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

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

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

Download Excel template

What is an action plan?

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

Action plans include detailed information, such as:

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

What is an action plan template?

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

Screenshot of monday.com's action plan template

Free action plan templates

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

Try monday.com’s Action Plan Template:

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

Get the template

Download the free action plan template for Excel:

Why is an action plan template important?

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

Action plan templates ensure consistency

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

Action plan templates help you plan more effectively

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

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

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

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

Action plan templates should contain the following features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

A well-written action plan consists of seven components:

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

What are some examples of action plan templates?

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

Business action plan template

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

Example of a business action plan template

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

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

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

Personal development action plan template

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

Example of a personal development action plan

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

Corrective action plan template

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

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

monday.com’s Action Plan Template

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

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

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

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

Timeline view in the action plan template

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

Screenshot of the progress tracking column on monday.com

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

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

How to write an action plan step-by-step

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

1. Determine your goals

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

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

2. Break down the steps required to achieve each goal

What actions are necessary to get there?

In this example, that might include:

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

3. Determine task dependencies and priorities

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

4. Set milestones

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

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

5. Add deadlines

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

6. Identify the resources you need

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

7. Assign tasks to individuals

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

8. Agree on a plan to review progress

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

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

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

Customize our Action Plan Template to your needs today

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

FAQs about action plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Simple Business Plan Templates

By Joe Weller | April 2, 2020

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In this article, we’ve compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats.

On this page, you’ll find a one-page business plan template , a simple business plan for startups , a small-business plan template , a business plan outline , and more. We also include a business plan sample and the main components of a business plan to help get you started.

Simple Business Plan Template

Simple Business Plan Template

Download Simple Business Plan Template

This simple business plan template lays out each element of a traditional business plan to assist you as you build your own, and it provides space to add financing information for startups seeking funding. You can use and customize this simple business plan template to fit the needs for organizations of any size.

One-Page Business Plan Template

small business action plan template

Download One-Page Business Plan Template

Excel | Word | PDF  | Smartsheet

Use this one-page business plan to document your key ideas in an organized manner. The template can help you create a high-level view of your business plan, and it provides easy scannability for stakeholders. You can use this one-page plan as a reference to build a more detailed blueprint for your business. 

For additional single page plans, take a look at " One-Page Business Plan Templates with a Quick How-To Guide ."

Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Simple Fill In The Blank Business Plan Template

Download Simple Fill-in-the-Blank Business Plan Template

Use this fill-in-the-blank business plan template to guide you as you build your business plan. Each section comes pre-filled with sample content, with space to add customized verbiage relevant to your product or service.

For additional free, downloadable resources, visit " Free Fill-In-the-Blank Business Plan Templates ."

Simple Business Plan for Startup

Start-Up Business Plan Template

‌ Download Startup Business Plan Template — Word

This business plan template is designed with a startup business in mind and contains the essential elements needed to convey key product or service details to investors and stakeholders. Keep all your information organized with this template, which provides space to include an executive summary, a company overview, competitive analysis, a marketing strategy, financial data, and more. For additional resources, visit " Free Startup Business Plan Templates and Examples ."

Simple Small-Business Plan Template

Small Business Plan Template

Download Simple Small-Business Plan Template

This template walks you through each component of a small-business plan, including the company background, the introduction of the management team, market analysis, product or service offerings, a financial plan, and more. This template also comes with a built-in table of contents to keep your plan in order, and it can be customized to fit your requirements.

Lean Business Plan Template

Lean Business Plan Template

Download Lean Business Plan Template

This lean business plan template is a stripped-down version of a traditional business plan that provides only the most essential aspects. Briefly outline your company and industry overview, along with the problem you are solving, as well as your unique value proposition, target market, and key performance metrics. There is also room to list out a timeline of key activities.

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Download Simple Business Plan Outline Template

Word  | PDF

Use this simple business plan outline as a basis to create your own business plan. This template contains 11 sections, including a title page and a table of contents, which details what each section should cover in a traditional business plan. Simplify or expand this outline to create the foundation for a business plan that fits your business needs.

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Download Simple Business Planning Template with Timeline

Excel | Smartsheet

This template doubles as a project plan and timeline to track progress as you develop your business plan. This business planning template enables you to break down your work into phases and provides room to add key tasks and dates for each activity. Easily fill in the cells according to the start and end dates to create a visual timeline, as well as to ensure your plan stays on track.

Simple Business Plan Rubric Template

small business action plan template

Download Simple Business Plan Rubric

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Once you complete your business plan, use this business plan rubric template to assess and score each component of your plan. This rubric helps you identify elements of your plan that meet or exceed requirements and pinpoint areas where you need to improve or further elaborate. This template is an invaluable tool to ensure your business plan clearly defines your goals, objectives, and plan of action in order to gain buy-in from potential investors, stakeholders, and partners.

Basic Business Plan Sample

Basic Business Plan Sample

Download Basic Business Plan Sample

This business plan sample serves as an example of a basic business plan that contains all the traditional components. The sample provides a model of what a business plan might look like for a fictional food truck business. Reference this sample as you develop your own business plan.

For additional resources to help support your business planning efforts, check out “ Free Strategic Planning Templates .”

Main Components of a Business Plan

The elements you include in your business plan will depend on your product or service offerings, as well as the size and needs of your business. 

Below are the components of a standard business plan and details you should include in each section:

  • Company name and contact information
  • Website address
  • The name of the company or individual viewing the presentation
  • Table of Contents
  • Company background and purpose
  • Mission and vision statement
  • Management team introduction
  • Core product and service offerings
  • Target customers and segments
  • Marketing plan
  • Competitive analysis
  • Unique value proposition
  • Financial plan (and requirements, if applicable)
  • Business and industry overview
  • Historical timeline of your business
  • Offerings and the problem they solve
  • Current alternatives
  • Competitive advantage
  • Market size
  • Target market segment(s)
  • Projected volume and value of sales compared to competitors
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Pricing strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Promotional plan
  • Distribution methods
  • Legal structure of your business
  • Names of founders, owners, advisors, etc.
  • Management team’s roles, relevant experience, and compensation plan
  • Staffing requirements and training plans
  • Physical location(s) of your business
  • Additional physical requirements (e.g., warehouse, specialized equipment, facilities, etc.)
  • Production workflow
  • Raw materials and sourcing methods
  • Projected income statement
  • Projected cash flow statement
  • Projected balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Charts and graphs
  • Market research and competitive analysis
  • Information about your industry
  • Information about your offerings
  • Samples of marketing materials
  • Other supporting materials

Tips for Creating a Business Plan

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting together a business plan. Below, you’ll find top tips to help simplify the process as you develop your own plan. 

  • Use a business plan template (you can choose from the variety above), or refer to the previous section to create a standard outline for your plan.
  • Modify your outline to reflect the requirements of your specific business. If you use a standard business plan outline, remove sections that aren’t relevant to you or aren’t necessary to run your business.
  • Gather all the information you currently have about your business first, and then use that information to fill out each section in your plan outline.
  • Use your resources and conduct additional research to fill in the remaining gaps. (Note: It isn’t necessary to fill out your plan in order, but the executive summary needs to be completed last, as it summarizes the key points in your plan.)
  • Ensure your plan clearly communicates the relationship between your marketing, sales, and financial objectives.
  • Provide details in your plan that illustrate your strategic plan of action, looking forward three to five years.
  • Revisit your plan regularly as strategies and objectives evolve.
  • What product or service are we offering?
  • Who is the product or service for?
  • What problem does our product or service offering solve?
  • How will we get the product or service to our target customers?
  • Why is our product or service better than the alternatives?
  • How can we outperform our competitors?
  • What is our unique value proposition?
  • When will things get done, and who is responsible for doing them?
  • If you need to obtain funding, how will you use the funding?
  • When are payments due, and when do payments come in?
  • What is the ultimate purpose of your business?
  • When do you expect to be profitable?

To identify which type of business plan you should write, and for more helpful tips, take a look at our guide to writing a simple business plan .

