Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
If you are just starting to write Action Plans for your goals, or need to refresh your skills a bit, here is an example of how to do it. This is a very generic example of starting to market online. The same process can be used for almost any goal. It is the process of actually doing action plans that is the most important part of the process. You will learn how to do them quickly and for just about anything if you practice this skill. (Hint: start with very simple, short-term goals at first. Action Plan everything from your daily errands to cleaning your house to doing your taxes just to get the practice.)
Sample Goal: To sell my products online to generate $4,000 in monthly income by December 2006.
Here’s the “backwards” thinking:
So, in December, she has reached her goal. Most of her online revenue comes from her own website, but she also still sells her “clearance” items on eBay, which is where she started her online sales long ago in January. For a couple of months, she sold products only on eBay while doing the research and then building her own online store. She partners with several complementary businesses online and exchanges links appropriate to her industry. She gets several visitors to her site this way every day. She has an online marketing plan addressing the promotion and advertising of her online store. She has created a database of her customers and sends quarterly newsletters to let them know what new products she has and what specials she is offering.
What had to happen before the above scenario? Those are the action steps and could look something like this:
1—Research online auction options such as eBay.
2—Research creating an online website to sell the products.
3—Take pictures of products to put online.
4—Write descriptions of products.
5—Collect references and testimonials about products from customers.
6—Put products online by March 31.
7—Create online marketing plan for products/store by April 14.
8—Search for referring links from other websites/related businesses, etc.
9—Create database of customers who order and send quarterly newsletters. .
10—Continue with marketing plan, revising as needed.
Our online seller probably had many other items in her action steps which she discovered along the way, such as finding shipping materials and researching shipping costs. There will be things which come up that you are not aware of when you create your Action Plans. Just incorporate them into the plan as you come across them and keep working toward the goal.
If you discover in your research steps that your goal is not feasible for you (for example, suppose our store owner discovered she did not have the available cash for her own website, or that shipping costs were too high, or she needed more product. She could revamp her Action Plan at any point in the process. Revamp, not give up. She could perhaps look for free web hosting or even barter for it, find cheaper shipping options, or increase her product inventory. She could also choose to delay her goal to start in the middle of the year after she builds up necessary capital and does the research. She could find online partners to sell her product for a commission.
There are always many possibilities for achieving your goals. Giving up too soon is a common mistake. Persistence does pay.