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Create an action plan that drives results

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An action plan outlines precisely how you’re planning to accomplish your goals. It’s the perfect way to approach goals systematically and keep your team on target. In this article, we will cover how to create an action plan in six steps and how to implement it successfully. Plus, learn more about the differences between action plans, project plans, and to-do lists.

It can feel good to make goals. After all, you’re defining what you want to accomplish. But goals won’t do much without clear action steps. ​​An action plan is a popular project management technique that lists your action steps so you know exactly how you’re going to accomplish your goals. 

We’re going to show you how to create this clear roadmap step by step and other tools you should utilize to get the most out of your action plan. Let’s dive in.

What is an action plan?

An action plan is a list of tasks or steps you need to complete to achieve your goals. An effective action plan works like a management plan for your company’s initiatives, outlining the steps you need to take to make these larger goals a success. Once you go through the goal-setting process, create an action plan with specific tasks and timeframes to reach each goal. 

Who needs an action plan?

An action plan is useful for anyone who needs a step-by-step planning process. When you create an action plan, you detail exactly what actions you'll take to accomplish your project goals. These plans can help you organize your to-dos and ensure you have the necessary information and resources to accomplish your goals.

But you can create action plans for more than just strategic planning. Use this tool to reach any specific goals in a systematic way. Try setting up:

Business action plan

Marketing action plan

Corrective action plan

Sales action plan

Project action plan

Personal development action plan

Regardless of the type of action plan you create, make sure you create it in task management software . That way, you can easily share action items and timelines with your team to track progress. Instead of manual status updates and unclear deliverables, your team has one central source of truth for everything they need to do in order to hit their goals. 

Now let’s get into how you can create an action plan that increases your team’s efficiency and accountability.

Who needs an action plan?

6 steps to create an action plan

Step 1: set a smart goal.

When it comes to setting goals, clarity is the single most important quality. With the SMART goal method, your goal is clearly defined and attainable. Set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals to benefit from this tactic.

[Inline illustration] SMART goals (Infographic)

For example, your goal could be to deliver your current project (measurable) in four months (time-bound) without overspending (specific). Assuming this goal is both achievable and realistic based on your available resources, it’s a great SMART goal to set for yourself.

Step 2: Identify tasks

Now that your goal is clearly defined and written down, you’ll want to identify the steps you have to take to reach it. Identify all of the tasks that you and your team need to complete to reach milestones and, eventually, the main objective.

Here are a few action plan examples with tasks for different kinds of goals:

Goal: Expand team from seven to nine team members by June.

Meet with Human Resources to discuss the recruitment campaign.

Create a template project to track candidates.

Schedule three interviews per week.

Goal: Select and onboard new work management software to the entire company by the end of Q2.

Apply for the budget.

Create a roll-out plan for Q2.

Schedule training for team members.

Goal: Host 5k charity run in May to raise $15,000 for the local food bank.

Find volunteers and determine responsibilities

Prepare marketing materials and PR plans

Secure sponsors

Step 3: Allocate resources

Once you’ve outlined all of your tasks, you can allocate resources like team members, project budget, or necessary equipment. Whether it’s assigning team members to certain tasks, applying for a budget, or gathering helpful tools—now is the time to plan and prepare.

Sometimes, you can’t allocate all of your resources before you put your action plan in motion. Perhaps you have to apply for funding first or need executive approval before you can move on with a task. In that case, make the resource an action item in your plan so you can take care of it later.

Step 4: Prioritize tasks

When your team is clear on their priorities, they know what work to do first and what work they can reschedule if necessary. No action plan is set in stone, so the best way to empower your team is to let them know what tasks have a high priority and which ones are a bit more flexible.

To make this clear, sort all of your action items by priority and sequence:

Priority: Important and less important tasks.

Sequence: Order in which tasks have to be completed so others can start.

When you’re organizing and prioritizing your action items , you’ll notice that some action items are dependent on others. In other words, one task can’t begin until the previous task is completed. Highlight these dependencies and factor the sequence into your prioritization. This reduces bottlenecks , removing obstacles that would make a less important action item delay a high-priority item.  

Step 5: Set deadlines and milestones

When your team knows what they're working towards, they have the context to effectively prioritize work and the motivation to get great work done. Team members tend to be more motivated when they directly understand how their work is contributing to larger goals.

To engage your teammates from the get go, assign deadlines to all action items and define milestones . Milestones mark specific points along your project timeline that identify when activities have been completed or when a new phase starts

Create a timeline or Gantt chart to get a better overview of your prioritized tasks, milestones, and deadlines. Your timeline also serves as a visual way to track the start and end dates of every task in your action plan. You can use it as a baseline to make sure your team stays on track.

Step 6: Monitor and revise your action plan

Your ability to stay on top of and adapt to changes is what makes you a great project manager. It’s crucial that you monitor your team’s progress and revise the plan when necessary.

Luckily, your action plan isn’t set in stone. The best way to track potentially changing priorities or deadlines is to use a dynamic tool like a work management software . That way, you can update to-dos and dependencies in real time, keep your team on the same page, and your action plan moving.

Action plan vs. plan B vs. project plan vs. to-do list

So how exactly does an action plan differ from all these other plans and lists? To clear this up once and for all, we’re going to explain what these plans are and when to use which plan to maximize your team’s efforts.

Action plan vs. plan B

You may have heard the terms action plan and plan B used interchangeably. But in fact, an action plan and plan B are two completely different types of plans. Here’s how to tell them apart:

Your action plan outlines actions in much detail so you and your team know exactly what steps to take to reach your goal.

A plan B is a secondary action plan, an alternative strategy, that your team can apply if your original plan fails. Whether that’s because of an internal issue or an external factor—having a plan B is a great way to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Action plan vs. plan B

Action plan vs. project plan

A project plan is a bit more complicated than an action plan. Project plans are blueprints of the key elements your team needs to accomplish to successfully achieve your project goals. A project plan includes seven elements:

Goals and project objectives

Success metrics

Stakeholders and roles

Scope and budget

Milestones and deliverables

Timeline and schedule

Communication plan

Once you’ve created a project plan, use an action plan to outline and document how your team will execute your tasks and hit your goals. This will ensure that everyone on your team knows what their responsibilities are and what to get done by when.

Action plan vs. to-do list

A to-do list is typically used to write down single tasks that don’t necessarily lead to one common goal. To-do lists can change daily and are much less organized than action plans. An action plan will follow specific steps and include tasks that all lead to the completion of a common goal.

How to implement your action plan successfully

You know how to create an action plan, but in order to implement it successfully, you need to use the right tools and use them correctly. Here are our top five tips to ensure your action plan is effective:

How to implement your action plan successfully

Use task management software

Streamline your action plan by keeping all of your tasks and timelines in one central source of truth. Task management software, like Asana , is perfect for your action plan because it allows you to keep track of pending tasks, declare task ownership, assign dependencies, and connect with your team in real time or asynchronously .

Use or create templates

Create or use a template that lists all the action items with notes, status, priority, and ownership. When you create a template that fits your project type, you can reuse it time and time again.

Set up real-time alerts and assign dependencies

Make sure all action items are time-bound and that you assign dependencies. That way, your team can react when an item is ready for them and easily track what other items depend on theirs. 

Check action items off as you complete them

When action items are completed, check them off! Make sure it’s visible to everyone and happens in real time so the person responsible for the next action item can start their work as soon as possible.

Discuss late or pending tasks

If you run into issues or delays, talk to your team to uncover potential bottlenecks and find solutions that keep the action plan on track. You can add notes directly into your action plan or set up calls to discuss more complex issues.

Ready, set, action plan

Like Benjamin Franklin once said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Creating an action plan helps you stay focused, on track, and brings your goals to life.

Plan to succeed with a structured action plan and helpful tools like Asana’s task management software. Connect and align with your team in a central source of truth while staying flexible enough to revise your action plan when necessary.

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Mastering Action Plans: A Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

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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?

An action plan is a specific list of tasks in order to achieve a particular goal. 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

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.

Why You Need an Action Plan

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;

How to Write an Action Plan | Best Practices

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

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

SMART Goals Worksheet

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.

Simple Action Plan Template How to Write an Action Plan

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.

Action Plan Templates

Business action plan.

Business Action Plan How to write an action plan

Marketing action plan

Marketing Action Plan Template

Strategic action plan

Strategic Action Plan Template

Corrective action plan template

Corrective Action Plan Template

Action plan template

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.

Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

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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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action plan ideas for business

How to create an action plan (with template and examples)

January 20, 2023 7 min read 2016

How to create an action plan (with 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.

Table of contents

What is an action plan, action plan vs. product strategy.

Example action plan framework

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.

Think of an action plan as a work breakdown structure or a guiding document that outlines all the tasks that need to be completed so you can achieve your product goals.

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.

Product strategy defines the high-level direction of what will make a product successful and a general idea on 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 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.

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 write an effective action plan are as follows:

1. Define goals

The most important step in creating an action plan is to define the goals you want to achieve through that plan. It doesn’t need to be a new product feature or user experience enhancement; you can also use an action plan to improve security, reduce tech debt for your product, etc.

Use data metrics to measure project success and give it reasonable timelines . The more specific and data-driven you can get with your goals, the better. 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.

action plan ideas for business

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action plan ideas for business

Basically, you break down the project into smaller, more manageable chunks of work. Then, you organize these into groups and create dependency and communication links between the groups. 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.

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.

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 on the product you’re building.

Consider how your product will impact existing customers, other products, teams, revenue streams, etc. within your company.

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

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

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.

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 on how customers will perceive and use your product.

Releasing a new product feature can be nerve-wracking. Having a release checklist to go with your action plan can be helpful.

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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 for 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 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:

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 on 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)!

LogRocket generates product insights that lead to meaningful action

Get your teams on the same page — try LogRocket today.

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Action Plan Templates: What, Why, How and Examples

By Joe Weller | May 25, 2016 (updated July 28, 2022)

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We've compiled free action plan templates for project managers, businesses, strategists, and other teams and individuals.  We've included editable templates with example copy to help you get started breaking down your strategy into actionable steps to meet your goals.

Included on this page, you’ll find many helpful action plan templates, such as  business action plan template , project action plan template , work action plan template , a  corrective action plan template , and a strategic action plan template .  Also, get a tips for how to use action plan templates .

