90-day action plans are super-powerful!
Annual plans for your business are great and I absolutely think that you need a high-level annual plan.
But 90-day plans are where the magic happens.
The most productive times of my life have been from when I worked from consecutive 90-day plans.
If you are wondering “what is a 90-day action plan,” the answer is simple.
A 90-day action plan for your business has two distinguishing features.
- It covers the next 90-day period.
- It focuses on the actions that you will take to accomplish your goals.
Why are 90-day plans so powerful? I say this all the time:
90 days is short enough that you don’t lose focus, but it’s long enough that you can make significant progress towards your goals. It’s the perfect amount of time for a plan.
If you want to know more about why 90-day plans are so powerful, then I have a post on that topic. Click here to learn more about the power of the 90-day business plan.
Today’s post is going to walk you through exactly how to write your own 90-day action plan for your business.
Download your 90-day plan template
I have a free printable 90-day action planner that you can download below. Enter your name and email below to download your copy. Then grab a pen and let’s get to work.
Step 1: Review and reflect on the last 90 days
This is where you should start when you are creating your 90-day action plan. The very first thing that you want to do is review and reflect on the last 90 days.
If you don’t have a written plan from the previous 90 days, that’s okay. You can just think about what you’ve done.
What goals did you achieve?
Think about your goals from the last quarter.
- What goals did you achieve?
- What did you want to accomplish?
- What did you actually accomplish?
For example, one of my goals for the last 90 days was to write a new e-book and I did that. So that’s something that I would write in this section – finished book.
What activities, projects, products, etc. worked well for your business?
After you reflect on your goals, think about the activities, projects, and products that you worked on in the last quarter. Specifically, make note of what worked well in your business.
For example, I had two affiliate promotions that I would consider successful. So I would list those here and then I would add some notes about why I think they worked well.
That way I can refer back to these notes the next time I participate in an affiliate promotion. I can see what worked well with these successful promotions and then replicate what I did.
So I would note that as an activity that worked well for my business. And that will help me stay motivated to actually use my scorecard. Sometimes I don’t feel like it. But I know that it works. By writing it down in my 90-day review, I have documentation that it works and that I should keep using it.
What can you improve? What would you do differently?
You also want to consider what you can improve. And what you would do differently the next time.
Something that I tried in the last quarter that didn’t work well for me was creating a Gantt chart for my 90-day action plan.
A Gantt chart is a project management tool. I like the idea of it because it’s a visual method of keeping up with everything that you’re supposed to do and when you’re supposed to do it.
But it was too much. It was overwhelming. And eventually, I stopped even opening it up because I couldn’t keep up with it.
So that is a lesson learned that I would write in this section. Creating a Gantt chart didn’t work well for me because it was too cumbersome. I would note that here so that I know not to do that again.
Step 2: Review your annual goals & plans
Section two is where you review your annual goals and plans. The first thing you want to do here is enter your main goals for the year. This is something that you can copy over from quarter to quarter.
There’s a place to put your goal name, your annual goal, and where you are year to date. You’ll update the YTD actual column for each new 90-day plan.
Next, calculate your gap to goal. This simply means how much do you still have to do to accomplish this goal? The example goal is about growing your email list.
If your annual goal is to reach 5,000 names on your list and you’re starting off the year at 3,421, then that would be a gap of 1,579. That’s the number you are working to achieve over the course of the year.
You will fill in all of your main goals. The action planner has room for five main goals but you could print off more copies of the planner if you have more goals than that. However, I would encourage you to limit the number of goals you have so that you can focus on them.
Where do you want your business to be at the end of this 90-day period?
Next, think about “where do you want your business to be at the end of this 90-day period?”
Look at the annual goals you entered in the previous sections. Think about what you want to focus on in this quarter.
There’s a couple of different ways that you can do this and you may do it differently for different goals. You can break it out evenly over the course of the year. So you would divide your goal by four and work on it evenly each quarter. Or you could choose to set some dedicated 90-day goals for this period.