Benefits of Using a Business Plan Template

Creating a business plan can be very time-consuming, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Finding the right template for your business needs can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. 

Using a business plan template — instead of creating your plan from scratch — can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Enables you to immediately write down your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner
  • Provides structure to help outline your plan
  • Saves time and valuable resources
  • Helps ensure you don’t miss essential details

Limitations of a Business Plan Template

A business plan template can be convenient, but it has its drawbacks — especially if you use a template that doesn’t fit the specific needs of your business.

Below are some limitations of using a business plan template:

  • Each business is unique and needs a business plan that reflects that. A template may not fit your needs.
  • A template may restrict collaboration with other team members on different aspects of the plan’s development (sales, marketing, and accounting teams).
  • Multiple files containing different versions of the plan may be stored in more than one place.
  • You still have to manually create charts and graphs to add to the plan to support your strategy.
  • Updates to the plan, spreadsheets, and supporting documents have to be made in multiple places (all documents may not update in real time as changes are made).

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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.

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

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6 min. read

Updated October 29, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to create an effective action plan 

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

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

What’s your biggest business challenge right now?

1. define your scope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Visualize your plan

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

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

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

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

4. Prioritize your tasks

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

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

5. Set milestones 

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

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

6. Identify your resources

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

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

7. Monitor, gauge, and update

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

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

  • A guide to reaching your goals

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

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

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Make confident decisions by following a 4-step growth planning process

Content Author: JT Ripton

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

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  • How to create an effective action plan 

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Action Plan Template for Small Business

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  • Align team members around objectives
  • Prioritize tasks based on impact and effort
  • Manage progress and optimize resources for collective success

Benefits of a Small Business Action Plan Template

  • Can help you take concrete steps to achieve your business goals
  • Can help you track and monitor progress
  • Can provide you with a roadmap to future success

Main Elements of a Action Plan Template for Small Business

  • A specific goal or objectives for the business
  • Time frame for achieving the objective
  • Action items and timelines for each stage
  • A strategy for measuring progress
  • A contingency plan in case of any setbacks

How to Use a Small Business Action Plan Template

1. define your goals., 2. set milestones., 3. analyze resources needed., 4. develop a timeline., 5. monitor progress and adjust accordingly, related action plan templates.

  • Customer Satisfaction Action Plan Template
  • IB Action Plan Template
  • Warehouse Relocation Action Plan Template
  • Medication Action Plan Template
  • Call Center Action Plan Template

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What is an Action Plan? Learn with Templates and Examples


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

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

What is an Action Plan?

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

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

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

Components of an action plan include

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 1: Define your end goal

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

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

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

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

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

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

exit full-screen

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

Step 2: List down the steps to be followed

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Prioritize tasks and add deadlines

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

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

Step 4: Set milestones

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

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

Step 5: Identify the resources needed

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

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

Step 6: Visualize your action plan

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

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

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

Step 7: Monitor, evaluate and update

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

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

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

Business action plan

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

Marketing action plan

Strategic action plan, corrective action plan template.

Learn more about: Corrective Action Plan template .

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

Simple action plan template

Any more tips on creating an action plan.

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

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

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

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FAQs About Action Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Action Plan Template

Get your Action Plan Template for Excel or open it in ProjectManager, the best way to manage your projects online.

small business action plan template

When you’re planning a project, you need a strategy to execute your plan. The action plan is that document. It outlines the action steps you need to do in order to accomplish your goals. Download your free action plan template for Excel and get on the road to success.

If you open the action plan template in ProjectManager instead, you’ll be able to manage your action plan with more than a spreadsheet. You can work in five different project views: Gantt, kanban board, task list, calendar and sheet.

Plus, you can collaborate with your team in real time and track progress in the software with live dashboards and instant status reports. Get started for free with ProjectManager and build a better action plan.

free action plan template laid out on a Gantt chart

What Is an Action Plan Template?

An action plan template is a tool that helps project managers visualize the steps to take for the successful completion of a project. Those action steps are further broken down into subtasks known as action items. ProjectManager’s action plan template for Excel helps you organize these elements on a spreadsheet.

A project action plan template is an important project planning tool because it also describes the team, time and resources needed to complete the project successfully. It includes a timeline that organizes tasks, their priority and the team members responsible for them.

Even though they have the same basic elements like goals, action steps, tasks and a timeline, there are several types of action plan templates such as business, strategic and corrective action plan templates. Our action plan Excel template can serve any of those purposes, and its spreadsheet can be easily adjusted to fit your needs.

Free downloadable action plan template from ProjectManager

Why Use an Action Plan Template?

The action plan template is a useful planning document because it provides a framework for thinking pragmatically about getting work done in an efficient and effective manner. Using an action plan helps one order the project action steps in a logical way and ensures that you don’t neglect critical tasks along the way. Action plan templates facilitate the project planning process because they include all the essential fields for an action plan.

It’d be nearly impossible to plan a project, large or small if you don’t write an action plan format that allows you to chart the time and resources needed to get the job done. An action plan tells you who is doing what, by when and with which resources.

The action plan template is a useful planning document because it provides a framework for thinking pragmatically about getting work done in an efficient and effective manner. Using an action plan helps one order the project action steps in a logical way and makes sure that you don’t neglect a critical task along the way. Action plan templates facilitate the project planning process because they include all the essential fields for an action plan.

When you finish filling in your action plan template, all the goals, action steps and tasks are laid out in one place. This helps the project leader to assign or contract tasks as well as note priority levels.

It would be nearly impossible to plan a project, large or small if you don’t write an action plan format that allows you to chart the time and resources needed to get the job done. The name of the action plan is also helpful. It avoids jargon so your team members can clearly understand its purpose.

Project management software can turn an action plan into a viable project schedule. ProjectManager takes your tasks and puts them in a Gantt chart , where progress is updated automatically as your team completes their tasks. If a scheduling conflict arises, drag and drop your project timeline and every deadline adjusts accordingly. Plus, managers can monitor team workload allocation to balance tasks and keep their teams productive.

Gantt chart project view with timeline

Who Should Use an Action Plan Template?

Project managers are usually in charge of creating the action plan, keeping track of its progress and making sure the entire project team is updated. However, the action plan itself has individual team members assigned to each step and action item, which they are responsible for completing.

Usually, the project manager defines the goals, action steps, tasks, due dates and priority levels of the action plan. But larger projects have bigger staffs and there a project coordinator or other personnel might be responsible for the action plan. Whoever completes the action plan template, the project manager is going to have the final say and will have the authority to update it as plans change.

When Should You Use an Action Plan Template?

You should use an action plan format whenever you need to plan simple projects, manage your personal or team’s work, implement initiatives in your organization and other similar purposes. Action plan templates are meant to facilitate the execution of work by helping leaders and team members better understand the different tasks to be completed.

For larger projects, it’s advised to use project management software like ProjectManager , so you can plan with Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists, project calendars and more.

How to Use This Free Action Plan Template for Excel

Our action plan template for Excel is broken down into three sections. One for listing action steps, one for building a timeline , and one to identify resource requirements.

1. List Your Action Steps and Action Items

As mentioned above, action steps are made up of tasks, or action items. The first part of this action plan template lets you list the action items for each action step, as well as task status, assignee and the phase it which it belongs.

  • Priority: Each task will have a priority attached to it. That is, it’ll be determined if the task is a high, medium or low priority, which helps you make a more realistic plan.
  • Tasks: This is where you list every task that must be taken to complete the action steps and achieve the project’s goal. Be thorough and brainstorm with the team. The more detailed, the better.
  • Phase: Here, you’ll note where the action step takes place over the course of the project life cycle, such as in the planning stage, execution, closing, etc.
  • Assigned: Determine ownership of each individual task by assigning it to a specific team member. They’ll then be responsible for seeing the task through to completion.
  • Status: Here’s where you chart the progress of the work done on each task. Enter a completion percentage or any status that you wish to assign to track progress.

ProjectManager's free Excel action plan template showing action steps

2. Estimate Time for Each Task

Once you’ve mapped out your action steps and action items, you can start assigning a start date and end date to each task and estimate their durations. This information will be needed to create a timeline.

