How To Write A Small Business Action Plan In Under 2 Hours

Writing a business action plan to increase cash flow, profit and value of your business can be quick, easy and very effective.

Just follow this sample of a business action plan that works. This is the exact action plan that worked really well for me to grow my small business.

The Fast And Easy Way To Write A Business Action Plan

This is a really easy way to write an action plan to grow and develop your business. It’s very easily adapted to suit any small business.

I wrote a new business action plan to start every new financial year. Using my plan, I moved the business forward every year towards my ultimate goal. I’ll show you every step I took so that you too can build your business into a valuable asset that someone will want to buy.

To get started on your business action plan, you’ll need:

business action plan SWOT analysis

  •  Ideal / rough growth in sales numbers you want this year.
  •  Ideal / rough $$ profit you want to make this year.
  •  Current financial results: sales, expenses and profit.
  •  A quiet room to concentrate on your business action plan.
  •  A pre-prepared business action plan excel spreadsheet (available below)

To Make the Business Action Plan Process Easier You’ll Need:

  •  A objective / realistic supportive person
  •  Ideally one of you with experience in Excel or alternative. (it’ll work well  even with lined paper and a calculator)
  •  If you can, a projector (hire, borrow, beg)

Using the ‘business action plan’ excel spreadsheet, I worked through the planning process  in a quiet room with my Finance Manager.  As I thought about what was possible for each month, she entered those figures in Excel which we projected on to a wall.

After entering the sales figures that we thought reasonably achievable, we worked out and entered the corresponding ‘best estimate’ corresponding expenses.

Like me, you’ll be able to instantly see the monthly outcome (profit / loss). You might want to ‘tweak’ the figures in your action plan until they look reasonable and realistic. I did – continually!

The idea is to enter month by month until the whole year is complete. Then you’ll have the action plan to grow and develop your business for the next 12 months!

Let’s get started on the ‘business action plan’ spreadsheet:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”  Lao Tzu

PART 1. SALES  (also known as ‘revenue’ or ‘turnover’)

With your annual goal in mind, begin to complete the first month of the financial year:

Business Action Plan - Sales

Sales: Enter your ‘best estimate’ in $ sales. How many sales will you need to make in the first month?

Cost of Sales: Enter the $ figure that will be the direct cost of making the above sales (supply costs)?

Gross Profit: The total of your monthly sales less the direct costs.



Sample of a Business Plan - Expenses

This is where you list your ‘best estimate’ of all the expected costs for the month.

Use current expenses as a guide.

Add as many new lines as you need.

Use the ‘insert comment’ feature on any cell to record what is/isn’t included.






To get to your Net Profit:

Business Action Plan - Part 3 Profit / Loss

1.   Subtract your Total Expenses in part 2 from your Gross Profit in           part 1

2.   Net Profit is what’s left

3.   Track your net profit as a % of your total sales and benchmark           against your industry average

Complete your business action plan for each of the next 11 months. Make adjustments for any particular ‘abnormals’ that you foresee. For example:

  •  Holidays
  •  Seasonality
  •  Maternity / Paternity leave

Going through this exercise will super-focus your mind on what you want your business to achieve this year.  You’ll get a sense of:

  •  What is possible and what is not.
  •  What you’ll need to do every month.
  •  Where you’ll need to spend your time.

This will:

  •  Be your business development ‘blueprint’ for the year.
  •  Show you where your focus needs to be each month.
  •  Be your plan to move your business forward.
  •  Act as your guide to a successful year.
  •  Show you the path to achieve your business goals.

After completing the 12 months you should have a business action plan that looks similar to this (click to enlarge):

business action plan busget

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”  Ralph Marston

And to make things a little easier, you can download a ‘business action plan’ in Excel  (with equations included) or a PDF copy here:

Just going through this planning exercise really focuses the mind. It will help you crystallize your business goals for this year. “A Dream Written Down Becomes A Goal”  Greg Reid.

Next Step: Implement Your Business Action Plan

Implement it, work it and make it work for you.  It’s for you.  It is for you to get to where you want to be.

After that comes reviewing your plan.  That’s what makes your plan really powerful.

Your Business Action Plan To-Do List:

  1.  List your opportunities from the SWOT analysis (to provide context for  your estimates).
  2.  Write down your financial goals for the business for the next 12 months.
  3.  Find someone to work through the business development plan with you.
  4.  Schedule a time to create the plan – undisturbed!
  5.  Download the Excel Business Development Plan spreadsheet and get started following the process above!

Good luck!  Write to me in the comments section below to let me know your challenges and successes after completing your business action plan and I’ll get back to you promptly.

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About Jan Reeves

Jan has been involved in collections her whole career, most recently as the owner of a continually self-funded specialist credit and collections recruitment company.

Having sold that business, Jan has now turned her focus to sharing her successful business and collections strategies with other small business owners.

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