A business plan and a business action plan are meant for two very different sets of people and they have two VERY different purposes.
Which one should you use?
A Business Plan
Who: Someone who is thinking about starting a business
When: Before you start your business
Why: to provide a structure for ideas in order to initially define the business, determine whether there is a viable market for what you want to do and obtain funding if needed.
What: A Business Plan includes a whole heap of things you’ll never have to do again… it’s a really long list but if you’re thinking about starting a business it’s the first thing you need to do – it’s the only way to make sure that you’re doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time…
How: You can download a template for a Business Plan here
A Business Action Plan
(Sometimes called a Strategic Plan or Strategic Action Plan)
Who: Business owners and management teams
When: Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily… a Business Action Plan is a living document that you should be referring to every day. If you don’t yet have one – start now, then review it daily, weekly and monthly; update it quarterly and rewrite it once a year.
Why: Your Business Action Plan is your business roadmap. It details where you are going and how you plan to get there.
What: A business action plan should contain all of the following elements:
- Long term goals (10 years +)
- Medium term goals (3- 5 years)
- Short term (one year goals)
- Financial goals and targets
- Strategies (How do you plan to achieve your goals and financial targets)
- Action Items (What is your To Do list to implement the strategies)
- Review – are you on track to achieving your goals… if your not reviewing how do you know whether you are still going in the right direction?