  • Start date: This section is your schedule. Each task is tagged with a time in which it must begin to keep the project on track.
  • Due date: It is here that the due date is determined, so everyone working on that task is clear about when they must have it completed.
  • Planned hours: When planning, you have figured out how much time can be allotted to each task. Here is where you put that information.

ProjectManager's free action plan template for Excel showing task due dates

3. Identify Resource Requirements

Here you can list the resource requirements for each task. Simply estimate what resources will be needed and estimate a cost for them. There’s also a field to indicate which department is in charge of each action item.

  • Department: Which department is responsible for the task, marketing, dev team, etc.?
  • Materials required: What materials are needed for completion of that task, software, equipment, materials, site, etc.
  • Cost: What amount of funding has the budget allotted to this task?
  • Notes: Finally, this is a catchall for any information needed to capture which doesn’t fit in any of the other categories.

ProjectManager's free action plan template for Excel showing resource requirements for a plan

How to Create an Action Plan with ProjectManager

Although action plan templates are a good place to start your project management journey, they’re static documents. If you want to take your planning to the next level, you need to use project planning software like ProjectManager.

Because ProjectManager is online software, you can invite your team to the tool. No matter where they are or when they’re working, as they update their progress it will be instantly reflected on the software’s real-time dashboard, which can filter the information to show only what you want.

Then you can create graphs and charts to make that data easy to read and share with stakeholders or team members, formatting the graphics generally or specifically, depending on the person’s need.

gantt chart action plan template in projectmanager

As noted, alerts can be created to let team members know when the action plan tasks are near due. Alerts can also be set up so the team leader is aware of those impending due dates or if a task is overdue, which can help them reallocate resources or do other things to get the project back on track.

What Other Project Management Templates Can Help with Your Action Plan?

The action plan lays out the course you’ll take to achieve your project goals. Our free project management templates help you start to organize the sequence of steps to get you there. Our site features dozens of free Excel and Word templates you can download, many of which can help you create a better action plan. Here are some of our free templates:

Action Items Template

This free action items template is ideal to zoom into the tasks that make up your action plan. It’s a simple document that lets teams track their work.

Project Plan Template

Action plans are a great way to manage work. However, if you need to manage projects, our free project plan template is a great starting point to document all the different aspects of a project.

Gantt Chart Template

Gantt charts are the most popular project management tool because they turn plans into dynamic project schedules. Use our free Gantt chart template to create a visual timeline for your action plan.

Action Plans Tutorial Video

For more information on how to create and manage an action plan, watch the video below. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, gives you a number of crucial tips that can help you get the most out of your action plan template.

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If you’re looking to take your action plan template to the next level, look no further than ProjectManager, a cloud-based project management software that has all the planning features you need to create and execute your action plans. From a real-time dashboard to online Gantt charts and dynamic kanban boards, our software supersizes your project management. Try it free with this free 30-day trial.

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Top 5 action plan templates for small businesses – with examples

Helena Young

Our Research

Written and reviewed by:.

Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

An action plan is a checklist of every task needed to achieve a larger business goal, and it can help you turn your top-level strategic planning into a day-to-day reality. Action plan templates are pre-built task lists that come ready-made for short, time-bound project management, helping businesses to avoid long and convoluted workflows.

Most project management (PM) systems include an action plan template as they are popular among business owners. However, some systems lack key features, like the ability to assign tasks. Not having these useful tools can delay your action plan and can end up costing time and money – not something SMEs need in the current economy.

  • monday.com template – for client service teams receiving regular feedback
  • ClickUp Free template – for freelancers working on a daily task list
  • Smartsheet template – for complex action plans with multiple stakeholders
  • Wrike Free template – for working with subcontractors outside the business
  • Asana template – for developing a short, sprint-based action plan

Alongside an independent analyst, our experts have pinpointed a range of outstanding action plan templates that will achieve a positive outcome by ensuring you meet every task on time, and to budget.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the unique features of each option as well as where they perform best (and what they might be lacking) so you can find the template that best matches your objectives.

This article will cover:

What is an action plan template, best action plan templates, how to build an action plan.

  • Our research methodology
  • Action plan template FAQs

An action plan is a document that lists the tasks and milestones required to reach a decided outcome, in order of when they must be completed. It is one of the most basic project management methods , and is designed to breakdown your plan into the simplest sequence of steps.

Some people choose to build their action plan on basic, web-based programmes, like Google Sheets. But this can take a lot of time to set up and require a lot of complex workarounds. Having a pre-built action plan template with project management software can get you started instantly and give you access to clever, time-saving features.

Rather than planning a new campaign with multiple outcomes and deliverables, most action plans are kept to a minimum, and designed with a specific goal in mind. For example, the desire to increase traffic to your website in a set amount of time.

The most common aspects of an action plan are:

  • Tasks (description of what needs to be done)
  • Deadlines (when it is due)
  • Owners (who is responsible for the task’s completion)
  • Milestones (what specific targets you need to hit to complete the task)
  • Resources (the budget or external/internal consultants needed to complete the task)

As the name suggests, action plans are all about efficient decision making, allowing you to dive into a project as quickly as possible. Below, we’ve identified the top template choices from leading work operating systems (Work OS), including monday.com and ClickUp .

All of our top picks are based on important factors chosen during extensive user testing, such as ease-of-use, data visualisation, and collaboration features.

monday.com for teams receiving regular client feedback (agencies)

Available with: free plan.

monday.com action template

monday.com is our top-scoring Work OS for data visualisation ( 5 out of 5 ), beating rival software Smartsheet by a whole point. As the above example shows, monday.com’s modern-looking template is endlessly customisable, which allows you to monitor every aspect of your project.

During our testing, we found there was space to note tonnes of metrics, including the owner of a task , the due date , and even priority level . Plus, a progress tracker helps managers check pace in case a team member needs to push the pedal down to meet a milestone.

Because of its flexibility, we recommend monday.com’s action plan template for projects that are subject to sudden changes. For example, design agencies working to deadline constraints with clients who want regular feedback on how a task is going.

You can use monday’s customisable features to easily make edits. Our research team was also impressed by the app’s simple, traffic-light organisational system during testing, which means you won’t have to sacrifice clarity to review progress.

monday.com pros and cons

  • Assigned team members will be instantly notified - minimising time spent in meetings.
  • monday.com is third in our research for usability, as templates are quick to set up
  • Managers can easily set up an automated reminder if tasks are missed or delayed
  • User permissions only available on premium plans - so managers have less control over changes
  • No task dependencies means you’ll find it harder to prioritise tasks


Get started with the monday.com action plan template

ClickUp for freelancers needing a daily task list

ClickUp action template

ClickUp’s action plan is as clearly organised and colour-coded, as with monday.com. However, the former’s list-based layout is suited to individual task management when compared with monday.com’s collaborative focus.

Your action plan might be something as simple as reaching a certain objective by the end of the day. ClickUp’s time-tracking – unavailable on monday.com's free plan – allows you to maximise your resources and take on as many gigs as possible while still being able to prioritise deadlines.

The ClickUp action plan template has less space to record metrics. But during our testing, we found the workflow was easier to understand as the items are numbered in the order they need to be delivered in.

We also like that by using ClickUp's multiple dashboard views , users can see their tasks in different formats – handy for individual users who have complete control of their day-to-day actions. With ClickUp, you can easily switch formats to flit between table, board, and box view, while this is a bit trickier with monday.com.

What is most exciting is that ClickUp is free forever , making it the best free project management software option for SMEs. In comparison, you’d have to upgrade monday.com, Wrike, Smartsheet, and Asana if you want to use them as your long-term PM solution.

ClickUp pros and cons

  • 24/7 live support and live chat available to help new users during onboarding
  • Communication integrations including Slack and Microsoft Teams
  • Automations are available on the free plan to take care of fiddly admin tasks
  • Our researchers gave ClickUp just 3 out of 5 for collaboration - it’s better for solo workers
  • Feature limitations on the free plan include building only 100 Gantt charts per month


Get started with the ClickUp action plan template

Smartsheet for multiple stakeholders who need constant updates

Available with: free trial.

