and track tasks so nothing gets forgotten
  • Identify short-term wins while planning the long term game

Benefits of a Business Development Action Plan Template

  • Identify your goals and objectives
  • Develop a strategy to achieve those goals
  • Track progress and revise as needed

Main Elements of a Action Plan Template for Business Development

  • A timetable for completing the project
  • Specific goals and objectives
  • Identification of key partners and stakeholders
  • Estimated budget and timeline
  • Attributes on how the project will be evaluated
  • Contact information for a representative to provide feedback

How to Use a Business Development Action Plan Template

1. establish goals., 2. conduct research., 3. assess current situation., 4. set objectives & timelines., 5. assign roles & responsibilities., 6. develop tactics / plans., 7. monitor & review progress regularly, 8. celebrate successes, related action plan templates.

  • Leadership Action Plan Template
  • Stock Loss Action Plan Template
  • Job Search Action Plan Template
  • Construction Action Plan Template
  • Warehouse Relocation Action Plan Template

Template details

Free forever with 100mb storage.

Free training & 24-hours support

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Highest levels of uptime the last 12 months

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Free business plan template (with examples)

Alan Bradley

Sierra Campbell

Sierra Campbell

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Updated 3:37 a.m. UTC Feb. 12, 2024

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AzmanL, Getty Images

Starting a business can be a daunting undertaking. As with so many large projects, one of the most difficult challenges is just getting started, and one of the best ways to start is by putting together a plan. A plan is also a powerful tool for communication and can serve as a cornerstone for onboarding new partners and employees or for demonstrating your philosophy and priorities to potential collaborators. 

A solid business plan will not only provide a framework for your business going forward but will also give you an early opportunity to organize and refine your thoughts and define your mission statement, providing a guidepost that can serve as a beacon for your business for years to come. We’ve provided a business plan template below to help guide you in the creation of your new enterprise.

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Business plan template

What should a business plan include?

Regardless of the type of business you own or the products and services you provide, every business plan should include some core elements:

  • Mission statement. The definition and executive summary of your business.
  • Market analysis. A breakdown of the market segment and customers you hope to reach, built through primary (gathered by you) and secondary (gathered from outside sources) research.
  • Organization and logistics. The nuts and bolts of how your business is operated
  • Products or services. What your company provides its customers.
  • Advertising and marketing. How you intend to get your products in front of your customers.
  • Forecasting. Revenue forecasting for partners or potential investors.

Why do you need a business plan?

A business plan is a framework for success. It provides a number of key benefits:

  • Structure. The outline around which to design your business.
  • Operational guidance. A signpost for how to run your business from day to day.
  • Expansion. A vision for the future growth of your enterprise.
  • Definition. A platform to consider every element of your business and how best to execute your plans for them.
  • Collaboration. A synopsis of what’s exceptional about your business and a way to attract funding, investment or partnerships.
  • Onboarding. An efficient summary of your business for new or potential employees.

Business plan examples

We’ve created two fictional companies to illustrate how a business might use a business plan to sketch out goals and opportunities as well as forecast revenue.

Bling, Incorporated

Our first hypothetical example is a jewelry and accessory creator called Bling, Incorporated. A hybrid business that manufactures its products for sale both online and through physical retail channels, Bling’s mission statement is focused on transforming simple, inexpensive ingredients into wearable statement pieces of art. 

Market analysis includes gathering data around sourcing sustainable, inexpensive components, aesthetic trends in fashion and on which platforms competitors have had success in advertising jewelry to prospective customers. Logistics include shipping products, negotiating with retailers, establishing an e-commerce presence and material and manufacturing costs. 

Bling, Incorporated advertises initially through social platforms like TikTok and Facebook, as well as with Google AdSense, with plans to eventually expand to television advertising. Revenue forecasting is structured around a low overhead on the basis of inexpensive materials, no dedicated storefront and broad reach through digital platforms.

