Most businesses start out with a dream and an inspiration, but that is where it ends. Even the most innovative businesses can wind up closing their doors because a good action plan and a focused timeline were not in place right from the beginning. There are many benefits to creating your action plan and online business timeline. When you have an action plan put into place and follow it regularly and continue to focus on your business timeline, things will run much more smoothly for your new business, your employees, and your customers.
You wouldn’t run a marathon without a proper plan, timeline and action plan so why would you run a business without one? You need to plan, prepare and come up with a timeline in which you want your goals to come to fruition. Making a timeline enables you to be held accountable and an action plan will help you take the necessary steps to get there.
Some people think that online businesses aren’t ‘real businesses’ so, therefore, think ‘why bother with creating your action plan and online business timeline?’ But if you don’t treat your online business like a real business it won’t grow like one.
Another post you might find helpful: How to Start a Website from Scratch
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Tips to Create a Powerful Action Plan
Streamline Your Path
If you have a dream and a vision – excellent. Now, you must have knowledge of where your business is heading down the line. It is important to focus on a streamlined path when you first start your business. Otherwise, you are likely to find that your business is “all over the place.” Be sure to be specific in where you expect your business to go in the first twelve months. Don’t be fluffy and say, “I want to be successful” what does success mean to you. How do you define success?
Success looks different for everyone. What you might define as success might not be someone else’s definition.
- Where you want to be in 12 months
- What steps do you need to take to get there?
- What resources do you need in order to achieve your goals?
- Are there any gaps in your knowledge? How are you going to fill those gaps?
Think about your end goal and work backwards.
For example, one of your end goals might be launching an ebook.
Now work back and think about when you will need to start marketing it, this will give you a date of when you need to have it finished. You can then work backwards again and give yourself a timeline of how long it is going to take to write. This will give you an idea of when you need to start writing it. Next, look further back and work out how long it will take you to plan your ebook.
Do this for each of your goals.
Put It in Writing
In the early stages of creating your business, it is important to create an action plan in writing. Without this piece of the puzzle, it can get messy quite quickly. Having an action plan in your head or verbalizing it with other team members is not nearly as effective as putting it down in writing.
- Put it somewhere where you will see it daily. On the fridge or on your wall by your desk. You will be constantly reminded of your plan. Unless you stay away from the fridge you will see it every day.
- Make your plan bright and colourful so it keeps you excited about your plan.
- Constantly reaffirm your goals to yourself. Make them feel real.
- Picture yourself achieving your goals. Write down what you will do when you have achieved them and how your life will look.
Measure Your Goals Consistently
Make sure to check up on your goals often. By measuring your goals, you consistently marry those goals against where you are at the moment. If your goals are not in alignment with where they should be, then it is time to re-evaluate.
Think about your goals on a regular basis.
- Schedule a time each week to measure your goals. Evaluate how you are tracking and re-evaluate if needed.
- At the beginning of each month set some time aside to schedule in your tasks that will help you achieve your goal for the month. Set daily tasks, weekly tasks and monthly tasks. During this time evaluate how you did the previous month – reschedule un-finished tasks.
Break Down Bigger Projects into More Manageable Ones
When you create your action plan, make certain to break down bigger projects into more manageable ones. In this way, you will be able to get the whole job done without it feeling overwhelming.
For each goal:
- Set step by step tasks that will help you reach your big picture goals.
- Focus on one task at a time so your energy is not being spilt. Try to do ONE big picture project at a time.
For me personally, a big picture goal can be overwhelming if you are just focusing on the whole. I like to break down my big picture goals into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks and focus on just one at a time. Forget the rest and just focus on that one small task. When that is done, move on to the next task.
Doing it this way can remove some of the overwhelm and make your big picture goal seem more achievable.
Your big picture goal could be to make $10,000 by the end of the year.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
This can seem like a big looming goal. How do you get here?
Instead of looking at just that big picture goal you need to break it down. How are you going to make $10,000 by the end of the year?
It could be a combination of digital products, an ecourse, an ebook and affiliate marketing. Break down that $10,000 and split it between your monetising goals. It doesn’t have to be an even split. You may want to make $5,000 from your course and $2,000 each from your ebook and affiliate marketing.
Next, work out how much you are going to sell your products for. You might price your e-course at $150 (random number out of my head). To get to the $5,000 you need to sell to 33 people. If you are doing that over a 4 month period, that’s less than 10 people a month. Which is less than 3 people a week. Doesn’t sound so scary now does it?
Repeat this for each of your products and really break it down.