Smartsheet action template

The Smartsheet template (Click to Try) is not as aesthetically pleasing as those offered by ClickUp or monday.com. Consequently, we’re not big fans of the platform for user experience.

However, Smartsheet is outstanding when it comes to recording data. The platform’s lowest tier offers a larger number of alternative views for you to analyse a plan through. That’s more than Wrike, monday.com, and Asana. ClickUp does offer the same number of views, but there are constraints on how many times you can use them.

Users can display their action plan as a:

  • Gantt chart
  • Kanban board
  • Spreadsheet
  • Burndown chart

From our research, this is helpful for business owners who are working on longer projects that have large involvement, such as charity fundraising.

Make stakeholders' lives easier by sorting your achievements and objectives into various formats. Smartsheet highlights everything from individual progress to your team's overall ability to meet deadlines. This makes it easy to measure and share project metrics .

Smartsheet pros and cons

  • Finance integration means you can closely manage your project budget
  • Calendar view lets you see deadlines in weekly or monthly increments
  • Members can be assigned to subtasks in case a job proves more complicated down the line
  • Smartsheet came seventh overall in our ranking for help and support tools
  • No free plan available - you’ll need to download the action plan template as part of a 14-day free trial

Smartsheet logo

Get started with the Smartsheet action plan template

Wrike for managing subcontractors (like construction firms)

Wrike action plan

Wrike doesn’t score as highly when it comes to the advanced areas of project management. When compared with ClickUp, its feature range is thin, while the internal collaboration tools are lacking when compared with monday.com.

However, our experts found the Wrike action plan template is a practical, low-maintenance option for storing files and providing guest access for free . Tasks can be viewed by anyone with access to the project. All of the other platforms on this list require you to pay for the luxury.

If you’re working on a project with external collaborators, Wrike is a good option. You can allocate tasks to team members who aren’t based in your business and they can also move items around. This USP is great for projects with multiple subcontractors, such as a small-scale construction job.

You might not want to share Wrike’s dashboards with your employers as our testing found that it's not a very attractive template to view. Projects with lots of subcontractors involved, such as construction, will reap the most benefits from its offering.

Wrike pros and cons

  • Unlimited users and guests are permitted on the Wrike free plan
  • Project message board and task comments make it simple for team members to update each other
  • Poor for data visualisation - only list view is permitted on the free plan
  • Wrike is our lowest-performing platform for help and support, scoring just 1.8 out of 5 - not great for new users.

wrike logo

Get started with the Wrike action plan template

Asana for short, sprint-based projects (best for developers)

Asana action plan

We recommend Asana for action planning thanks to its drag-and-drop dependency feature, which we found incredibly simple for reallocating tasks to new team members.

If you've got lots of people collaborating on one project, Asana allows you to make changes to your plan that will reflect a team member's new responsibilities or objectives. But don't worry, this won't cause confusion. Notifications will automatically be sent to update all team members if a change is made.

If you want to ensure that one task is completed before another can start, you only need to drag a line between each task on the ‘ timeline ‘ view (available with Asana’s lowest paid-for tier).

There are some key tools missing from this template that might make it difficult to review progress against a deadline. Unlike ClickUp and monday.com, there is no time tracking function to measure progress. As a result, we recommend Asana’s action plan template for short, sprint-based projects.

Asana pros and cons

  • Over 200 integrations including CRM, marketing, and communication
  • We gave Asana 4.1 out of 5 for its fair pricing and scalable plans, placing it third in our rankings
  • No guest access permitted on Asana’s free plan
  • No time-tracking feature so you won’t be able to monitor how long employees spend on a task

To help you understand what an action plan should look like in practice, we've come up with the below template example. In this scenario, a pub – The Startups Inn – wants to find a way to draw in more customers during the holiday period. The pub manager decides to design an action plan to help achieve that goal.

Problem:  The Startups Inn is losing customers during the holiday period, as competitor analysis has shown that customers are visiting pub businesses that offer enticing Christmas-themed deals and offers on drinks.

Goal: We will increase our average sales per week by 150%, by launching a new festive beer brand in the month of December. We will advertise a weekly 50% discount on Monday evenings on social media to support the launch.

Step 1. Set a SMART target

You should have a specific end goal in mind rather than a broad idea. In this case, the pub manager of The Startups Inn decides to sell a popular new beer brand in the pub that will excite its loyal customers and generate new clients for the business.

To keep the goal on track, make sure it is SMART :

  • S pecific: clearly define what success looks like (instead of ‘increase sales', state a % increase to aim for)
  • M easurable: outline how you will measure success (ie. monthly or weekly reports)
  • A chievable: make sure the goal is attainable, not overly-ambitious
  • R ealistic: make sure the goal is relevant to your objectives, industry, and skillset
  • T ime-bound: set a specific deadline for reaching the goal

ClickUp invites users to set an overall goal for every plan, which you can use to track progress and view all related project information. Here's what that looks like for our hypothetical festive beer launch:

ClickUp goals - beer launch

We were able to create a SMART target for our project in the ‘Goals' section of the ClickUp back-end

Step 2. Write a chronological list of tasks you need to complete to reach this objective

This should be done as a brainstorming session by the project manager, or the entire project team. Here's an example of what kind of tasks we might need to include in a marketing plan template for our beer launch:

1. Place order for beer 2. Collect beer order 3. Market beer on online channels 4. ‘Soft launch' with customers 5. Official beer launch

small business action plan template

During testing, we particularly liked that we were able to add task dependencies to our list of actions, to make it clear when one task (placing the intitial beer order) was critical to the completion of another task.

Step 3. Allocate a team member to be responsible for each task

ClickUp makes this super easy by allowing users to add ‘Assignees' to every task. When we clicked on the profile on an assignee, we were shown the number of tasks they had been given – helpful for resource management and getting a quick overview of all tasks a team member is responsible for.

1. Place order for beer –   assistant manager, Kevin 4. Collect beer order – assistant manager, Kevin 3. Market beer on online channels – marketing manager, Harry 4. ‘Soft launch' with customers – bar manager, Helena 5. Sales reporting –   bar manager, Helena

ClickUp Assignees - beer launch

Assignees were very easy to add to the ClickUp action list – we simply inputted a colleague's email, and were instantly able to allocate them to a task.

Step 4. Set a timeframe for each objective

Decide on the final due date for the entire project. In this example, the launch date for our new beer product might be 4 December.

Work backwards from this milestone to give each task a due date. Eg. to launch a beer on 4 December, The Startups Inn needs to order the beer two weeks before (November 20). As the template above shows, ClickUp lets you add a due date to each task as a preset field.

Step 5. Share the action plan template with the team

Once each task has been allocated, it's time to share the plan with the rest of your team so they can begin working on their specific duties and communicate if there are any issues with the timeline. Make sure you go through each task with the employee so they know exactly what they are responsible for.

Benefits of an action plan template

Action plan templates are a manager’s cheat sheet to success. Using a preset template to reach your goal will speed up the planning process dramatically, providing a clear update for the entire team to quickly get up-to-speed on task progress.

Here are three more areas of project management that using an action plan template is beneficial for:

  • Measuring progress. An action plan template will be able to give you a complete picture of where you are up to in a project, as you'll know exactly how many items you've ticked off in your checklist.
  • Prioritisation . Action plans make it instantly obvious where a task needs to be completed. If lots of tasks are dependent on just one being completed, you’ll know to give this step critical attention.
  • Focus. It's very difficult to lose direction with an action plan. Following the list of actions like a step-by-step guide will help your project team to remain focused and help to limit delays.

How we test project management software for small businesses

We tested 14 project management software to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, customer support, features, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to small UK-based businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in five main categories of investigation and nine subcategories – in fact, we covered 51 areas of investigation in total . We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs of our Startups.co.uk readers.

Our main testing categories for project management software are:

Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular project management provider. Also, the market position and reputation a project management tool holds.

Features: the functionalities and capabilities offered by the project management solution, such as task management and team collaboration.