Phaeton Custom Cars

Phaeton is a custom car builder and classic car restoration business with a regional focus and reach. Its mission statement defines it as a local, family-owned business serving a community of auto enthusiasts and a broader regional niche of collectors. 

Market analysis breaks down the location and facilities of other competitor shops in the region as well as online communities of regional car enthusiasts likely to spend money on custom modifications or restoration projects. It also examines trends in valuations for custom parts and vintage cars. Logistics include pricing out parts and labor, finding skilled or apprentice laborers and mortgaging a garage and equipment. 

Phaeton advertises in regional publications, at local events and regional car shows and online through Facebook and Instagram, with an emphasis on a social presence highlighting their flashiest builds. Revenue forecasting is built around a growing reputation and high-value commissions.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

A business plan may not be a prerequisite for every type of business, but there are few businesses that wouldn’t benefit from one. It can serve as an important strategic tool and help crystalize a vision of your business and its future.

Business plans do just that: they help you plan the future of your business, serve as a platform to brainstorm ideas and think through your vision and are a great tool for showcasing why your business works to potential investors or partners.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Alan Bradley

Alan is an experienced culture and tech writer with a background in newspaper reporting. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, The Escapist, PC Mag, PC Gamer, and a multitude of other outlets. He has over twenty years of experience as a journalist and editor and is the author of the urban fantasy novel The Sixth Borough.

Sierra Campbell is a small business editor for USA Today Blueprint. She specializes in writing, editing and fact-checking content centered around helping businesses. She has worked as a digital content and show producer for several local TV stations, an editor for U.S. News & World Report and a freelance writer and editor for many companies. Sierra prides herself in delivering accurate and up-to-date information to readers. Her expertise includes credit card processing companies, e-commerce platforms, payroll software, accounting software and virtual private networks (VPNs). She also owns Editing by Sierra, where she offers editing services to writers of all backgrounds, including self-published and traditionally published authors.

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

How to start a small business: A step-by-step guide

Business Eric Rosenberg

action plan ideas for business

Delivering Copilot for everyone

Feb 7, 2024 | Yusuf Mehdi - Executive Vice President, Consumer Chief Marketing Officer

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Three screenshots of Microsoft Copilot

As we approach Super Bowl weekend, we’re thrilled to be a part of the festivities for the first time in four years. This year, we’re proud to celebrate the transformative power of AI and Microsoft Copilot, showcasing peoples’ “watch me” moments with Copilot enabling people to do things previously unattainable. With a simple sentence or two, you will see a budding entrepreneur turn a fledgling idea for a new product into an actionable business plan, a filmmaker’s concept into a rich set of storyboards, and a fantasy football player’s team come to life with a mascot image they can edit inline.

Coincident with the launch of our Super Bowl ad , we are also launching a significant new update to our Microsoft Copilot experience on copilot.microsoft.com and our Copilot app on iOS and Android app stores.  Today when you visit Copilot, you will see a more streamlined look and feel designed to help you bring your ideas to life and more easily gain understanding about the world. We have introduced a cleaner, sleeker look and feel for answers and a fun new carousel of suggested prompts to showcase the power of Copilot.

Today marks exactly one year since our entry into AI-powered experiences for people with Bing Chat. In that year we have learned so many new things and seen the use of our Copilot experiences explode with over 5 billion chats and 5 billion images created to date which have led to sustained growth in Edge and Bing share. Now with Copilot as our singular experience for people looking to get more out of AI creation, we are today introducing further image creation capabilities.

With Designer in Copilot, you can go beyond just creating images to now customize your generated images with inline editing right inside Copilot 1 , keeping you in the flow of your chat. Whether you want to highlight an object to make it pop with enhanced color, blur the background of your image to make your subject shine, or even reimagine your image with a different effect like pixel art, 2 Copilot has you covered, all for free.  If you’re a Copilot Pro subscriber, in addition to the above, you can also now easily resize and regenerate images between square and landscape without leaving chat. Lastly, we will soon roll out our new Designer GPT inside Copilot, which offers an immersive, dedicated canvas inside of Copilot where you can visualize your ideas.