Simple Action Plan Template

Action Plan Template

Download a Sample Simple Action Plan Template for

Excel | Microsoft Word |  Smartsheet

Download a Blank Simple Action Plan Template for

Excel | Microsoft Word | Smartsheet

This action plan template provides sections for four goals, and more can be added. The goals are then broken down into action steps that can be assigned a priority and completion status for tracking progress. Starting and ending dates can be added for each action, and a column for notes is also included. This template would work well for project management, event planning, business goals and more.

For additional action plan templates that empower you to plan, monitor, and successfully complete your objectives, see this article with more Excel action plan templates, and this article for more Microsoft Word action plan templates.

We've also provided pre-built plan of action templates in Smartsheet, a collaborative, real-time work execution platform that empowers you to better plan, manage, and report on project initiatives.

See how Smartsheet can help you be more effective

action plan ideas for business

Watch the demo to see how you can more effectively manage your team, projects, and processes with real-time work management in Smartsheet.

Watch a free demo

Action Item Template for Excel

action item template

Download Action Item Template

Excel | Smartsheet

This free template focuses on action items, which are listed in the first column with additional space provided for detailed descriptions of each item. The timeline for each item is tracked with a starting date, due date and completion date. Other information for each action item includes priority, responsible party and status. This is a simple yet detailed template with extra room included for notes.

Business Action Plan Template

business action plan

Download a Sample Business Action Plan Template for 

Download a Blank Business Action Plan Template for

This action plan template can be used as a supporting tool to reach the goals in a business or marketing plan. The goal is clearly stated at the top of the template followed by action steps below. This template provides sections to record necessary resources, potential challenges and final results. The final result of an action item could simply be a successful completion, or new steps may have been identified in the process. An action plan may have to be adaptive in order to reach business goals.

Check out this comprehensive article on mutual action plan (MAP) templates.  Accurately and adequately documenting the MAP process can help you maximize all the benefits between buyers and sellers during the buying process.

Project Action Plan Template for Word

project action plan

Download a Sample Project Action Plan Template for

Excel |  WORD  | Google Docs | Google Sheets |  Smartsheet

Download a Blank Business Action Plan Template for 

Excel | Microsoft Word | Google Docs | Google Sheets | Smartsheet

Keep your project on schedule and evaluate its progress with this project action plan template. The template breaks down goals into separate sections along with their associated action steps. The timeline, expected outcome, ownership and evaluation methodology can be recorded for each action step. Save the project template as a PDF and print for easy sharing with a team.

Team Action Plan Template for Word

team action plan

Download Team Action Plan Template

WORD  | Smartsheet

This team action plan template includes spaces for listing team members and tracking attendance at more than one planning session. The template includes the basic ingredients for creating a successful action plan, and a simple layout facilitates group process. Having a clear goal and objective stated at the top will help team members stay focused as they work together to create a plan of action.

Work Action Plan Template

work plan

Download a Work Action Plan Template

Excel | Microsoft

This is a detailed work plan template to help ensure success in your improvement efforts. The steps of the work plan are clearly outlined along with important data. What resources are available or needed? Where are there points of resistance that need to be dealt with? What is your communications plan for each step? Including all of these factors in your action plan will help implementation go smoothly.

For resources and templates on marketing action plans specifically create easy-to-follow, actionable steps for your marketing goals, see our article on marketing action plan templates.

Corrective Action Plan Template for Word

corrective action plan

Download Corrective Action Plan Template

Excel | Microsoft Word

A corrective action plan aims to solve a specific problem or change a situation so that goals can be met. This corrective action plan template provides a simple layout with plenty of room for detail. Both the problem and desired outcome can be defined at the top, and the action plan includes important information such as stakeholders, constraints and metrics. This template can be easily adapted to a wide range of corrective plans.

Employee Action Plan Template for Word

employee action plan

Download Employee Action Plan Template

This template works well for an employee improvement action plan and as a personal development plan (PDP).  Sections are provided for listing supervisors and support team members assigned to help the employee develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience for growth.   The template is also formatted with multiple steps, so actions can be broken down into a manageable sequence. This template offers a straight-forward way for employees to work toward completing a personal development plan.

You can also optimize individuals' or teams' project and performance success rate by reading this article on performance improvement plan (PIP) templates.

Sales Action Plan Template for Word

Sales Action Plan Template

Download Sales Action Plan Template

This sales plan template includes room for reviewing current and previous revenue, market and competitor analysis, sales goals, and a plan of action. Having all of this information in one template can help ensure you are addressing the right issues and setting achievable sales goals. The template can of course be edited to include whatever information is pertinent to your business.

School Action Plan Template for Word

school action plan

Download School Action Plan Template

This action plan template was designed with school improvement in mind. It allows you to state a long-term goal, outline different approaches to reaching that goal, and create an action plan based on your chosen strategy. You can identify the budget, materials and time needed for each action step as well as the timeline for its completion and evidence of success. Tracking the success of each action step will help ensure that your school improvement efforts lead to your long-term goals.

Creating an Effective Action Plan

One of the benefits of using an action plan template is that the formatting is taken care of - you can simply edit the template to suit your needs. As you will see in the free templates listed above, multiple layouts are possible for an action plan. But regardless of the structure or content of your plan, here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin the planning process.

All of the templates above are printable, customizable and free to download. They are designed for Microsoft Excel or Word and can be saved in PDF format. Choose the template that best meets your needs and begin creating your action plan.

Build a Real-Time Action Plan with Smartsheet for Project Management

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Additional Resources

Strategic planning

Free Strategic Planning Templates

Choose from 9 free strategic plan templates in Microsoft Excel and Word formats.

Jan 31, 2023

Project management

The Top Project Plan Templates

Discover an easier, more collaborative way to create project plans.

May 17, 2023

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

How to Write an Action Plan (Example Included)

ProjectManager

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 ideas for business

Get your free

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.

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.

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:

Action Plan Example

We’ve been talking a lot about an action plan, but let’s take a look at one. 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

Action Plan Sample

For our action plan example and action plan sample, we used our free action plan template for Excel. Download this action plan sample for free from our site. There are also dozens of other free project management templates for Excel and Word that can help you with every phase of your project.

action plan sample

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

ProjectManager’s real-time action plan dashboards sync with all its project management tools so you can check the status of your action plan at any time. You can check on your team members’ progress to see who’s over or underallocated, check labor costs and track whether your team is on schedule.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-time

ProjectManager gives you all the tools you need to create and implement a successful action plan. Regardless of the type of action plan that you need to create, our award-winning project management software makes it easy to do so. Get started with a free 30-day trial today. 

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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.

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.

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:

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 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.

Business Action Plan: How to Create a Plan to Achieve Your Goals

Published by lindsay phillips on september 17, 2019 september 17, 2019.

Business Action Plan | Start Something Awesome

Are you a creative visionary or entrepreneur trying to put together a business action plan for the first time? Do you have a million thoughts racing through your head and need a way to organize it into a cohesive plan of action?

The Business Action Plan is a useful tool for organizing what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and when it will be completed. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of your strategic planning is if you don’t have a good action plan, because this is where the “rubber meets the road.” Without an action plan, it’s likely that you’ll waste a lot of time on things that don’t matter or skip important activities entirely.

Don’t believe me? Some experts suggest that one minute spent planning can save up to 10-12 minutes when you go to execute on your plan.  Having a business action plan sets you up for success.

This post will walk you through:

By the time you finish this post, you’ll be ready to download my free Action Plan Template and create your own business action plan–so you’ll know what needs to be done when and by whom to achieve your goals!

action plan ideas for business

What is a Business Action Plan?

An action plan is the final piece of the Strategy Pyramid . It’s also known as the “what” of your plan, or “what you’re going to do.” The action plan is a detailed plan outlining the specific actions that need to be completed to reach your goals.

Creating an action plan has several benefits:

Your business action plan should be tied directly to the goals you’ve set yourself, providing the details to achieve the strategies you identified. After all, as anyone who’s ever given up on a New Year’s Resolution can tell you, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Business Action Plan | Start Something Awesome

How to Plan Something You’ve Never Done Before

Creating an action plan requires a unique mix of brainstorming, attention to detail, practicality, and comfort with guesswork:

This final point is probably most important for first-time entrepreneurs or creative visionaries.

Why? The Western culture tends to prize information and knowledge above all else, so we often feel as though we must have all the information about a specific activity in order to put together a plan to achieve it. This “need to know” can be paralyzing if we start to think about how much we don’t know about a specific topic when we first start out a new venture.

What Not To Do

Have you ever decided to research how to do something and then fallen down a YouTube hole watching videos of other people explaining how to do that task? You blink and a couple of hours have magically passed? (Of course, we all have.)

Watching instructional videos give us the feeling that we’re increasing our knowledge of and ability to perform a task, but did you know that research actually suggests otherwise ? Too much research without actually trying to do something increases our artificially increases our confidence without making us any more capable of performing the task.

Keep this in mind when planning something you’ve never done before. Do just enough research that you know WHAT you need to do, but not specifically how to do it.

Example: Creating a Website for the First Time

For example, if you’ve never started a website before, then you may feel as though you need to learn how to do it before you put together a plan to do so–and there’s so much out there to read! You may find yourself spending weeks learning all of the cool things you could do on various hosting platforms without ever actually getting started.

In the end, you’ll be no further along and will actually feel worse because you’ve spent so much time on the project and still don’t have a plan for success!

As tempting as it is to fall into YouTube and stay there, my advice instead would be to put together an action plan that allows for discovery as you move through development. In the case of launching your first website, this could include the following tasks:

In this case, you could have your website stood up in 3-6 weeks. You would have specific tasks to focus on during each week of your action plan, helping you stay focused on what you need to research or do to complete the specific task at hand.

Preparing to Create Your Action Plan

The amount of time it will take to create your action plan will vary depending on how big of a creative vision you’re planning, how many people are involved, and how detailed you make your tasks.  If you’re part of a partnership or team, all members MUST take part in this, in part so they can have input on the plan and also so they can help you identify any dependencies in their areas of expertise.

Before you create your action plan,

You should also ask all team members to come to this planning session with an idea of their upcoming schedule.