Customer Support: the assistance and resources provided by the project management solution provider to users, such as phone support and email or chat support.

Usability Testing: we get people just like you to test out the products to focus on evaluating the ease of use and user experience of the project management solution.

Cost Factors: the financial considerations associated with using a project management solution, including licensing fees, subscription plans, and storage and user limit.

The Startups product testing process

The Startups product testing process diagram

  • For flexibility , we recommend monday.com . Its action plans may require edits down the line, but monday.com promises a smooth transition should anything change.
  • For freelance work , ClickUp is a full-featured choice for maximising your resources during short, day-long projects.
  • For projects with lots of stakeholders we recommend Smartsheet . You can easily review progress to give updates to stakeholders using its impressive reporting tools.
  • For subcontract work, we recommend Wrike . It’s the only app with an unlimited number of guest users, making it ideal for B2B collaboration.
  • For collaboration, we recommend Asana for its drag-and-drop template style that makes it easy to swap a project member's responsibilities around if needed.
  • How do I write an action plan? First, decide on the goal you want to achieve. Then, create a chronological list of all the tasks needed to reach that goal. Divide the tasks between each team member (as appropriate), and set timeframes that work with your overall deadline. Finally, share the action plan with any collaborators.
  • Does Excel have an action plan template? Yes, however it lacks a lot of collaborative tools, such as whiteboards and message boards. These are two important features when building an action plan. Excel's action plan template tends to be used for projects that have a very short turnaround time and require a lot of communication and real-time updates.
  • What must a good action plan include? An action plan should display a list of tasks that need to be completed for an objective to be reached. Each of these should have a dedicated owner and a deadline. It's also a good idea to include a list of the resources (budget/employees) on hand, this will allow you to adjust the plan should anything change.
  • What are the 5 areas of an action plan? First; set a clear objective. Second; list all the tasks required on an action plan template. Third; allocate a team member to each task. Fourth, set a timeframe for each task and the entire objective. Fifth; share the template with your team and update them on their responsibilities.
  • What are the main objectives of an action plan? Action plans are used for short, time-bound projects. They require users to list the tasks required to complete an objective, so you can formulate a timeline based on what's being done and what resources will be utilised.

Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

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Write a business development plan

Now that you’re in the growth stage of your business, set things in motion with a business development plan.

A business development plan sets goals for growth and explains how you will achieve them. It can have a short-term or long-term focus. Review and revise your plan as often as you can. And keep building on it as your business evolves.

How to write a business development plan

Your business development plan is your roadmap to growth, so make it clear, specific and realistic.

What to include in a business development plan

  • Opportunities for growth: Identify where growth will come from – whether it’s in creating new products, adding more services, breaking into new markets, or a combination of these.
  • Funding plan: Determine how you’ll fund your business growth. How much capital do you already have? How much more do you need and how will you get it? Check out our guide on financing your business.
  • Financial goals: Work out what revenue, costs and profits you’ll have if things stay the same. Use those numbers as a basis for setting new, more ambitious financial goals.
  • Operational needs: Identify what things about your business will need to change in order to achieve growth. Will you need extra people, more equipment, or new suppliers?
  • Sales and marketing activities: Figure out what sales and marketing efforts will effectively promote growth and how these efforts will change as the business gets bigger and better. Make sure your sales and marketing plan is sturdy enough to support your growing business.
  • Team needs: You may need people to take on some of the tasks you’ve been doing. Think about what parts of running the business you enjoy most – and you’re good at – and what parts you might want to delegate to others. And give some thought to the culture you want to develop in your business as it grows. Check out our guide on hiring employees.

A sample business development plan

Avoid these common business development mistakes.

  • Thinking short-term instead of long-term
  • Underestimating how much money it will take to grow
  • Not budgeting enough money to cover the costs of growth
  • Focusing on too many growth opportunities: think quality, not quantity

Micro-planning can keep you focused

You may want to create some micro-plans for specific growth projects so their details don’t get overlooked. And you can build in some KPIs to measure your progress and successes. As your business grows, take note of your progress and make periodic adjustments to your business development plan to make sure it’s still relevant.

Support is out there

Remember you’re not the first to go through this. Seek out mentors, advisors or other business owners who can help you with your planning. Your accountant or bookkeeper may also be able to help or point you in the direction of the right people.

Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

Growing your business

Are you ready to drop the hammer and take your business to the next level? Let’s look at how to grow.

Before you leap into growth, reflect on where you’ve come from. Find out the stage of business growth you’re at.

Understanding your business performance will help you grow. Check out common examples of small business KPIs.

Increasing sales revenue is one obvious way to help grow your business. But how do you sell more?

You can grow your business by selling more things to more people, or fewer things to fewer people. Let’s look at how.

You’re all set to grow your business. But there’s so much to keep track of. Xero’s got resources and solutions to help.

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Here’s How I Grew Five Businesses, and Eventually Sold One to a Fortune 500 Company.

Create An Action Plan With Action Planning Templates

When it comes to tracking and realizing your goals efficiently, a well-designed action plan will help to do that. Be it a career, business, or personal goal, you can implement an action plan to create a clear path to success. The degree of detail required in action planning can vary depending on the number of resources you have at your disposal and the complexity of the project or goal in question.

In this article, we will discuss action plans, what action planning is, why it’s essential, and how to create an effective action plan to help you achieve your goals efficiently and successfully. As a bonus, an action planning template is at the end of this article to help you attain your goals with greater precision and efficiency.

What is an action plan?

An action plan is basically a document that lays out the tasks that need to be accomplished to attain your goal. Action planning breaks down the process into actionable assignments based on a feasible timeline. A good action plan will clearly outline the necessary steps needed to achieve your goal(s) and help you attain your set target efficiently by assigning a timeframe—a beginning and end date—to every step in the process. The action planning process may go differently depending on your needs, and you can follow the action planning template at the end of this article to help you attain your goals efficiently.

Why is action planning important?

An action plan is applicable in various scenarios, ranging from individual to organizational scales, from employees who desire to enhance their work performance to project managers designating tasks to team members. Action planning can help you identify a clear path to move toward your goal and confidently align associated tasks in the proper order to help you achieve your goal most efficiently.

In the case of an organizational setup, when a project is relatively small and short-term, for example, designing, printing, and distributing a leaflet, you may not find it reasonable to develop an action plan, as that’d prove unnecessary and unbeneficial.  This is particularly true when few people are involved, and what has to be done and the steps to achieve the action are clear. Repetitive tasks, that is, tasks that are done repeatedly, do not require action planning. For medium-sized projects, such as organizing a conference, action planning can be very beneficial. An action plan is essential for larger-scale projects or programs, such as opening a new branch for your company.

The number of advantages of action planning is numerous, and here are a few specific benefits.

An action plan gives the opportunity for reflection

Before engaging in a task or activity, it is helpful to think about what has happened before, what actions were taken that brought about success or partial success, and what actions have not helped. Such reflection is essential for making successful decisions on what course of action to take, and action planning allows such reflective questions to be asked and answered.

It brings people together

Action planning can bring together experts in a particular field, people who are knowledgeable in the area of work concerned, individuals who are experiencing a similar problem and will stand to benefit from the change (beneficiaries), and individuals who can contribute to the project (resources). In many cases, an individual may fit into more than one of these roles.

It clarifies the objective

We often assume that if a group of people comes together to create an action plan, they will, of course, have the same objective, but that is not always the case. A business starter conference, for example, may host people who are interested in starting a consultancy business , an online business venture, or merely just expanding the customer base for an already existing business. The emphasis of a particular project changes depending on the objective, and action planning clarifies precisely what change is required by clarifying the objectives.

It builds consensus

As we’ve earlier seen with a consensus in the objectives, consensus on priorities can also be achieved through action planning. Everyone involved in an action plan can contribute their ideas and gradually steer towards the most critical actions through discussion, negotiation, and compromise.

It creates ownership and accountability.