YouTube Video

Copilot is free to use and works on Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Or download the Copilot mobile app on iOS or Android .

AI is the defining technology of our time. Microsoft’s advancements in AI align with our company mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. With Copilot, we’re democratizing our breakthroughs in AI to help make the promise of AI real for everyone.

1 Available in English in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, India and New Zealand.

2 15 daily boosts included in Copilot, 100 daily boosts with a Copilot Pro subscription to be used for creative needs, faster image generation, and more detailed images.

Tags: AI , Copilot Pro , Microsoft Copilot , Microsoft Designer

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action plan ideas for business

action plan ideas for business

Johnson & Johnson Case Signals Employee Drug Price Suits to Come

By Sara Hansard

Sara Hansard

A novel lawsuit from an employee suing Johnson & Johnson Inc. for allegedly mismanaging drug benefits appears a harbinger of litigation to come against companies, especially those that rely on pharmaceutical industry middlemen to negotiate pricing and rebates.

Ann Lewandowski, a health-care policy and advocacy director for Johnson & Johnson, filed the proposed class action Feb. 5 in US District Court for the District of New Jersey. The suit said the New Jersey-based company mismanages its employee health plan by paying its pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts Inc., inflated prices for generic specialty drugs that are widely available at much lower cost.

Employers are likely to face legal challenges by employees for paying more than is necessary after being warned for years that previously hidden information on negotiated prices for health care services has become publicly available to potential plaintiffs through new laws and regulations. These new lawsuits would be comparable in some ways to those filed against companies for paying excessive fees or mismanaging investments in 401(k) defined contribution retirement plans, according to attorneys who advise employers.

Companies have taken the unusual step in recent years of suing their health plan administrators for breaching fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. For example, Kraft Heinz Co. sued health plan administrator Aetna Life Insurance Co. for allegedly approving fraudulent claims. That suit was dropped in December 2023 and the dispute went to arbitration.

There have also been suits filed by employers, unions, and employees against health plan administrators for causing them to overpay for medical bills and claims.

But the Johnson & Johnson case appears to be the first case brought by an employee against a major company alleging breach of ERISA fiduciary duty over mismanagement of health plan funds.

“The allegations and legal theories asserted in the complaint are meritless and, therefore, we will be moving to dismiss the complaint in its entirety,” Johnson & Johnson media relations Senior Director Tesia Williams said in an email.

Suits Anticipated

“We’ve been anticipating that the fiduciaries of those plans that are hiring these third-party contractors are vulnerable to just the type of claims that Johnson & Johnson is facing here,” said Joanne Roskey, a member of Miller & Chevalier Chartered’s ERISA and employee benefits practice.

The complaint alleges that Johnson & Johnson mismanaged its prescription drug benefits program, costing employees millions of dollars in higher payments for drugs, as well as higher premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, copays, and lower wages or limited wage growth. Express Scripts, which is one of the nation’s three largest PBMs, is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The suit cites a charge of more than $10,000 for a 90-day prescription of generic drug teriflunomide, used to treat multiple sclerosis, that would have cost as little as $28 from online pharmacy Cost Plus Drugs.

“The burden for that massive over-payment falls on Johnson & Johnson’s ERISA plans, which pay most of the agreed amount from plan assets, and on beneficiaries of the plans, who generally pay out-of-pocket for a portion of that inflated price,” the suit said. “No prudent fiduciary would agree to make its plan and beneficiaries pay a price that is two-hundred-and-fifty times higher than the price available to any individual who just walks into a pharmacy and pays out-of-pocket.”

The court will focus on whether the plan had a reasonable process for selecting and monitoring its drug benefits, Roskey said.

“This is a prudence case, and it’s going to focus on the processes that were used to make the decisions about pharmacy benefits for this plan,” she said.

The plan’s expenses are paid from the Johnson & Johnson Salary Medical VEBA, an employer-sponsored trust to pay medical benefits, according to the suit.