Creating a Business Action Plan

While creating an action plan can be overwhelming to a newbie, it’s easiest to complete it by breaking it into five separate steps:

Steps to Create a Business Action Plan

I like to get my whole team together to map out the above using Post It Notes. Write each task on a sticky note and stick it to the wall. Once you think you have an idea of most things that need to be done, reorder the notes depending on your sequencing and dependencies. Write the name of the person who will complete the task on each sticky as well as the effort / duration estimates for each.

Once you’ve completed the sticky note exercise, you can drop your action plan into a spreadsheet. Every step or task detailed in the action plan should include:

You may need to update your original goals in order to make them more realistic–and that’s okay! Strategic planning should be an iterative process . That’s why we use the Strategy Pyramid to avoid diving into the deep details of the plan before getting the big picture view. If you went the other way around, you’d spend all your time updating your detailed plan every time your vision changed!

Tips for Creating Your Action Plan

Get the Free Downloadable Action Plan Template!

Need a jump start on your action plan? Download my free Action Plan Template to get started today!

Did you try some of the tips in this post and find them helpful? Have a question about creating your action plan? Leave me a comment and let me know! – LP

Business Action Plan | Start Something Awesome

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Have a Business Idea? Here's How To Put It into Action. Here are nine steps you need to take to turn your business idea into a reality.

By Chris Kille • May 19, 2023

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've just had a wonderful idea for a startup company. It's been spinning around in your head for months now, and you just know that you have something special on your hands. Your thinking is, "If only I could make it work" or "If only someone would give me the money to get it off the ground!"

Well, guess what? No one's going to hand you a sack of cash. But the good news is that you don't need anyone's money if you can't find anyone to help fund your business idea. Here are the steps you need to take to put your business idea into action :

1. Validate your idea

The best way to validate your business idea is by asking people for their thoughts on it. Don't ask for money or investment. Ask them for specific feedback about certain aspects of your business. For example, if you're opening a new restaurant, ask them what kind of food they like eating at restaurants and what restaurants they like going to most often.

You'll get better results if you focus on one specific part of your business at a time rather than asking them if they'd use your entire product or service — it allows them to give more in-depth answers without feeling overwhelmed by everything else in your pitch!

Related: 5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

2. Write a business plan and business model

Writing down your ideas and plans not only helps you clarify what you want to do, but it also allows you to make sure there are no holes in your plan. Here's what you should include:

A description of your business, including its mission statement and goals

A description of the target market for your product or service

A description of the competition in your industry

A description of how customers will find out about your product or service

How much funding is needed for startup costs and ongoing expenses

3. Talk to your potential customers

In order to put your business idea into action, you have to talk to your potential customers. That's right — it all starts with a conversation.

When creating a new product or service, you can't assume that your customers' needs will align with yours, because they might not. You need to speak directly to potential customers and ask them what they want and how much they'd be willing to pay for it.

4. Develop a prototype

If you have a great idea for a product or service but want to know if people will buy it before you invest time and money into making it, you need to create a prototype . A prototype is a working model of your idea that allows you to see if it works, what needs to be reworked and how you might improve it. This can take many forms — from an Excel sheet or Google Sheets document with all the features you want in your product to a fully-functional website that mimics the final product.

5. Test it out and prove the concept

It's time to test.

Test your business idea in a small way. For instance, if you want to be a freelance writer, write up a few sample articles and offer them free to some clients. If you plan on starting a food truck business, make one or two dishes and sell them at one or two events (or even in your kitchen). You can also use tools like Google Analytics or SurveyMonkey to see which ideas are most popular with customers before you launch your business.

Related: How to Take Your Product From Idea to Reality

6. Understanding the legal implications and registering your business

A big part of creating a business is selecting one available business structure . In the United States, no single government agency is responsible for registering new businesses. Instead, many different types of entities can be formed for small businesses, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships and sole proprietorships. Each type of entity has its pros and cons and is suited to different types of companies. Once you have determined which type of entity is right for your business, you will be able to register it with the appropriate state or federal agency.

7. Financing and investors

While not all startups fail, those that do usually make one of two mistakes. First, they run out of money before they have developed a market for their product or service; second, they fail to persuade investors to give them money in exchange for equity. The best way to avoid these mistakes is to demonstrate that people will want your product or service enough to pay for it.

8. Build market awareness

Before starting your business idea, building awareness and credibility with potential customers is essential. Start by creating a website, social media profiles and a mailing list. Reach out to people who can help you get feedback on your idea; find out what business would best suit your skillset and where there is enough demand for it in your area. There are plenty of ways to get started without spending lots of money on marketing materials or advertising campaigns; just go through Neil Patel Blogs to start.

Related: 3 Strategies Entrepreneurs Can Incorporate to Build Brand Awareness

9. Hire employees

After you have completed the above steps to start a business, it's time to begin hiring employees . You should hire people for customer service, sales, marketing and accounting roles. I have found that the best way to hire employees, in the beginning, is by word of mouth. If someone has had a positive experience working with you, they will tell others about their experience and recommend that they apply for a job at your company.

If you have a brilliant business idea, you should work hard to put it into action — but here's one last tip: Before you start up your own business, make sure to research what the competition is all about. Is there anything already in place? Is there a product or service similar to yours? If so, look into the advertising and marketing strategies, and study the areas they've succeeded and failed. Don't steal their ideas, but rather be inspired by them, coming up with an idea of what works for you since every business is unique.

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Chief Executive Officer at Elevate Outsourcing

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action plan ideas for business

Small Business Trends

What is an action plan and how to create one (+example).

An action plan is an organized list of steps that you can take to reach a desired goal. Creating an action plan requires carefully considering resources, goals, and available time. With a well-structured action plan, you can reach your goals in the most efficient way possible. Here’s how to create an action plan – plus some helpful examples and time-saving tips to guide you during your strategic planning process.

Table of Contents

What is an Action Plan?

At one point or another, you may have a task that seems larger than life. But an action plan helps. An action plan is a comprehensive document outlining the steps needed to reach a goal. It can help you break down a large project into smaller, manageable tasks, keep you on track to success, and makes staying motivated in business easier during tough projects.

Do I Need an Action Plan?

Everyone who has set business goals should strive for effective business planning . Without an action plan, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by significant goals or lose sight of what perspectives should guide the decision-making process. Having an organized, realistic plan is how to stay motivated and stay focused on reaching success.

This is especially true for larger companies that are trying to navigate complex projects or launch multiple initiatives at the same time. An action plan can help them stay organized, track project progress, anticipate potential challenges, and simplify hiring .

Smaller businesses can also benefit from having an action plan, as it will provide a road map for scaling up operations in the future. An effective action plan should include strategies, resources, timelines, revenue targets , and measures of success. The business budget and cash flow should always be taken into account when creating an action plan.

action plan

Why Your Business Should Have an Action Plan

Every business should have an action plan as it’s essential to success and keeping your company on track. Here are five reasons your business needs one:

How to Write an Action Plan

A well-written action plan should provide guidance on how to achieve specific objectives, milestones, and goals. It is essential for any project or major task and can make the difference between success and failure. Let’s take a look at how to write an effective action plan with step-by-step instructions…

Step 1: Define the goal

action plan ideas for business

Defining project goals is a critical first step in the action-planning process. It involves establishing a clear and concise objective that guides the rest of the plan. A well-defined goal serves as a roadmap for the team, providing direction and focus for their efforts. It also helps to keep everyone aligned and on track, ensuring that the plan is executed effectively.

To define a goal effectively, it is important to consider several key factors. First, the goal should be specific, meaning that it should clearly state what is to be achieved. Second, it should be measurable, allowing for progress to be tracked and evaluated.

Third, it should be attainable, meaning that it should be realistic and achievable given the available resources and constraints. Fourth, the goal should be relevant and aligned with the organization’s overall strategy and goals. Finally, it should have a specific timeline, with deadlines established to ensure that the goal is achieved within a reasonable period of time.

Step 2: Project management – Identify the necessary actions

action plan ideas for business

This step outlines the specific tasks and activities that need to be performed in order to achieve the defined goal. It involves breaking down the goal into smaller, manageable steps and determining what needs to be done to accomplish each step. The actions should be specific, measurable, and have clear deliverables.

Project management plays a vital role in this step, as it helps to ensure that the necessary actions are planned and executed effectively. Project managers use a variety of tools and techniques to identify the necessary actions, such as creating a work breakdown structure, creating a project schedule, and identifying project dependencies.

They also work closely with the team to ensure that the necessary resources are available, that risks are identified and managed, and that progress is tracked and reported. Using project management best practices, the team can ensure that the necessary actions are performed efficiently and effectively and that the project remains on track and on schedule.

Step 3: Assign tasks and responsibilities to project managers and any person responsible

Assign tasks and responsibilities to project managers and any person responsible

Assigning tasks and responsibilities is a key step in the action planning process, as it ensures that all the tasks have a designated person responsible for their completion. This step involves identifying who will be responsible for each of the necessary actions identified in the previous step and assigning ownership for the delivery of each task. It is important to ensure that responsibilities are clearly defined and that each person understands their role and what is expected of them.

Project managers play a central role in assigning responsibilities, as they are responsible for ensuring that the right person is assigned to each task. They work closely with team members to understand their strengths, skills, and availability, and make assignments based on this information.

They may also assign backup resources to ensure the team can complete tasks even if the primary person responsible is unavailable. It is important to remember that assigning responsibilities is a collaborative process, and that team members should have the opportunity to provide input and feedback. Employ team building exercises to promote teamwork, and provide streamlined methods for employees to communicate with managers and decision makers.

Step 4: Determine the timeline and deadlines

action plan ideas for business

This step involves creating a timeline that outlines when each task should start and finish, and when milestones should be reached. The timeline should be based on the scope of the project, the availability of resources, and any other constraints. Use a calendar or gannt chart to outline the exact schedule for each step.

Having a clear timeline and deadlines helps to keep the project on track and ensures that tasks are completed in a timely manner. It also provides a clear visual representation of the project’s progress and helps to identify any potential issues or delays.

Deadlines also help to keep team members accountable and focused, as they know when they need to have their tasks completed. Deadlines also help to prioritize tasks and ensure that the most important work is completed first.