What goals will make the biggest difference in moving your business significantly forward?
The most important question to ask yourself when reviewing your goals is this:
What goals will make the biggest difference in moving my business significantly forward?
This question will help you keep your eyes on the prize.
There are a lot of things that you could do in your business. There may be a lot of things that you want to do – a lot of projects that you want to tackle. But what is going to make the biggest difference in moving your business forward?
Maybe you have a new product that you want to launch or a new product you want to create. Or if you have a service-based business, then maybe you need to sign three new clients this 90-day period.
Think about those revenue-generating goals that are really going to make a difference for your business. Make note of those goals in this section. That will help keep you focused on the highest, most important things that you could be spending your time on.
Step 3: Projects or initiatives
In section 3, you will decide on the projects that will help you meet your goals.
We talked about goals in the last section. This step is about the projects that you want to accomplish to help you achieve those goals.
For example, maybe one of your goals is to generate $30,000 in revenue. How are you going to do that?
Decide on three business objectives and one development objective.
Really limit yourself here because that is how you stay focused. If you try to work on more than three main projects, you are going to end up feeling scattered. You will feel like you didn’t get anything done because you’re going to constantly be working on things and never finishing anything.
If you limit yourself to three main business objectives, then you’re actually going to be able to get those done.
Your three main business objectives should tie back to your quarterly goals.
For example, we talked about the idea of having a goal of signing three new clients. In that case, your objective might be to generate a certain number of new leads. Or if a new product is one of your goals, then one of your objectives could be creating the product and another objective is launching that product.
Finally, you should select a development objective. Your development objective is what you want to learn or improve. We constantly need to be improving our skills and learning new things in order for our businesses to grow.
Is there a course that you want to take? Maybe there are some courses that you’ve already bought that you haven’t gone through yet. This would be a good way to work through that backlog.
Is there a new skill that you want to learn?
My development objective for Q1 2020 is to learn Photoshop. I have a course that I’m going to go through step by step and that’s how I’m going to learn Photoshop. That’s what I’m going to concentrate on from a learning standpoint and that is what goes in the development section of my 90-day action plan.
Step 4: Action Items
Step four is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you decide on the specific actions that you’re going to take to achieve your objectives. So this is where we’re getting into the action plan part of your 90-day plan.
Choose three to five action items for each one of those focused objectives that you came up with in step three. Be sure to include due dates.
For example, one of my objectives for the next quarter is to rebrand my business. So one of my action items is to create the new branding elements – things like the logo and the brand board, new business cards, that kind of thing. Under action items, I would enter “create branding elements.”
And then I would put in the due date of when I went to have that done.
Decide on three to five action items for each one of the focused business objectives that you created in section three.
You’ll also want to include some action items for your development objective.
Generally what I do for development objectives is break the action items down by month. Going back to the example of the Photoshop course that I’m going to take. I would put how many lessons I want to complete in January, how many lessons I want to complete in February, and how many lessons I want to complete in March.
When the 90 days are over
Once your plan is created, it’s time to get to work. Concentrate on completing the action items that support your business objectives.
Then, when this 90-day period is over, you’ll start again:
- Reflect and review on the last 90 days
- Review your annual goals & plan
- Decide on your next set of projects or initiatives
- Map out the action items that support your objectives
When you create and execute consecutive 90-day action plans in your business, you are building a system of accountability and consistent forward movement.
What’s next: create your 90-day action plan
That’s how you create your 90-day action plan for your business.
It’s not hard, but it does require some thought and decision-making about what you really want to tackle.
And I cannot stress this strongly enough. Limit yourself on how many objectives and how many action items you choose to focus on in a 90-day period. The more you limit what you focus on, the more you’re going to accomplish because you’re going to actually get things done.
And my challenge to you to create your own 90-day action plan. Download the FREE 90-day action planner below to get started.