When people create an action plan, they are more likely to contribute realistic suggestions that are often connected to things they have some degree of influence over. The involvement process of action planning instills in participants a sense of individual and collective ownership for the action plan. This sort of ownership feeling allows for tasks to be allocated to different people, creating accountability. Individuals assigned tasks know they are responsible for them and need to report progress on those tasks at agreed time intervals.

It clarifies timescales

The process of creating action planning involves setting out all the tasks that need to be done to achieve a set objective and making decisions about how much resource is available for each specified task. Such assessments allow for a realistic estimate of how long the overall action plan will take. Every action should have an exact completion date in an action plan, which helps clarify the timescales for projects.

They identify measures of success.

Measurement standards for success are like steppingstones towards a larger objective. Such measuring standards provide a way of assessing progress towards that goal. For example, suppose an objective is to expand the customer base for a business owner. In that case, there may be many steps towards that goal, including creating more awareness of the product through tv ads, social media ads, requesting referrals from customers, etc. Each of these steps can be measured to ensure they contribute towards realizing the aims and larger objective of the business. Action plans help identify such measures of success and highlight them for a more straightforward assessment of progress.

Who Needs an Action Plan?

Action plans are an excellent tool for attaining objectives and can apply in various situations, being employed by different parties in an organization. Business owners and managers can create action plans for their teams to expressly lay out tangible steps necessary to achieve long-term or short-term goals. Even individuals can make use of action planning for themselves to achieve their individual goals. In short, in any situation where there is a goal or strategy, but there isn’t a laid down road map for its accomplishment, creating an action plan will be helpful.

When to Create an Action Plan?

Having explored what action planning is and why it is essential to develop an action plan, we must answer the agelong question many people ask: what is the best time to create an action plan for the business owner?

Generally, the ideal time for creating an action plan will be at the start of the business when it’s at its baby stage. That could be between 0-6 months after starting the business to make the most out of action planning . This is because you need to ascertain your objectives, mission, vision, and the strategies you want to employ for the company before you begin developing an action plan.

So, action planning will be most useful when you do it when you have enough information to be sure it works. By doing so, you’ll be able to achieve a proper blueprint, which is key to the success of your business .

On the flip side, there is one thing you always need to remember about action planning: an action plan is always just a work in progress, and you can and should always be able to make some changes in the action plan when the need arises. As the times change, there may be some company objectives and policies which may follow suit. Such changes may warrant some alterations to your action plans, and it is essential you keep your action plans flexible to be able to effect such changes when the need arises. If you keep this in mind when taking on the action planning process, you’ll be sure to create a great action plan that’ll near guarantee success for you.

The Criteria for Good Action Planning

When it comes to action planning, you should cross-reference your action plan against several criteria to ensure it meets up. Essentially, you should ask, is the action plan:

Complete? Does it detail all the action steps or changes to be sought in all relevant parts of the business (e.g., sales wing, marketing, accounting, etc.)?

Clear? Is it clearly apparent who will do what by when?

Current? Does the action plan sit well within the current work? Does it anticipate newly emerging opportunities and hindrances?

How to Write an Action Plan in 5 Steps

The action planning process can seem challenging, but it’s worth the work up front to keep you and your business focused on achieving set goals. An action plan uses a simple framework to help give you clarity. While action plans may differ in tasks and timelines, they often generally conform to the same structure and usually include similar types of information.

Here’s a five-step plan you can follow to help you create an action plan.

  • Set SMART goals.
  • Create a list of actions.
  • Set a timeline.
  • Designate resources.
  • Monitor the progress.

Set SMART goals

Before you write your action plan, be sure to ensure your goal conforms to the SMART model. Your goals should be:

Measurable: Measurability of your goal is the quality that seeks to quantify the degree of success of achievement of that goal. Make sure your goal can be measured. For example, if your goal is to generate more sales for your business , try to create weekly or monthly sales reports to track the number of product sales achieved to measure your progress.

Attainable: For action planning, the set goal should be within reach of realization. While it is good to set high goals to challenge yourself, you must ensure they are attainable, as they’ll help you achieve your desired progress.

Relevant: One crucial quality of your action plan goal is relevant to your abilities, needs, and interests. For example, if you aim to increase advertising revenue by 25%, setting a goal to expand to a new business site or opening new work offices for the business may not be relevant to your goal. You must ensure actionable steps bring you closer towards directly achieving your intended goals.

Time-based: For action plans, your goals should have a specific deadline for their attainments, such as increasing your income by 20% over the next six months or one year.

Create a list of actions

Having established a SMART goal for your action plan, the next step in the action planning process is to create a list of tasks you need to complete to reach your goal. This will entail dividing your main goal into smaller attainable objectives. In doing so, you can make the final goal seem less overwhelming and move closer to it in an organized and stepwise manner. Be sure to make actions attainable and related to your goal. If a particular sub-task is too vague or intimidating, you can further divide it into two or three smaller action items that will be more doable.

Let’s take an example. Suppose you want to expand the customer base of your business. You may have to perform several tasks to achieve your goals, such as creating ads for social media users concerning your business, creating tv ads for your business, developing promotions, giveaways, and sales events for your products. The task of creating social media ads may be broken down into smaller and yet actionable steps, like, creating a list of popular social media platforms, choosing suitable plans based on the company’s preferences, assessing the ad plans available for the platforms, and then creating ads for the platform.

When you clearly describe each task in your action plan, you pave the way towards realizing your ultimate goals.

Set a timeline for your action plan

Aside from the timeline you set for your primary goals, it will help to establish a timeframe for accomplishing each task in the process. You must create a timeline you can reasonably follow to ensure that you maintain consistent progress towards your goal. Be sure to assess the requirements and consider the amount of time you’ll need to complete each item on your list and appropriate the timeframes accordingly.

For example, suppose you want to increase traffic to your business website by 75% in one year’s time through social media and search engine optimization. In that case, you’ll need a timeframe for achieving your desired results for each of the tasks, such as steadily increasing your social media following by 30% in three months and optimizing the first page for a web search of specific keywords in six months.

Designate resources to implement your action plan

If you are dealing with a large-scale project, you’re most likely dealing with several assigned tasks. To ensure the success of your action plan, you should assess the skills and abilities of your team to determine who will be best suited and qualified to perform each task. Then, designate who WILL be in charge of the objective and the resources needed to complete the task, resources like money, equipment, and personnel.

For example, suppose you’re managing a marketing campaign for a company . In that case, you will need to find out which staff members are most vital in planning, content production, social media marketing, and SEO. It is also vital you have the applications and tools for content production, graphic design, and marketing analytics.

Monitor the progress of your action plan

In this last step of action planning, you should describe how you will ensure each task in your action plan is completed on time. To achieve this, you could use tools such as using internal reporting or holding regular meetings. By doing so, you will be regularly apprised of the progress you are making towards your goal. Be sure to specify the measures explicitly you will be used to monitor the plan’s progress. This could include milestones like the number of tasks completed and quantitative measures like sales or market share.

For example, let’s suppose you want your customer service department to be able to process 1,000 inquiries per day by the end of the year, and you need at least ten customer representatives to achieve your goal. You can easily deduce how close you are to your final goal by simply taking stock of how many inquiries you can handle and how many customer service representatives you have by the half-year mark.

With these steps, you can be sure to realize a full-proof action plan that’ll yield the results you intend.

Action Planning Template

A quick way around developing an action plan is by using action planning templates to create your action plan. Here is an effective template you can use for a wide range of goal-setting situations:

Action Plan:

  • Actions (Necessary steps you plan to take to achieve your goals)
  • Persons in charge (staff members to handle each step)
  • Timeline (deadline for each step)
  • Resources (assets to be allocated for each step)
  • Potential barriers (factors with the potential to hinder the realization of each step)
  • Outcomes (desired result for each step)

Tracking and Evaluation Process:

Action plan example.

Here is an example of an action plan for an apparel retailer:

Problem : Slow profit increments due to poor customer service.

Goal : Increase profits by 50% within two years.

Our Two-Year Goal (Tip: Here are SMART goals outlined)

We expect our apparel retail business to increase profitability by 40% as we implement this action plan to improve customer service and increase staffing over the next two years.