Step 5: Establish a system for monitoring progress

action plan ideas for business

Establishing a system for monitoring progress provides a way to track the project’s progress and identify any issues or challenges that may arise. This step involves implementing tools, processes, and metrics that can be used to measure the project’s progress against the timeline and goals. The system for monitoring progress should be simple, efficient, and easy to use.

Having a system for monitoring progress is important for several reasons. First, it provides real-time visibility into the project’s progress, allowing the project manager and team to quickly identify any issues or challenges that may arise.

Second, it helps to keep everyone accountable and focused, as team members know that their work will be monitored and evaluated. Third, it allows for continuous improvement, as the project manager can use the data and metrics collected to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed.

Step 6: Track progress, evaluate, and adjust as necessary

action plan ideas for business

Evaluating and adjusting as necessary is a critical step in the action planning process, as it provides a way to ensure that the project remains on track and is executed effectively.

This step involves regularly reviewing the actual progress of the project and making any necessary adjustments to the plan, timeline, and actions. The evaluation should be based on the system for monitoring progress that was established in a previous step.

Tracking progress is an important part of this step, as it provides the data and metrics needed to evaluate the project’s progress and identify any areas for improvement. The project manager should use the system for monitoring progress to track key metrics, such as task completion rates, timeline progress, and resource utilization. This information can then be used to assess the project’s progress against the goals and timeline and to identify any areas for improvement.

By evaluating and adjusting as necessary, the project manager can ensure that the project remains on track and is executed effectively. This helps to minimize disruptions and delays and ensures that the project stays aligned with the goals and objectives.

The process of evaluating and adjusting should be continuous, with regular evaluations and progress reviews. This allows the project manager to respond quickly to any changes or challenges that may arise, and to make any necessary adjustments to keep the project moving forward. For example, you may need to employ some time saving tips or delegate to get back on schedule. Alternatively, you may need to try some new call to action examples to more effectively impact customer behavior to meet your goals.

Plan of Action Example (Template)

action plan ideas for business

A well-structured action plan helps to keep the project on track and on schedule providing a clear path to success. Here’s an action plan template example you can use to inspire you for your own projects:

I. Define the goal:

A. Objective: Launch a new product line

B. SMART Goal: To launch a new product line in 6 months, generating $500,000 in revenue within the first year.

II. Identify necessary actions:

A. Conduct market research to determine the target audience and demand

B. Develop product prototypes and conduct testing

C. Create marketing materials and promotional campaigns

D. Set up the supply chain and logistics

E. Launch product through digital and physical channels

III. Assign responsibilities:

A. Market research: Marketing team

B. Product development: R&D team

C. Marketing plan , materials, and campaigns: Marketing team

D. Supply chain and logistics: Operations team

E. Product launch: Marketing and Operations teams

IV. Determine timeline and deadlines:

A. Market research: Month 1-2

B. Product development: Month 2-4

C. Marketing materials and campaigns: Month 4-5

D. Supply chain and logistics: Month 5-6

E. Product launch: Month 6

V. Establish a system for monitoring progress:

A. Key metrics: Revenue, market share, customer satisfaction

B. Tools: Project management software, weekly progress meetings

C. Progress review meetings: Every 2 weeks

VI. Evaluate and adjust as necessary:

A. Regularly review revenue and customer satisfaction data

B. Adjust marketing strategy and promotions as necessary

C. Monitor supply chain and logistics, and make adjustments as needed

D. Evaluate timeline and deadlines, and adjust as necessary to ensure a timely product launch.

Tips for Building a Fantastic Action Plan

Building an action plan is the first step to reaching your business goals. Here are five tips for creating a fantastic action plan:

Action Plan Vs To-Do List

Action plans and to-do lists may seem similar at first glance, but they are two different tools that serve specific purposes. An action plan is an organized approach to achieving a goal. It helps you break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable pieces and outlines the steps you need to take in order to reach your objectives.

A to-do list is a tool used to keep track of day-to-day tasks or items that need attention. It’s typically used as a checklist for getting things done in a certain timeframe. While both can be helpful when it comes to staying organized and productive, action plans offer a more comprehensive approach to reaching longer-term goals.

Action Plan Vs Project Plan

An action plan and a project plan are both tools used to help maintain organization and productivity when working toward a specific goal. Action plans focus on smaller tasks that need to be completed and prioritize them in an organized list.

Project plans are more comprehensive, providing an overview of all the steps required for completing a particular project. They usually include timelines, deadlines, resources needed, and other specifics. While action plans can help define the daily tasks necessary for completing a project, they should ultimately be formulated as part of the larger project plan.

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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:

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.

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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Related topics, creating a business action plan .

Multiethnic business people discussing charts and graphs showing the results of their successful teamwork. Mature business woman showing presentation to casual colleagues in modern office during night meeting. Group of creatives analyzing market trends.

Published: November 22, 2022

A detailed action plan for a business is important for its success and growth. Learn the process of creating a business action plan with these simple steps. 

Many people don’t like planning. But in business, your action plan is the key to focusing on the right information in the right order – much like the combination to a safe – and it helps measure progress toward your goals. 

Here's how you should use an action plan to accelerate growth and increase your revenues and income. 

Make sure you know who your ideal customer is, because it’s often not who you think it is, or who you are currently selling to. 

How to Create an Action Plan for Business Growth

1. create a revenue plan..

Identify your sources of revenues, the product or services that you offer, how many you plan on selling, and the price you will charge. This will let you know if it’s possible to achieve your financial goals. 

2. Map your gap.

This is the distance from where you are to where you want to be. This includes your financial, non-financial and personal goals – revenues, profits, volume of sales, number of customers, etc. It’s a snapshot for you to decide if it’s the journey you want to take, or change. 

3. Know your customer.

Make sure you know who your ideal customer is, because it’s often not who you think it is, or who you are currently selling to. Knowing the profile of your customer will help you save time and money when it comes to acquiring them. This is the foundation for every business. 

4. Document how your prospects/customers think and behave.

Specifically, you should think about why customers decide to purchase  – which is the key to making the sale. Every decision starts with a desire created by internal emotion or external influence. If you follow the way they think and act, then you can place your product or service right in front of them at the point of decision. 

5. Create a unique positioning in your market.

In a world of clutter, what gets heard is a simple message. Identify the biggest problem in your marketplace and then tell people how you solve that problem, and say it in less than one minute. 

6. Know what sets you apart.

Write down the biggest benefit that you offer your customers (a benefit that your competition doesn't offer). It doesn’t have to be a coherent statement, it just has to have impact. 

7. Take action.

This is what is missing from the book The Secret , which talks about using The Law of Attraction to bring abundance into your life. You cannot attract abundance without taking action. Affirmations, visualizations, and meditation all work together when you add action to the formula. 

8. Success starts with the belief that it’s possible.

Your current belief system may not be helping you achieve your goals. Old paradigms (beliefs) are the number one reason for holding us back from achieving what’s possible. 

9. Determine which distribution channels you will use for your business.

A distribution channel is simply the place where the transaction takes place between you and your customer – otherwise known as the point of sale. The seven distribution channels to choose from are: retail, online, direct sales, events, mail order, phone sales, or agents. 

10. Select the right strategies.

These should get people to the point of sale identified in step No. 4, and there are about 130 strategies and tactics to choose from (i.e., advertising, direct mail, copywriting, telemarketing, internet marketing, etc.). 

11. Create a 90-day sales and marketing schedule.

This will help you plan the strategies, tactics, timing , and who will be responsible for implementation. Once you get your thoughts on paper, you can feel less overwhelmed that you now have some direction to follow or action items to delegate. 

These 11 steps are not intended to represent a complete guide to creating a detailed action plan – they are intended to help you get started. Now you have something to measure against and you can review things periodically to see if you are on track. Ask yourself every day if you are on track or if something needs to be adjusted. 

A version of this article was originally published on April 19, 2011

Photo: Getty Images

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10 Free Action Plan Templates and Examples in ClickUp, Excel, and Word

Content Partnership Specialist

May 11, 2023

Blueprint, action plan, roadmap— tomato, to-mah-to! 🍅

Whether you’re pursuing a professional goal , developing a product, or building a house, you always start with a detailed plan to guide your next steps.

But it’s a little easier said than done. 👀

Powerful project management software is the key to creating and overseeing comprehensive action plans. And choosing the right action plan template for your software is the key to saving time on this step-by-step process while making sure you cover all the bases! 🔑

Even simple projects and goals require organized action plans, and action plan templates provide the perfect framework to help you turn these plans into a reality! While there are tons of templates at your disposal, they each carry a unique set of features and value depending on the size of your team, project, or goal.

Instead of combing through pages and pages of search results, start here, with 10 of the best action plan templates for ClickUp , Excel, and Word. You can access each template directly from this blog, and did mention they’re all completely free? 💸

What is an Action Plan Template?

What features make for a good action plan template, 1. clickup action plan template, 2. clickup corrective action plan template, 3. clickup employee engagement action plan template, 4. clickup cybersecurity action plan template, 5. clickup smart action plan template, 6. clickup daily action plan template, 7. clickup action priority matrix whiteboard template, 8. clickup management action plan template, 9. microsoft word action plan template, 10. excel action plan template.

Your action plan is a detailed list of items that must happen in order to complete a project or reach a goal. You can make an action plan for virtually anything —and you probably already have!

Think of your action plan as a thorough list of every task included in a workflow or steps in a process. But what makes your action plan different than a simple to-do list is the amount of organization, information, and detail involved.

Your plan justifies the who, what, where, and when of your project and shows how each related task ties back to those ideas. This helps project managers streamline workflows and ensures that every action item is absolutely necessary.

Action plan templates take the “set up” out of setting up your roadmap. Your template may come in the form of a pre-built flowchart, list, document, or table where you can essentially plug and play your project’s information in the proper areas to guide your next steps in the process.

They’re excellent resources to have on hand for fleshing-out fresh ideas, during employee performance reviews when you’re planning professional growth, and so much more. Plus, action plan templates can be customized to more specific use cases and are designed to help you think more proactively and strategically about building processes .

What are the best features to look for in your next action plan template? In a nutshell, there’s a lot to keep in mind.