In effect that $10,000 by the end of the year translates to: 10 people a month buying your course, 20 people buying your ebook and making $150 week with Affiliate Marketing. Which to me, sounds way less scary than “I want to make $10,000 by the end of the year”. You are making your goal seem more tangible and manageable.
Do not be afraid to delegate some of your action plans. If you try to do everything all on your own, chances are all those balls you are juggling will come tumbling down sooner rather than later.
Things you can delegate or hire out:
- Posting on social media
- Making pins Pinterest
- Scheduling pins for Pinterest
- Designing your logo
- Using stock photos instead of taking photos
If you don’t have the means to delegate or hire someone, separate your tasks into ‘Important – Urgent’, ‘Important – Not Urgent’ ‘Not Important – Urgent’ ‘Not Important – Not Urgent’. This will indicate which of your tasks to focus on first and which you can put on the backburner for a while.
Important – Urgent Tasks:
These are your most important tasks that should be at the top of your list.
Important – Not Urgent Tasks:
Can be put to the side for a while, make sure that you still schedule these in to be complete though
Not Important – Urgent Tasks:
These need to be scheduled but don’t have to be done straight away. They still need your attention
Not Important – Not Urgent Tasks:
Throw these in the bin. Seriously. If it isn’t important and isn’t urgent then you are wasting your time and energy on them. Sometimes you just have to be a little ruthless.
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Tips to Create an Online Business Timeline
Create a Timeline for Every Task
You may think it is not necessary to create a timeline for each and every task; however, a timeline is essential for success. Creating a timeline will help you to manage your time and your business.
We have discussed this further up by breaking up the tasks. When you break them up you need to have a deadline when you want it finished by.
This is your first step. After this do your backwards walking thing and work out when each step of your task will need to be completed by for you to reach your deadline.
Schedule every week some time to work on your task.
Keep It Real
A timeline should have a manageable date attached to each task. If you create a timeline goal too soon, then you may set yourself up for failure. By being realistic, you set yourself up for success.
This is just plain ole common sense. You realistically can’t have your e-course up and running and making 10’s of 10.000’s of dollars in the next two weeks.
Set achievable small goals that relate to your big picture goals. This way you are still working on your big picture goal but are still achieving smaller goals along the way which in turn will boost your motivation.
Differentiate Your Tasks
Make certain to differentiate your short-term tasks from your long-term tasks. For example, a short-term task would be to hire employees and a long-term task would be to improve your social media status.
Always be working on both goals but this allows you to put perspective and importance on each task you will need to complete to achieve your big picture goals.
Stick to Your Timeline No Matter What
You have to have integrity in this area. You need to stick with your timeline no matter what, as this is the only way to achieve success.
If you work alone (as I do) you don’t have anyone to keep you accountable but you. And that can be hard.
You need to come up with a way that you will be sticking to your timeline even if you have no-one to spur you along.
- Find an accountability partner
- Set small rewards for yourself each time you finish a task
- Announce your goals online to your readers so you have to stick to them
- Keep your goals in a place where you will see them every day
It is very easy to let a task go because other “stuff” gets in the way. Stay focused and stick to your timeline. Check your progress as you go along the way.
- Do close all your excess tabs when you are working on a task. Sometimes when we have lots of tabs open on the computer it can get distracting. I know I feel messy and unfocused if I even see lots of tabs.
- Do think about batching your tasks. Set a timer and work on ONE task until your timer goes off. Give yourself a short break or reward, set the timer and work on ONE task again – it could be the same task or a different one. As long as it is only ONE task.
- Do think about what are the most important tasks to work on and disregard any ‘Shiny Objects’. You don’t need to take 7 courses about Pinterest. This is just distracting you from the more important tasks at hand.
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Resources to help you in creating your action plan and online business timeline
- Evernote – this is a great FREE resource for keeping your notes on each of your devices. You can have a copy on your phone, tablet and laptop. Evernote will sync each device so you can have them all handy no matter what device you are using.
- Trello – another great FREE resource that helps you plan and keep track of your tasks and projects. Multiple people can work on the same project, keep everyone organised and on the same page.
- A Planner – a good ole fashioned write-it-down planner is always handy. Sometimes you just need to write things down on a tangible planner and see them in front of you in black and white (or pink, red, green depending on your pen colour).
Final Thoughts on Creating your Action Plan and Online Business Timeline
You need to be creating your action plan and online business timeline as one of the first things that you do when you start an online business. This will help you stay on track and keep those goals in mind.
You can successfully achieve your goals if you create an action plan and have a manageable online business timeline.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or want to ask a question,
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