Current business state: Yearly profit of $100,000, three employees and a lot of customer complaints

Our business in six months: All employees will be trained in customer service, and profit will expectedly increase by 10%

Our business in 12 months: Annual profit of $150,000, six employees, no job vacancies, and robust customer service

Our business in two years: In league with the top 20% of apparel retailers in the state.

Action Plan to Achieve Our Goal

Task 1 – Training

Action: All employees will take on customer service training.

Completion date: _____________

Person responsible: Sales manager

Task 2. Recruitment

Action: Identify skill sets needed from new employees and correspond with the recruitment agency to hire the needed talent.

Completion date: September 20_____

Task 3. Improve customer service

Action: Update our website and keep it current.

Completion date: Starts in November 20___ and remains ongoing

Person responsible: IT manager

Task 4. Generate more sales

Action: Meet with the top 25% of customers and develop strategies to generate more sales.

Completion date: January 20___

Person responsible: Customer sales manager

Action: Develop products and services brochure.

Completion date: May 20____

Person responsible: Marketing manager

Task 5. Increase cash flow and reduce costs

Action: Introduce a more convenient customer payment plan.

Person responsible: Finance manager

Task 6. Expand customer base

Action: Look for local and regional selling events and participate in relevant events.

Completion date: June 20___

Action : Review our competitors’ offers and capitalize on shortcomings in their offers.

Completion date: October 20___

Evidence of success: Annual profit of $225,000

Tracking and evaluation process:

  • Assessing profitability,
  • Number of customer complaints.

  Ten Characteristics of a Good Action Plan

Even though there isn’t one particular framework of how a good action plan should look, which can vary based on the scale and complexity of the goals in view, here are some general characteristics of good action planning.

  • The action plan reveals a single, clearly defined objective.
  • The action plan timescales are realistic.
  • The action plan is informed by the past but focuses on the future.
  • The plan considers external factors and constraints.
  • The plan is sufficiently detailed for its purpose.
  • The plan doesn’t include any unnecessary tasks in the achievement of the objective.
  • The tasks in the plan all contribute to the same objective.
  • Responsibility for who does what action is unambiguous.
  • The measures in the plan are clearly aligned to success.
  • The plan is revisited and updated at necessary intervals.

So there you have it. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to developing a great action plan.

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About the one-page action plan

A one-page action plan is a brief overview of the goals you've set for your business and the actions you will take to achieve them. You can include an action plan as part of your overall business plan .

The plan is simple to use. Once you have completed it, post it up somewhere where you and your staff can see it regularly (the fridge in the kitchen or on the notice board). The goals and actions should be front-of-mind for everyone involved in the business.

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10+ Small Business Action Plan Examples [ Startup, Project, Development ]

10 Small Business Action Plan Examples Startup Project Development

Have you ever tried owning a small business before ? If you have, how did it go? A lot of people who tried owning or managing small businesses, would say their business flopped or it was not as successful as they would imagine it to be. There are of course some or if not a lot of reasons for a small business to fail and some of these are just simply common mistakes some people often make. When it comes to small businesses, there is always that challenge of start ups and how to develop from there. Any business owner can also tell you that it is never as easy as it looks or sounds, but it does not mean you should give it up.

The secret to a successful small business is making an action plan for it. So to those who think and believe that a good small business flourishes by luck, well there is that too. But the biggest impact on a small business to literally be successful is making a good action plan. You may wonder what this action plan can do, and how it is going to help. To get that information out there, you should scroll through these 10+ examples and you’ll surely find how, what and why all answered.

10+ Small Business Action Plan Examples

1. small business action plan template.

small business action plan template

  • Google Docs

2. Small Business and Retail Committee Action Plan

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3. Small Business Action Plan Example

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4. Small Business Participation Action Plan

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5. Small Business Strategy and Action Plan

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Size: 699 KB

6. Action Plan for Small Businesses

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7. Small Business Project Action Plan

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8. Small Business Action Plan in PDF

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Size: 163 KB

9. Small Business Development Action Plan

small business development action plan

Size: 595 KB

10. Small Business Continuity Action Plan

small business continuity action plan

11. Small Business 90-Day Action Planning

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Size: 399 KB

What Is a Small Business Action Plan?

To begin, we define an action plan . We know that an action plan is a list of things you want to do but it is different from a simple to-do-list. An action plan is a list of things you plan on doing with an objective. A set of goals you want to accomplish that also reaches your objectives. A small business action plan is a kind of action plan that makes a list of all the things you can do to help your small business flourish.

The purpose of a small business action plan is to make sure that your business is up to date, it has little to no risk that would get in the way of your small business. In addition to that, a small business action plan is a great tool to help you with dealing with issues that may lead to difficult problems. By making them easier and more simple to do. In a way that a small business action plan is the roadmap to a successful small business.

How to Write a Small Business Action Plan?

When it comes to business, regardless of how small or large that business may be, it is always important to know that you have a back up plan in case things go haywire. For this case, it is always nice to know that writing an action plan can help minimize the risks of your business from faltering. But to be able to do so, you must of course know how to write your own action plan for small businesses.

1. Inform Everyone Present About Your Plan

This part of your action plan is crucial. Before you are able to write, inform everyone of your plan. Inform everyone of the ideas, the objectives, the goals and all the necessary things that should be placed in the action plan. When it comes to this, remember that good teamwork makes the action plan a success.

2. Write Down Your Objectives

For this to happen, let us assume you already have a goal in mind. The next step for that is to write down your objectives. Write down every single objective that you want to do. Your objectives must match the goal you have planned before the action plan. With that said, your objectives have to be doable.

3. Add Deadlines to Each Goal and Objective

To be able to make the action plan even more possible is by making deadlines. Make a deadline for each goal and objective. This means that the goal and objectives you wrote are doable and of course it is also good practice for you and your team to be able to set up deadlines. To make it simple, deadlines are used as the milestones whether you achieved them or not.

4. List All the Milestones

The milestones that are stated here would be from the small achievements that you and your team have made. It can be based on the ups and even the downs as they are still considered as such. Any learnings that you got can also be part of your milestones. So you need not have to be embarrassed about your milestones as they are the stepping stones to achieving your small business.

5. Put Your Plan Into Action

Once you have everything settled, it is time you set all your ideas, ideals, goals, and objectives to action. The only way for you to be able to know if what you have planned would flourish for your business is by making it into reality. There will be risks, but the positive outcome should also be a part of your action plan.

What is a small business action plan?

A small business action plan is a kind of action plan that caters to small businesses. This action plan differs with how small business owners may want to use it. But it works just the same as any action plan.

How do you use a small business action plan?

The use of a small business action plan is a guide to avoiding any risks as much as possible. This also means that it gives you an outline of how you view your business from its conception to its final stage.

Is there a risk to using a small business action plan?

There is always a risk when you are writing an action plan, but the risk is minimal compared to not writing one. With businesses like a small one, it is always best to have an action plan to help you and your team. To guide and to make you see the bigger picture of how you are planning it.

It goes without saying that to have a good small business to flourish, you must always expect some risks that go with doing business. But you can also find a way to avoid or to eliminate them altogether. By making an action plan that fits your small business of course.

small business action plan template

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Small Business Action Plan Template

Small Business Action Plan Template in Word, Google Docs, Apple Pages

Download this Small Business Action Plan Template Design in Word, Google Docs, Apple Pages Format. Easily Editable, Printable, Downloadable.

Just because you are starting a business that is small in scale compared to other businesses doesn't mean you should forego creating schemes and actions in making your goals a success. If you're having difficulty starting one, then download our Small business Action Plan that is available for purchase anytime, anywhere. This template will surely allow you to create a proposed course of action to reach your business goals. Save yourself the hassle and get more done with this template today. Increase your potential to boost sales and profit with this template and download now!

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small business action plan template

Small Business Trends

Sba launches enhanced equity action plan to bolster small business growth and economic equity.

small business action plan template

Isabel Casillas Guzman, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator, has unveiled an updated Equity Action Plan in a bid to foster inclusivity and economic opportunity. This initiative is set to transform the landscape for America’s 33 million small businesses and startups, particularly benefiting those from underserved communities.