“The fact that there’s a trust has a bearing,” Roberta Casper Watson, leader of the Wagner Law Group’s health and welfare practice group, said. “Once the employer puts a dollar in the trust, then it’s a plan asset,” and plan assets are regulated by ERISA, she said.

Employee contributions are always plan assets, but their employers’ contributions aren’t necessarily plan assets “until the employer does something to make them plan assets,” which would include contributing to a VEBA or paying claims, Watson said.

In many plans, the employer pays claims directly, rather than contributing them to a plan and having the plan pay the claim, she said.

“It’s an aspect that’ll affect a lot of people that might want to bring these cases,” she said.

ERISA requirements may not apply to payments made from employer assets in a typical employer-sponsored plan because employees may not lose money from those expenditures, Watson said. Employees may not have standing to complain about things that cost the employer more money, she said.

But assets in a VEBA “would make them all plan assets and strengthen the ERISA case,” Watson said.

The plaintiff claimed in the Johnson & Johnson suit that paying inflated prices for drugs harmed employees in part because it resulted in lower wages for them.

But the argument that an employer that paid less for its health plan might pay more in wages has proven weaker legally, Watson said.

“Historically that kind of an argument has not resulted in standing for the complainant,” she said. “It’s considered speculative.”

Mitigating Liability

Employers can mitigate their liability exposure to these types of cases by ensuring they are engaged in a prudent process in selecting and monitoring their service providers, according to benefits attorneys who represent companies.

It is no longer a sufficient defense for employers to rely on brokers and plan administrators “to do the right thing,” said Shawn Gremminger, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.

Employers may need to add staff, spend more time examining contracts to ensure they’re getting the best deal, “and then do a lot of digging to ensure that the people that they’ve signed contracts with are actually doing what they say they will do,” he said.

The fact that Johnson & Johnson has become an early target of employee suits on fiduciary violations is “interesting,” Gremminger said.

“They should understand drug pricing better than your average employer,” he said.

Hospitals and health plans are required to make their negotiated prices publicly available, but drug prices and information about how PBMs like Express Scripts price the drugs they manage has not been as open.

Employer and consumer groups have called for more transparency from these middlemen, who have been known to engage in practices like “spread pricing"— charging companies’ insurers more for drugs than they pay pharmacies to fulfill their claims and pocketing the difference.

However, it’s still difficult for employers to get negotiated pricing and claims data that shed light on PBM operations and other aspects of plan spend in a usable format. Service providers, such as brokers and health plan consultants, are also required in some cases to provide information about the compensation they receive, but it isn’t clear how much information plan fiduciaries are actually getting, Roskey said.

The threat of another Johnson & Johnson suit also may prompt employers to look beyond the top three PBMs, which dominate marketshare, for alternative PBMs that are more transparent in their practices, she said.

Lewandowski, currently on leave due to a dispute over an accommodation for a medical condition, is represented by Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei PC and Fairmark Partners LLP.

The case is Lewandowski v. Johnson & Johnson, D.N.J., 1:24-cv-00671, 2/5/24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Hansard in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at [email protected] ; Genevieve Douglas at [email protected]

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    Clear Goals: Every action plan starts with defining what you aim to achieve. Goals are your end-point, your desired outcome. They are the 'why' of your action plan, giving purpose and direction to your journey. Action Steps: These are the 'what' of your plan, the specific tasks or activities you need to perform to reach your goals.

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    The Simple Action Plan Template helps you create a structure for individuals or teams within your organization. It gives you guideposts to define your goal, identify tasks, set timelines, identify resources and assign responsibilities, monitor progress, and measure success. Why this is a good action plan template: This template works just as ...

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    Action Plan Example 1 . An example of a relatively small goal that may be organized and clarified with an action plan is a dinner party (Rysman, n.d.). Using an action plan to organize a dinner party might first involve listing everything that you need to do to throw the dinner party.

  24. Free Business Plan Template (With Examples)

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    Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world. For Customers . ... In many plans, the employer pays claims directly, rather than contributing them to a plan and having the plan pay the claim, she ...