An action plan template helps you stay on top of your workflows and be more strategic about how you approach them. And since projects vary in complexity, industry, scope, and timelines, no two action plan templates will look or function the same. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re looking for the template that best suits your needs, rather than the one that’s just doing the most.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to these five qualities:

And that’s just to name a few! Your team or project might require a few other more specific features, but starting with these five will guarantee a powerful and useful business action plan template .

10 of the Best Free Action Plan Templates

Now that you’ve got the essentials down, it’s time to set your search in motion! Luckily, project management is kind of our thing. 🤓

We’ve done our homework to bring you 10 of the best project action plan templates for ClickUp, Excel, Word, and more. And the best part? You can download them directly from this blog without even spending a dime. 💰

ClickUp Action Plan Template

Taking the time to create a plan with actionable steps can provide invaluable structure for simple to complex projects!

The ClickUp Action Plan Template sets the stage to review action plans daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly on a Whiteboard. This process will help make goal-setting easier by providing a simple way to structure the action items, determine deadlines and resources, and track progress toward your objectives. 

If this is your first time using a digital whiteboard, no worries! The Getting Started guide inside this template will walk you through how to set up your canvas. 🎨

ClickUp Corrective Action Plan Template

A Corrective Action Plan (CAP) is a structured action plan outlining the steps needed to address problems and improve the performance of a role, process, or system.

With the ClickUp Corrective Action Plan Template , it’s easy to consolidate data and ideas so everything is in one place. The main elements of a CAP in this Whiteboard project action plan template are organized to shorten the time it takes from identifying a mistake to implementing a solution:

ClickUp Employee Engagement Action Plan Template

The ClickUp Employee Engagement Action Plan Template is a Doc packed with examples to increase employee satisfaction and engagement. It offers step-by-step instructions to get the most out of your template to measure progress on common HR goals :

And that’s just the beginning! You can assign tasks directly in the Doc or connect your employee action plan template to tasks and share it with stakeholders. This reduces the number of feedback channels and shortens the time it takes to approve a plan or assign tasks to team members. 

Pro tip : Use subpages to add training programs, reward systems, and other related activities to keep all your work in one place!

ClickUp Cybersecurity Action Plan Template

A Cybersecurity Action Plan is a written framework outlining the steps and resources required to improve security posture. TechTarget defines security posture as “an organization’s overall cybersecurity strength and how well it can predict, prevent and respond to ever-changing cyber threats.” 

A comprehensive cybersecurity action plan starts with an assessment of an organization’s current security posture —analyzing existing policies, procedures, systems, and infrastructure in order to identify any gaps or areas of vulnerability.

Based on this assessment, actionable steps can be taken to improve technical and non-technical aspects of security like implementing new technologies, processes, and practices. ⚙️

The ClickUp Cybersecurity Action Plan Template is a beautifully-designed Doc for any Security team to quickly customize for audience impact and understanding. As you go through the action plan process, you can collaborate with your team in real-time or async! 

Use this free template to easily protect your ClickUp Docs with the Privacy and Edit controls to prevent unwanted changes to the content of your Pages.

ClickUp SMART Action Plan Template

The ClickUp SMART Action Plan Template helps project managers break down complex tasks into more manageable steps while considering the barriers of time, resources, and expertise. 

The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. This template organizes each SMART goal category while providing helpful prompts for success! After you’ve filled out each category, highlight your text to create actionable tasks and assign a completion date.

From there, you can navigate between your Doc and tasks easily without opening more browser tabs. 

Need to tweak or make mental notes on your action plan? There’s a section in this template just for that—the Follow Through section. Jot down the review date, key accomplishments, improvement areas, and support needed to keep track of all your work! 

ClickUp Daily Action Plan Template

The ClickUp Daily Action Plan Template is a worthy rival to your coveted to-do list on your company-branded notepad. 

A daily action plan is a blueprint for organizing and prioritizing tasks throughout the day. It helps us to stay focused and productive, while also helping us to better manage our time. The process involves creating a list of tasks that need to be accomplished each day, assigning a time frame for each task, and most importantly, committing to completing them within that time frame. ⏳

Individuals or teams will benefit from its organized layout and connected view of organizational goals. To begin, open the Getting Started guide within the project action plan template to make it your own so you can use it every day! 

Discover more to-do list templates !

ClickUp Action Priority Matrix Whiteboard Template

An Action Priority Matrix is a visualization tool to help anyone assess and rank tasks based on how much effort is required and how important completing the task is for achieving the overall goal. 

The action priority matrix typically includes four sections: action item/task, importance level, timeline, and completion status. This allows teams to easily rank action items by importance so they can make sure important tasks are completed first and within the allotted time frame. 

Tasks with the potential to improve performance or mitigate risks should be given higher priority than those with no direct impact. Similarly, tasks with short-term deadlines should be treated as a higher priority than long-term goals in an action plan’s timeline.

The ClickUp Action Priority Matrix Whiteboard Template is perfect for project managers looking to optimize their action plans in order to improve performance over time. Teams can more easily identify which tasks need attention first while tracking progress along the way. The Getting Started guide in this template includes formatting tips and examples to get your Whiteboard action plan ready!

Check out more matrix templates and matrix structure examples .

ClickUp Management Action Plan Template

This ClickUp Management Action Plan Template is built to handle any project, but it’s especially helpful for larger or more complex situations. It provides a structured framework to explain your approaches while tracking progress!

The Doc comes with helpful tips and is organized by the following sections:

Microsoft Word Business Action Plan Template

This detailed work plan template in Microsoft Word gives you an organized space to document a clear planning process. To track progress on your team action plan template, consider using a project management platform (like ClickUp) so you can bridge the necessary resources!

Excel Team Action Plan Template

If you’re looking for free action plan templates in Microsoft Excel , we recommend this one! It comes with all the essential categories ( Action Item, Rank, Priority, Owner, Assigned, Due, Done, Status , and Notes ) to develop an effective action plan. 

Listing team members might become an administrative burden as roles change or new hires come on board. (Try the No. 6 ClickUp Daily Action Plan Template to avoid this issue!) 

You can also use this as a sales action plan template to keep track of budgets, progression, and sales employees. Using this as a sales action plan template could be a faster way to track your team’s work.

Explore other ClickUp action plan templates:

Turn Plans Into Action With a Template by ClickUp

Any of these 10 templates will start your project planning off on the right foot. But while they all share similarities, a select few stand out for their ease of use, customization abilities, power, and functionality…

Templates by ClickUp. 🙌🏼

ClickUp is more than your average project management tool—it’s the ultimate productivity platform and the only software powerful enough to centralize your work across apps into one collaborative hub.

In fact, ClickUp Whiteboards , Docs, and its 15+ unique project views are just a few of the reasons why teams across industries rely on ClickUp, and how it makes your action plans more valuable from start to finish.

Access the templates linked above and hundreds more from ClickUp’s Template Library , and tons of rich project management features across every pricing plan . Plus, ClickUp integrates with more than 1,000 other work tools to streamline processes even further.

Sign up for ClickUp today and watch your action plans come to life. 🏆

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30+ Business Action Plan Examples in PDF | MS Word | Pages | Google Docs

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1. Definition

2. benefits, 3. activities, 1. studying the business, 2. avoiding waste, 3. understanding the field, 4. learning from mistakes, 5. defining the business, 1. make it s.m.a.r.t..

2. How to obtain your goal

3. the necessary resources, 4. who are accountable, 5. monitoring progress.

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11+ research plan examplees, 10+ wedding plan examples, 10+ advertising plan examples, 10+ individual development plan examples & samples, 10+ financial plan examples, 9+ learning plan examples & samples, 7+ job plan examples, 7+ annual plan examples, 39+ project plan examples, related articles.

Comment: It's time for companies and investors to spell out plans to turn climate goals into action

Climate activists rally against expansion of Line 3 tar sands pipeline during protest outside Wells Fargo branch in Washington

May 17 - This year, two simple words that pack a punch are going mainstream among the business community: transition plans.

Transition plans are the blueprints organisations are adopting to show how they are averting the material financial risks of the climate crisis. And they are key to harnessing the massive economic opportunities in adopting responsible investment and business practices.

We and our global partners are working with investors and companies across the economy to provide them with the guidance they need to develop and roll out robust and transparent climate transition plans. More than 4,000 companies (out of 18,600), disclosed to CDP last year that they had a climate transition plan.

But what we see is that most need to make those plans as mission-critical as their other strategic business and investment plans, on a par with driving sales, recruiting talent and investing in research and development. They need to clearly spell out the bold actions they are taking ‒ and when ‒ to make their transition plans a reality.

Developing plans for climate transitions are no different than finalising plans for any corporate goals. Goals are merely words without tangible, specific and accountable targets to deliver them.

Our latest benchmark of the 50 highest-emitting companies in the food industry found that while companies are making strides in setting and raising the ambition of their disclosure and targets, there’s a lot of room for progress on transition planning.

An increasing number of food companies are reporting on Scope 3 emissions in their supply chains

In just two years, the number of food companies that include Scope 3 emissions from their supply chains, which make of the bulk of their emissions, in their targets jumped to well over half of the 50 focus companies. This is great progress, but we also need targeted climate actions.

And while 27 of these companies, including Aramark, General Mills, and Mondelez, have disclosed elements of a transition plan for hitting those goals, none of their plans has all four elements ‒ growth strategy, procurement, operations and customer engagement ‒ needed to address climate change throughout their businesses.

The pressure from investors for plans that will deliver on climate action is ramping up dramatically. A push for transition plans is this proxy season’s dominant trend, according to a recent study we did of 2023 shareholder resolutions. Investors filed 58 resolutions seeking climate transition plans, with a sharp focus on banks. These plans help shareholders better understand the progress investors and companies are making toward their goals and hold them accountable.

In April, a significant number of shareholders ‒ 31.1% at Wells Fargo, 30% Goldman Sachs, and 28.5% at Bank of America ‒ voted in support of resolutions for detailed climate transition action plans, with similar proposals in the wings for JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley this month. A study by BlackRock shows that 75% of proposals that garnered at least 30% of votes resulted in companies taking action. Of the six largest U.S. banks, only Citi has a transition plan that meets Ceres’ criteria for comprehensiveness.

This lack of a robust plan that drives real change matters. An analysis we did this spring of these banks’ targets for reducing emissions from oil and gas investments and lending in their portfolios found that none were on track to meet global climate goals, though Citi and Bank of America, especially, have made some encouraging progress.