The SBA’s refreshed Equity Action Plan zeroes in on crucial areas such as improving access to capital, enhancing entrepreneurial support services, and broadening economic opportunities to advance the national economy. This plan is part of the administration’s broader commitment to equity, initiated by President Biden’s Executive Order on his first day in office, mandating a comprehensive equity assessment across federal agencies.

Empowering Diverse Entrepreneurs

“As America continues to enjoy an unprecedented Small Business Boom, the SBA remains determined in its efforts to boost entrepreneurship among people of color, women, veterans, and those from rural communities, and this updated Equity Action Plan is a testament to that commitment,” stated Administrator Guzman.

The Equity Action Plan is pivotal in acknowledging and harnessing the value these entrepreneurs bring through job creation, innovation, and competitiveness on both domestic and international fronts.

Strategic Enhancements and Achievements

The 2023 Equity Action Plan outlines strategic improvements in several key areas:

Small Business Deals

  • Access to Loan Capital: Introducing new lenders capable of reaching underserved markets, simplifying lending rules, and promoting policies to support justice-involved entrepreneurs.
  • Federal Government Procurement: Enhancing Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs) access to contracting opportunities and advocating for their inclusion in federal agency contracts.
  • Disaster Assistance: Modernizing application processes and bolstering support for underserved communities in disaster recovery efforts.
  • Business Counseling and Training: Tailoring resources to meet the specific needs of underserved entrepreneurs.
  • Investment Capital: Implementing rules to diversify fund managers within the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program, aimed at directing more investments toward underserved entrepreneurs.

These strategies build on the successes of the initial Equity Action Plan, which notably increased Community Advantage lending, expanded SBLC licenses targeting underserved businesses, and enhanced SBIC financing to minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.

Community Engagement and Resource Allocation

The SBA’s engagement with the small business community has been instrumental in shaping the Equity Action Plan. Through nationwide outreach, training events, and consultations with Resource Partners and trade associations, the SBA has honed its strategies to meet the evolving needs of small business owners. Noteworthy accomplishments include the launch of new Small Business Lending Companies (CA SBLCs), significant increases in SDB contracting, and the implementation of the Disaster Loan Program Modifications Rule.

Forward Momentum

As the SBA continues to refine its approach to equity and inclusivity, the updated Equity Action Plan stands as a testament to the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to creating a more equitable economic landscape. By addressing systemic barriers and fostering a supportive environment, the SBA aims to ensure that all entrepreneurs have the resources and opportunities needed to thrive.

For more information on the SBA’s efforts and to read the complete Equity Action Plan, visit the SBA’s official website.

This initiative not only promises to reshape the future of small business ownership in the U.S. but also reinforces the government’s role in facilitating equitable economic growth and resilience.

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  1. Free Small Business Plan Templates

    Download Small Business Plan Template Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs Use this small business plan template to identify trends and demographics in the company overview.

  2. 10 Free Business Plan Templates in Word, Excel, & ClickUp

    The Small Business Action Plan Template by ClickUp is tailor-made for small businesses looking to transform their business ideas and goals into actionable steps and, eventually, into reality. It provides a simple and organized framework for creating, assigning, prioritizing, and tracking tasks. And in effect, it ensures that goals are not just ...

  3. 10 Free Action Plan Templates in Word, Excel, & ClickUp

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  4. How To Create An Action Plan (FREE Templates & Examples)

    Here are two free action plan templates you can download and use today: Try monday.com's Action Plan Template: This action plan template breaks down goals into actionable steps that you can prioritize, assign ownership, and track progress. You can also add start and end dates for each action, plus relevant details and files. Get the template

  5. Free Action Plan Templates

    An action plan template is a pre-designed format or structure that helps individuals or teams create an action plan. Use an action plan template as a framework to break down project goals into manageable steps, assign responsibilities, and track progress. How Do I Write an Action Plan?

  6. Write your business plan

    Learn how to write a business plan quickly and efficiently with a business plan template. Content Business plans help you run your business A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You'll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business.

  7. Free Simple Business Plan Templates

    Try Smartsheet for Free. In this article, we've compiled a variety of simple business plan templates, all of which are free to download in PDF, Word, and Excel formats. On this page, you'll find a one-page business plan template, a simple business plan for startups, a small-business plan template, a business plan outline, and more.

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

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

  9. How to Create an Effective Action Plan (Examples & Templates)

    10 Action Plan Templates To Help You Execute Projects What Is an Action Plan and Why Do You Need One? As the name suggests, an action plan is the set of tasks or activities you need to complete to achieve a goal or complete a project.

  10. Action Plan Template for Small Business

    Get Free Solution With the help of this practical Small Business Action Plan Template, you can efficiently handle your tasks and set up an effective small business procedure. If you want to take your small business to the next level, you need an action plan. But planning a successful strategy can be overwhelming and time-consuming.

  11. What is an Action Plan? Learn with Templates and Examples

    Planning on turning your vision into reality? And what's your best way to avoid challenges and problems during this journey? A solid action plan. We have outlined 6 steps explaining how to write an action plan. Once you familiarize yourself with them, go ahead and use the editable templates below to start planning right away.

  12. Action Plan Template for Excel (Free Download)

    Get your Action Plan Template for Excel or open it in ProjectManager, the best way to manage your projects online. Open in ProjectManager. Download Excel File. When you're planning a project, you need a strategy to execute your plan. The action plan is that document. It outlines the action steps you need to do in order to accomplish your goals.

  13. What is an Action Plan and How to Create One + an 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.

  14. Simple Business Plan Template (2024)

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    Top 5 action plan templates for small businesses - with examples An action plan is used to break down project goals into practical, easy-to-follow steps. Here's our top templates for designing one to achieve the perfect project outcome. Written by Helena Young Updated on 11 August 2023

  16. Business Development Plan

    Now that you're in the growth stage of your business, set things in motion with a business development plan. A business development plan sets goals for growth and explains how you will achieve them. It can have a short-term or long-term focus. Review and revise your plan as often as you can. And keep building on it as your business evolves.

  17. Create An Action Plan With Action Planning Templates

    Action Planning Template. A quick way around developing an action plan is by using action planning templates to create your action plan. Here is an effective template you can use for a wide range of goal-setting situations: Problem: Goal: Action Plan: Actions (Necessary steps you plan to take to achieve your goals)

  18. One-page business action plan template

    download (37.4 KB) One-page action plan template Use this one-page plan to set goals for your business and note the actions you will need to to achieve these goals. Fill in your business details and then remove all the blue instructional text and examples. Other tools and templates template Writing a business plan guide template

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    1. Small Business Action Plan Template. 2. Small Business and Retail Committee Action Plan. The secret to a successful small business is making an action plan for it. So to those who think and believe that a good small business flourishes by luck, well there is that too. But the biggest impact on a small business to literally be successful is ...

  20. How To Write an Action Plan (With Template and Example)

    2. Create a list of actions. Next, create a list of tasks you need to complete in order to reach your goal. This process entails dividing your main goal into smaller objectives. By doing so, you can make the final goal seem less overwhelming and move closer to it in an organized, step-by-step manner.

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    20+ Sample Action Plan Templates; However, you should never forget that you want to make plans that will help you achieve the goals that you've set out for your business. This kind of sample plan is what you call a business action plan template and this article is going to teach you all that you need to know in order to make one that's ...

  23. Small Business Action Plan Template

    Download this Small Business Action Plan Template Design in Word, Google Docs, Apple Pages Format. Easily Editable, Printable, Downloadable. Just because you are starting a business that is small in scale compared to other businesses doesn't mean you should forego creating schemes and actions in making your goals a success.

  24. SBA Launches Enhanced Equity Action Plan to Bolster Small Business

    Isabel Casillas Guzman, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator, has unveiled an updated Equity Action Plan in a bid to foster inclusivity and economic opportunity. This initiative is set to transform the landscape for America's 33 million small businesses and startups ...

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