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90 Day Action Plan – Explained

Dale Beaumont’s 90 Day Action Plan

In a previous blog I did a review of Business Blueprint by Dale Beaumont. As part of each quarterly conference we are asked to do a 90 day business plan. So talking about my business these days and not mentioning my 90 day action plans is like talking about The Hobbit and forgetting to mention the map.

Why 90 days?

90 Day Action PlanI do have a daily and weekly list of actions that I want to get covered but these are swamped with the practical aspects of running my business. They have things like “get the big order ready” or “complete the BAS”. They are typically filled with the things that will bring in money right now, or atleast keep the business doors open.

At the same time there is the long term vision which is what I am working towards. Unfortunately this is the other extreme in being too vague. It isn’t concerned about what is happening today and in fact is more about me not doing things in the business.

So there needs to be a point that is beyond this week but not years away that helps me focus on developing my business in a practical way.

One month is too short as well. There are a number of months that are … useless. December can be written off with social events, holidays and deadlines. Easter also plays havoc with the month. We have a big trade show in September that impacts on August and September.

And one year is too long. There is no urgency to get something done.

90 days is great. I need to work steadily towards my goals but if I am distracted for a month then it doesn’t matter.

It also helps that the conference is once every 90 days.

What is on the 90 Day Action Plan?

The 90 day action plan contains 5 projects that I am aiming to complete. The requirement for the projects are:

  • They must be achievable within 90 days. If they can’t be achieved within 90 days then what specific aspect can be.
  • Most of them should focus on growing your business, automating your business, or improving it. They are not about doing the day to day tasks, but about improvement.
  • As a business owner, one should focus on increasing sales. This ensures that all the extra work will be paying for itself as soon as possible.
  • Like most goal setting schemes the projects need to be SMART
    • Specific,
    • Measurable,
    • Achievable,
    • Realistic and
    • Timely
  • This is simplified by making them “projects” and not “goals”
  • For each project, the smaller steps that make up the project can be listed. This helps in marking off progress.

Who should do a 90 Day Action Plan

Ideally everyone in your business should be doing a 90 day action plan.

This means that everyone needs to be looking at their role and working out how to do it better. It’s about improving performance through change or effort. It’s about trying to do that little bit more, or that little bit less.

Looking back at my days in a factory environment, the guys on the tools would have initially laughed at the idea because they just do the same thing day in and day out, but the reality is that many of them had great ideas on how to do things better, but felt that management never listened or supported them. This is the first step to changing that.

Or compromise and have teams working towards a 90 day action plan.

BUT don’t have management set the agenda, it needs to come from the individuals. Management can guide and request, but to be successful it needs to be owned by the individual.

Writing up the 90 Day Action Plan

With Business Blueprint it is very simple – a small pocket size card that has the list and some fancy extras like 31 checkboxes to be used for whatever.

Oh, there is also a larger sheet where we have more information, but that is quickly forgotten.

What is not forgotten is the card which sits on my desk in front of me. It is a daily reminder of what I think is the most important things to work on when I’m not putting out fires.

Using the 90 Day Action Plan

And that’s really the crunch. It needs to make a difference.

As I said, it sits in front of me and is a reminder of what I have decided I want to make a priority.

Each day I have all the usual fires I need to put out and on some days that is all that I am doing.

But then there are those moments where I say “what could I do now?” Practically I know that right now there are about 90 tasks that I could be working on. Which one should I do? Do a bit on this. Move onto that. Move back to the first.

What my 90 day action plan says is “forget everything else and do one of these 5”.

It also says “are you wasting your time on something that doesn’t need doing and isn’t on this list?”

My track record of success

Have I been successful with my 90 day action plans?

No, and yes.

Very rarely will I complete all 5 tasks. In fact, I rarely complete more than 3.

But the ones that I do complete are moving me forwards.

And the ones that I am working on often slide to the next 90 days and will then be completed.

And I don’t feel guilty when working on them and neglecting other tasks.

And I do feel guilty when I am neglecting them and procrastinating.