General Mills Inc's Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios are displayed on the shelf of a Whole Foods Market store in Venice

All transition plans share basic elements. They outline the quantifiable, concrete actions a company or financial firm plans to take in the next one to five years to address climate risks and the shift to a clean economy throughout its operations, portfolio, and supply chains.

They may include plans to invest in renewable energy projects or develop more sustainable products, or actions to advocate for the climate-smart or just-transition policies that help them achieve their goals. Straightforward guidance exists for any company to get started, in addition to tailored support for different sectors.

The Investor Agenda, for instance, has published Investor Climate Action Plans (ICAPs) Expectations Ladder and Guidance for how investors can implement transition plans, along with case studies that highlight how major financial institutions, including Allianz, California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), and New York State Common Retirement Fund use that framework. Ceres Food Emissions 50 initiative released similar guidance for food sector companies, while Ceres Ambition 2030 initiative is rolling out guidance for banking, another high-emitting sector.

It is through General Mills’ transition plan, for instance, that the food company is working with farmers in its supply chain to adopt practices for regenerative agriculture on 1 million acres of farmland.

With the world rapidly globally shifting to a clean economy, and the window for averting the worst risks to corporate supply chains, water resources, and biodiversity closing, more investors and companies have set climate goals than ever before.

Every investor and company knows that delivering on any goal takes a plan. It’s basic business sense, and it’s why 2023 will be the year of turning transition plans into action.

action plan ideas for business

Mindy Lubber is CEO and president of the sustainability nonprofit Ceres, and a founding member of the global steering committee for Climate Action 100+ and The Investor Agenda. From 1998 to 2001, she served as the deputy and then regional administrator for EPA Region 1 (New England). Mindy was the recipient of the Champions of the Earth award, the United Nations highest environmental honor, for her leadership on climate change and sustainability. She has been named one of Barron’s 100 most influential women in U.S. finance for the last three years.

WestJet pay debate sets scene for Air Canada's pilots

More from Reuters

Sustainability.

A top-level meeting in Paris next month will lay out a $100 billion plan to drive more money into climate and development finance in poorer countries by providing currency guarantees to investors, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Environmental activists protest as TotalEnergies holds its annual shareholders meeting in Paris

Action plans

Action plans are a list of five things we recommend you do to help with a particular business challenge.

Interact with each step in the plan by setting the dates for when you will complete the action and assign ownership of the action to one of your team if applicable.

Then make use of the helpful tools and templates provided to help with certain steps and take note of the success metric we suggest tracking.

Listed below are a wide variety of action plans which can be filtered by theme .

Reducing turnover of contract or freelance workers

If you rely on contractors or freelancers, it’s worth investing time in retention – there are big productivity gains to be had.

Onboarding new employees remotely

Onboarding is critical to getting an employee up and running as quickly as possible – and it’s doubly important when they’re working remotely.

Implementing processes to support employees’ mental health

A subject as important as mental health requires a carefully thought out approach – small business leaders need to develop processes to support their teams.

Creating an inclusive work environment

While an inclusive workplace won’t happen overnight, there are steps you can take today to demonstrate that you understand the value of inclusivity.

Assess whether your technology will support business growth

As your business grows, it pays to consolidate tools. Get the right tech solutions and they will streamline operations and enable growth.

Develop your digital skills as a leader

Identify what digital skills are important in your leadership role and find the best learning method, from online resources to training and events.

Identifying which digital tasks should be outsourced

Avoid sapping internal time and resources by identifying which digital tasks could be outsourced.

Decide which digital sales channels will work best for your business

With so many digital sales channels available to businesses, find out how to select the ones that serve your needs.

Calculating the ROI from implementing new technology

The first data point you get about a new technology is often the cost of a tool – and that can be intimidating. What’s less clear is the return on that investment (ROI).

Preparing for a new investment in technology

Once you have made a decision on using a new technology, the next step is to plan how it will be implemented.

Make a decision about which technology is right for your business

Once you’ve identified the business needs new technology could support, it’s time to research and choose something that’s right for your organisation.

Define which business needs digital tools could support

There’s a wealth of digital tools available to support your business needs, but how do you know what’s right for your business before you invest?

Choose a business process that could be automated

Identify the parts of your business where automation could be beneficial and understand where the human touch is still necessary.

Streamline your sales process

Your sales process is the engine that powers the business. Maintenance and improvements are essential to making sure it runs effectively.

Using data to inform decision making at your business

Using data to inform decision making at your business is a no-brainer – the biggest challenge is getting into the habit of doing so.

Collecting data to improve your business

Collecting the right data helps to support decision making and facilitate accurate forecasts. But all too often, businesses end up with quantity over quality.

Set a research question to shape data collection

Embarking on data collection without a clear plan can leave you with swathes of information that’s irrelevant or unusable. Setting a research question first gives the process direction.

Leverage your online presence to grow your customer base

Once you’ve built an online presence, the next step is to leverage it to grow your customer base.

action plan ideas for business

Full Transparency

Verizon’s Responsible Marketing Action Plan raises the bar again

The company continues to outperform industry benchmarks across the marketing ecosystem, from economic investment and equity to distribution and creative supply chain.

NEW YORK  - Continuing its history of industry-leading responsible business practices, Verizon has released the 2022 results of its Responsible Marketing Action Plan, which was established to impact the marketing ecosystem both inside and outside of the company and drive societal change. The plan builds on Verizon’s long-term commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by addressing four key drivers of the marketing value chain, both within Verizon and with its partners:

Increasing diversity and equity in both representation and economic investment across the creative supply chain

Continuing to build an inclusive environment for talent that reflects the communities we serve

Strengthening practices aimed at fighting bias and stereotypes in all advertising, content, and media

Maintaining the gold standard of brand safety, with content policies that prohibit Verizon creative from being placed or run in broadcast and digital environments where hateful, denigrating, discriminatory and other types of harmful content appear.

For the second year in a row, Verizon exceeded all of the goals laid out by the Responsible Marketing Action Plan and is maintaining accountability by transparently reporting its results. The company is also adding new targets to continue expanding the plan’s reach, demonstrating how brands can leverage their investments and ability to shape cultural norms to drive lasting change.

“This progress is part of Verizon’s company-wide commitment to responsible business practices. As one of the most influential advertisers in the country, we embrace our leadership role in driving action around equity,” said Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon. “Verizon and our partners have delivered strong, consistent results and will continue to push for greater accountability. I encourage other brands to join us in this effort. To build momentum, you have to take the first step. Together, we have the power to make an even bigger impact.”

Verizon put a stake in the ground in 2016 with a call for agency partners to take action to support diversity on the teams that support the Verizon business. Since then, Verizon’s DE&I Agency Council, made up of senior agency team leads from Interpublic Group (IPG), Publicis, and WPP, has been meeting quarterly to read out on progress and ensure accountability and transparency. These discussions have led to a number of ongoing initiatives to address shared challenges, including the creation of adfellows , a first-of-its-kind paid fellowship designed to break through the diversity and inclusion gap in advertising and marketing by providing the next generation of diverse entry-level talent with meaningful job experience and career acceleration opportunities. This was later followed by the creation of Ad Disruptors, a program aimed at leadership development and retention of mid-level diverse talent.

In 2017, Verizon unveiled the first of its kind “ Responsible Marketing Policy ” that set a gold standard for brand safety and remains one of the strongest criteria in digital advertising. 

Then in 2021, Verizon further built on this commitment with the creation of the Responsible Marketing Action Plan, and each year the company has adjusted targets and added new parameters to continue broadening the plan’s holistic impact.

As evidence of the plan’s ability to drive meaningful progress, Verizon’s combined marketing and external agency staff is represented by 40.8% people of color, which is a 1.5 percent point increase since 2021. The ethnic diversity on Verizon’s marketing team is almost on par with the most recent US Census report, and is significantly above the Association of National Advertisers’ average for marketing organizations at 32.3% according to the 2022 Association of National Advertisers Diversity Report for the Marketing and Advertising Industry . Verizon also exceeded the 2022 telecommunications industry benchmark for SeeHer’s Gender Equity Measure (GEM) by seven points.

The 2022 Responsible Marketing Action Plan results include:

Increase diversity and equity in both representation and economic investment across the creative supply chain:

Verizon set a goal to spend 40% of its video, experiential, and print production budget with diverse companies in 2022. The company exceeded that goal across all formats:

Video: Verizon spent 45.7% with diverse-owned video production companies; additionally, 44.4% of video productions used diverse directors.

Experiential: The company spent 42.6% with diverse-owned experiential production companies.

Print: The company spent 41.5% with diverse-owned print production companies.

Build an inclusive work environment for talent that reflects the communities we serve:

Verizon made continued progress in its efforts to build diverse teams and foster an inclusive work environment for talent. By the end of 2022:

People of color made up 40.8% of the combined Verizon marketing and agency team, an increase from 39.3% at year-end 2021. The 2022 Association of National Advertisers Diversity Report for the Marketing and Advertising Industry set the industry benchmark at 32.3%.

Women made up 56.9% of the combined Verizon marketing and agency teams, an increase from 51.7% at year-end 2021.

Fight bias in advertising, content and media:

As part of Verizon’s ongoing efforts to keep its creative free from racism, bias, and stereotypes, 100% of Verizon’s advertising goes through gender and cultural bias testing. Using SeeHer’s Gender Equity Measure (GEM), a research methodology that quantifies gender bias, Verizon achieved a GEM score of 99 for the first half of 2022 – seven points above the telecom benchmark.

Verizon also uses Diversity Inclusion & Equity Measure (DIEM), a proprietary tool that vets the representation of race, gender, ethnicity and identity. DIEM provides a two-pronged approach to identifying cultural impact in advertising by providing pre-market measurements that optimize ads prior to launch, as well as in-market measurements that track progress over time, in an effort to ensure consumers are portrayed authentically and respectfully.

In addition, all Verizon marketers and agency partners are required to complete agency anti-racism and bias training to help identify bias throughout the creative process from research to production. Verizon will continue to require this training bi-annually.

Responsible Content Policies:

Through Verizon’s continued participation with the World Federation of Advertisers’ Global Alliance for Responsible Media, the company received a 99.1% rating within the Integral Ad Science Brand Safety measure that counts the percentage of media placements that do not violate the brand safety threshold. Verizon aims to achieve a 99% rating or higher annually.

New Initiatives for 2023:

Increase sustainable production: 100% of Verizon’s video production and experiential events will execute a waste management diversion plan with the goal of increasing asset reuse (donation, recycling, upcycling) and creating a more sustainable approach to video production.

Support a diverse range of brand ambassadors and influencers: Verizon seeks to have a diverse range of influencers, creators and ambassadors who reflect the communities the company serves, and will begin tracking these relationships to assess diversity.

To help other companies implement the responsible marketing practices outlined in their plan, Verizon created the Responsible Marketing Action Blueprint , a set of free online tools that packages together the learnings from Verizon’s work around DE&I, to help other marketers identify where they can make an impact and take measurable actions to get there.

Verizon’s commitment to responsible marketing is part of Citizen Verizon : the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement that leverages technology, innovation, and people to help solve some of the biggest challenges impacting underrepresented populations, through the pillars of climate protection, human prosperity, and digital inclusion.

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What is An Action Plan?

An action plan is a list of sequential activities and well-defined steps that outline the most important priorities to focus on so you can get your small business off the ground. Starting a business as an entrepreneur is an exciting process. The idea of working for yourself can be very appealing and motivating, but moments of self-doubt may also arise. Having an action plan in place will help you move past those moments of self-doubt that threaten to stall you. As you meet one objective on your plan at a time, you will gain the necessary traction you’ll need to launch your startup successfully.

Creating an action plan is the next crucial step to take after building your business plan. An action plan is a list of sequential activities and well-defined steps that outline the most important priorities to focus on so you can get your business off the ground.

In essence, your action plan will be the wheels on the wagon that move your business forward and the road map that shows you where to head every step of the way.

A well-formed plan of action will set your business startup on course for many days into your first fiscal year. It will provide you with clarity to better prioritize and allocate your time and other resources. Essentially, your actions plan will become your guidebook, setting you back on track on those days you might feel overwhelmed with competing priorities.

As a business owner, you’ll likely face many tasks that are out of your area of expertise. Your action plan will help you identify potential obstacles and items you might want to delegate or outsource. For instance, it may be more beneficial to hire a graphic artist to create your logo than to spend valuable time trying to create one yourself.

A comprehensive plan will also ensure all the bases are covered. It’s a good idea to purchase a good business-planning software tool that has action-planning functionality built in. An online template of this nature will typically include the most important categories you’ll need to address. Built-in prompts will help you understand and choose key actions that will serve your particular business best.

To start creating your next action plan, begin by listing all the possible outcomes you’d like to achieve. For instance, if you’re about to build a landscaping business, your list might include buying tools and a truck, obtaining a business telephone, staying on top of payroll and accounting functions, and having plenty of good-paying customers. You might also want to rent storage or office space one day, buy a trailer and backhoe, and participate in local home and garden shows.

Once you’ve created your dream list, prioritize it. Be sure to assign priority to the actions that are legally necessary and those that will provide the quickest payback to the business. Schedule the fun and frivolous ideas for a later time.

In the landscaping business scenario, it might be fun to shop for a shiny new truck, trailer and backhoe, but buying a used truck and renting a trailer and backhoe as needed will probably ensure better payback. You might gain new business contacts through home and garden shows, but initially your participation will cost you time and money. Keeping overhead low by working from a home office instead of renting space will leave you with better cash flow. Schedule these other “wish list” items for later time.

Once your priorities are set, you can then add the achievable action steps you’ll need to take to make your objectives a reality.

Again, in the landscaping business scenario, the first step toward buying a truck and tools may be to visit a bank to gain financing for them. Your first step in assuring good bookkeeping and payroll might be to hire an outside agency that does that type of work.

Of course, you’ll need to tailor your road map to your particular business. A typical plan of action follows this process:

Once you’ve slotted each of your objectives into a spreadsheet or online project plan tool, you can plug the assigned dates into your business calendar.

Your action plan will be something to refer to regularly. You can also use it to track your results and compare them against your master business plan.

Ingredients

There are several categories business startups have in common. A few of them include:

As you can see, there are many details to cover. Using a cloud-based action planning tool, built by professionals who know the art of building startups, will help you cover all the important aspects.

An often-surprising benefit of having an action plan in place is the confidence it gives the entrepreneur starting his business. Having targets in place and knowing where cash will be required helps the entrepreneur make better decisions along the way.

In the excitement of starting a business, it’s tempting to start doling out cash on non-necessities. Most successful business owners will tell you, though, it’s important to commit to a solid plan and stay on course, adjusting as needed, if you want your business to remain viable.

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We caught up with 22 Republican senators to see how they think the US can prevent mass shootings. Some expressed support for 'red-flag' laws and improving school security, but many offered nothing.

In the wake of yet another mass shooting — this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where at least 19 children and two adults were killed on Tuesday — Americans are left wondering whether any legislative action will be taken to address the scourge of mass shootings.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated on Wednesday that rather than take a symbolic vote on gun safety legislation, he would allow space for bipartisan negotiations to take place. He has taken steps to tee up votes on two House-passed background checks bills that likely won't get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. But those votes might not occur until after the holiday weekend.

"I know this is a slim prospect. Very slim. All too slim. We've been burnt so many times before," said Schumer in a floor speech. "They can work with us to craft legislation that would prevent needless loss of life. It is their choice."

Insider spent Wednesday morning alongside other reporters at the Capitol asking Republican senators — 22 in total — whether they believed anything could be done legislatively to prevent mass shootings like the one that occurred in Uvalde. While some expressed support for encouraging the implementation of so-called "red flag" laws, which allow police to take away a potentially dangerous person's weapons, and strengthening the country's background checks system, others had little to offer in the way of solutions.

"I don't think we're going to get anything done without offering prayers," said Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, before suggesting to Insider that he doesn't believe any legislation could've prevented the shooting.

"The question is: What caused this evil in the first place?" he said. "If someone wants to violate a law, they're going to violate a law."

Several other Republicans refused to comment on the matter at all, including Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, Jim Risch of Idaho, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.

"I'm not going to address that," Fischer told Insider.

But others have sounded a more hopeful note, and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut — who has made gun violence legislation one of the central causes of his career — said he has begun talking to his GOP colleagues about bipartisan solutions, despite acknowledging the possibility that talks go nowhere .

Any gun legislation would need to receive 60 votes due to the Senate's filibuster rules. Earlier this year, Democrats refused to nix the procedural hurdle over voting rights and have not revisited the issue since. Sen. Joe Manchin, a staunch defender of the filibuster, made clear on Tuesday night that his support for the filibuster remains unchanged — meaning that the filibuster will remain as well.

"I understand the prospects for getting 60 votes are slim — they are always slim," Murphy told reporters, while adding just a small bit of optimism. "There is a non-zero chance that we could get a compromise."

"There may be some breakthroughs here," GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Insider. 

A possible opening on red flag laws

As initial news reports became grimmer by the hour on Tuesday night, Murphy took to the Senate floor to beg his colleagues to do something.

"Find a path forward here," said Murphy. "Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely."

—CSPAN (@cspan) May 24, 2022

On Wednesday, a handful of Senate Republicans expressed an openness to having a discussion about potential legislation. 

Sen. Susan Collins, a more moderate Republican whose vote Democrats would need to pass anything, said that Murphy called her on Wednesday to talk about red flag laws.

"That is the kind of law that could have made a difference, since according to press reports, if they are correct, he suffered from mental illness," Collins said of the Uvalde shooter. 

Other senators are dusting off old legislation. Sen Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who often tries to broker bipartisan deals, touted previous legislation that he worked on with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut , telling Insider that "maybe that's something we could do."

Sen. Rick Scott, who as governor in 2018 signed a red flag law into law after one of the deadliest school shootings in American history in Parkland, Florida, said that he would be open to a similar law at the federal level. He emphasized that traditionally states have led the discussion, not Congress.

Sen. Mitt Romney echoed Scott's focus on state-level efforts, telling reporters it would "be wise" for other states to follow suit. Romney said that discussions in Congress are "very preliminary."

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have red flag laws that give authorities the power to temporarily confiscate a person's firearm if they are a threat to themselves or others. Gun rights activists and some Republicans have expressed opposition to such laws on the basis that they deprive an individual of their gun rights. Some also question whether there is enough due process before local police can take possession of a firearm. 

It is clear even this early that some Republicans do not support such an effort.

Sen. Josh Hawley, who is rumored to harbor presidential ambitions, sounded skeptical that a nationwide red flag law was the right way to move forward. The Missouri Republican said the laws "mean a lot of things to a lot of different people" and said that they are best handled by states. "A federal law? I don't know about that," he told reporters.

And as the elevator door was closing to whisk him away for votes, Sen. John Barrasso, a member of GOP leadership, gave a blunt reply when asked if he or his colleagues would support such a bill.

"Not this Republican," he said.

'Good has to overcome evil'

Meanwhile, a sizable contingent of Republican senators had little to offer in the way of solutions to prevent mass shootings when asked by Insider and other reporters.

"I'm still trying to gather information on this particular one," Sen. Todd Young of Indiana told Insider when asked if anything could be done at the federal level. "We need to do what we can to ensure that when we send our kids off to school, they're in a safe and welcoming environment."

But when pressed about whether he had specific ideas, Young stared at the floor as he boarded an elevator up to the Senate chamber.

"Not that we've come up with," Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina told Insider when asked the same question. "I'm open to any discussions that anybody wants to have."

"If you want a solution, you have to know the circumstances, and law enforcement has not provided any of that to us yet," Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa told Insider. 

"We will see what comes of the discussions," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told reporters.

Others echoed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who focused on the fact that the mass shooting in Uvalde took place in a school and has called for stationing "armed law enforcement" on school campuses. 

"I'm going to focus on school security, which I know works," Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, a former school board member, told reporters. "We had it in our own school system when I was on that board."

"If a teacher wants to carry a firearm and has the, you know, background to do that, I certainly think that's something that they should be permitted to do," Hawley told reporters.

On Wednesday, Scott of Florida and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sought to pass a bill via unanimous consent that would've created a federal clearinghouse for best practices for school safety. Schumer blocked it, contending that "hardening schools would've done nothing to prevent this shooting."

And yet another cohort of senators indicated they simply don't believe that legislation will solve the issue of mass shootings, or made vague calls for action on other, non-gun-related issues.

"We need to have some kind of mental health program for people in this country. It starts there," Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama told reporters. "Good has to overcome evil."

"There is not a piece of legislation that is going to solve that," Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma told reporters. "Saying, 'I'm going to do something' isn't sufficient. It isn't sufficient for parents, for everybody in the conversation, 

"We have serious cultural issues and we've got serious issues, obviously, with a child, 18-years-old now," said Lankford, referring to the shooter. "There's zero chance that legislation is going to fix that."

action plan ideas for business

Exclusive-India's Govt Plans Action Against Google After Antitrust Breaches

Exclusive-India's Govt Plans Action Against Google After Antitrust Breaches

Reuters

Indian Deputy Minister for Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in New Delhi, India, May 19, 2023. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis Reuters

By Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's government plans to take action against Alphabet Inc's Google after an antitrust watchdog last year found the group to have abused its market position by indulging in anti-competitive practices, a top IT minister told Reuters.

India's antitrust body in October fined Google $275 million in two cases, which involved abusing its dominant position in the Android operating system market, and pushing developers to use its in-app payment system.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the federal deputy minister for information technology, told Reuters in an interview at the IT ministry in New Delhi that such findings are "serious" and cause "deep concern" to India's federal government, which will take its own action against Google.

"The ministry has to take action," Chandrasekhar said. "We have thought through it. You will see it in the coming weeks. Certainly it's not something that we will leave and push under the carpet."

The minister declined to specify what sort of policy or regulatory action the government could take.

Chandrasekhar, who is one of the highest-ranking officials in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration, said the issue "is worrisome, not just for us, it's worrisome for the entire digital ecosystem in India".

Google did not respond to a request for comment on the minister's remarks. Asked if he had held talks with Google on the issue, Chandrasekhar said "there is no need for any discussion. There is a finding of a court."

While the payments case is still under appeal, an Indian tribunal in March said in response to a legal challenge that the Competition Commission of India's findings of Google's anti-competitive conduct in the Android market were correct.

The comments by the minister come against a backdrop of growing tension between Indian companies and Google.

India's competition watchdog has begun another inquiry into Google after Tinder owner Match Group and many startups alleged that a new service fee system Google uses for in-app payments breaches the competition commission's October decision.

Google has previously said the service fee supports investments in the Google Play app store and the Android mobile operating system, ensuring it can distribute it for free.

Following the Android antitrust order in India, Google was also forced make sweeping changes to how it markets its mobile operating system in the country, even though it warned "no other jurisdiction has ever asked for such far-reaching changes".

About 97% of India's 620 million smartphones run on Android, and the company counts India as a critical growth market.

Other companies such as Apple and Amazon also face cases against them for potential anti-competitive practices in India. Chandrasekhar said the government was keen to take steps to ensure India's digital economy is protected.

"We don’t want it to be growth in a way that distorts consumer choice or free competition," he said.

"We will certainly be looking into what the government needs to do to prevent anybody, including but not limited to Google, from abusing their market power or market dominance."

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters .

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Appeals Court Pauses Ruling That Threatened Free Preventive Health Care

Emily Baumgaertner

By Emily Baumgaertner

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A federal appeals court on Monday temporarily blocked a lower court decision that overturned the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all health plans fully cover certain preventive health services.

The move by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans will put on hold a decision from March that had threatened insurance coverage for recommended services like depression screenings for teenagers and drugs that prevent transmission of H.I.V. The Justice Department had appealed the decision, and the appeals court’s stay will stand while the appeals process plays out.

A bottle of Truvada PrEP HIV prevention medication is inspected at a pharmacy in New York.

Why It Matters: Preventive health services are popular.

The ruling earlier this spring overturned one of the most popular requirements of the Affordable Care Act by taking away the financial barriers to a range of preventive services. It had taken effect immediately nationwide and had the potential to affect roughly 150 million Americans enrolled in private health insurance, either through employer-sponsored plans or through the Obamacare marketplaces.

While the case is under review, full coverage for preventive services will be legally required.

Background: The Affordable Care Act under fire — again.

Earlier this year, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that insurers did not have to cover any of the services that had been recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force since 2010. His reasoning: The task force is not appointed by Congress and therefore did not have the constitutional authority to decide what services a health insurer must cover.

That ruling had built upon previous ones: In 2018, Judge O’Connor had ruled that the A.C.A. was unconstitutional (though the Supreme Court later overturned that decision). Last September , he ruled that the A.C.A.’s mandate that employers cover a daily H.I.V. prevention pill called PrEP violated a company’s religious freedoms.

What’s Next: A march toward the Supreme Court.

For now, employers will still be required to provide no-cost coverage for preventive services. But the Fifth Circuit is conservative-leaning, and the case could eventually end up at the Supreme Court as yet another challenge to the Obamacare health law.

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Latest Market News

Marketplace Asia

Japan’s long-suffering stock market is back. This boom may have ‘staying power’

April 2023, Mazda museum, Hiroshima, Japan (Marketplace Asia ep.23)

Japan’s stock market has waited more than three decades for its moment in the sun.

The country’s major stock indexes are trading at highs not seen since 1990, when its infamous asset bubble of the late 1980s was just deflating.

So far this year, the benchmark Topix has jumped almost 14%, and the Nikkei 225 (N225) , which tracks Japan’s blue-chip companies, has leapt nearly 17%. The indexes have outpaced the United States’ S&P 500 and Europe’s Stoxx 600 benchmark indexes, which have both risen 8% in that time.

“In my 33 years in the market, things do seem probably more positive now than they’ve seemed at any time in that whole period,” said Jeffrey Atherton, an investment manager at Man GLG, a subsidiary of hedge fund giant Man Group. “It’s not based on hype.”

Investors say Japanese stocks have benefited from relatively cheap valuations, a long-awaited return of inflation , and a weakening currency.

An endorsement by Warren Buffett probably didn’t hurt either — the legendary investor told Japanese publication Nikkei in April that his flagship investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, planned to increase its holdings in five Japanese companies.

Foreign investors bought $15.6 billion worth of Japanese stocks last month, the highest monthly amount since October 2017, according to the Japan Exchange Group.

For years, investors have hoped modest rallies in Japanese stocks would translate into a sustained market revival for the world’s third-largest economy, which is also home to a raft of household-name electronics companies and carmakers, like Sony (SNE) and Toyota (TM) . But they never did.

But this time, investors tell CNN, really is different.

Change from the top

Japanese stocks have received their biggest bump from an overhaul of corporate governance rules that has compelled company executives to improve shareholder returns. JPMorgan analysts said last week that the “structural change” taking root in Japan could give the current market rally “staying power.”

Earlier this year, the Tokyo Stock Exchange began telling companies to pay more attention to their stock price. It urged them to come up with plans to boost their price-to-book (PTB) ratios — that is, the firm’s share price relative to its net assets.

Half of companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange trade at a PTB ratio of less than one, according to Man Group data from February, compared with just 3% of firms on the S&P 500.

A low ratio means the stock is a bargain. The problem is that at least half of Japan’s companies have been stuck trading at a ratio of below one for most of the past 20 years. As a result, there has been little incentive for investors to buy the stocks if they don’t believe they can sell them at a higher price later on.

An electronic board showing the closing numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange

“There’s long been a lot of undervalued companies in Japan,” Atherton noted. “We take it for granted in the US and Europe that corporate management is trying to maximize the share price, but that’s by no means been the case in Japan for the last 30-odd years.”

That may now be changing.

Companies tracked by the Nikkei index paid out record dividends in 2022. At the same time, a spate of share buybacks has helped swell stock prices.

Japanese firms bought back 9.7 trillion Japanese yen ($7 billion) worth of their own stock in the fiscal year ending March 2022, according to Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Societe Generale. That’s the most since he started tracking the data 24 years ago.

For the 2023 fiscal year, share buybacks have totaled around 8.6 trillion Japanese yen ($6.2 billion). That number could rise because a few companies are still to report their earnings.

Inflation is back

A recent spate of encouraging economic data in Japan has lifted investors’ spirits, while a weakening currency has made the country’s exports more competitive.

What central banks in other major economies have been fighting over the past year — soaring inflation — has been welcomed by Japan’s policymakers.

Following decades of deflation, the country’s consumer prices rose in January at the fastest annual pace in 41 years . Inflation has since slowed down a little, but remains well above the Bank of Japan’s 2% target.

Still, the central bank has kept its main interest rate below zero while its counterparts in the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union have jacked up borrowing costs at a record clip to keep prices in check.

“[Japan] is an economy where policymakers have been beating on the inflation beehive for decades, hoping the bees would come out,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer and founding partner of Chicago-based Cresset Capital Management, told CNN. “And now it appears, finally, they’re getting the inflation.”

That difference in monetary policies has driven down the value of the Japanese yen against most other major currencies. The currency has fallen almost 9% from a year ago to trade at 139 to the US dollar — “table-poundingly cheap,” according to Ablin. A weaker currency makes the country’s exports relatively cheaper on the world market, a particular boon for a major exporting nation like Japan.

Japan’s improving economic fortunes have also made its companies more attractive.

Gross domestic product grew 0.4% in the first quarter this year compared with the last three months of 2022, beating analysts’ expectations of a 0.1% bump.

Activity in Japan’s private sector also grew in May at the fastest pace since late 2013, according to preliminary PMI data from au Jibun Bank, a Japanese lender, compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Challenges ahead

Japan’s economy still faces some enormous hurdles. It has a rapidly aging population — almost one-third of its people are over the age of 65 — and a shrinking labor force, not helped by the government’s restrictive stance on immigration.

More immediately, the country’s market rally could stall if the US Federal Reserve decides to put a brake on its rate hike cycle, says Eddie Cheng, head of international portfolio management at Allspring Global Investments.

“We have already seen US kind of getting into the peak of their hiking cycle,” he said, adding that if central banks began to cut rates, the value of their currencies would fall, meaning the Japanese yen would be “no longer cheap” by comparison.

— Laura He contributed reporting.

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