How to Nail a 90-Day Action Plan

An action plan helps you reach both short- and long-term goals while developing foresight and flexibility

Creating a 90-day action plan for your business helps set and reach clear and realistic goals. This roadmap can also narrow down your short-term objectives to prioritize focus for a set period. And an action plan will help you apply what you learn during that time to the future.

Whatever you’re using this technique to accomplish—whether increasing revenue, getting more customers, or growing your business—you’ve got to nail it. Here are a few pointers for doing just that:

Set SMART goals

An action plan requires a set of desired outcomes, driven by how you want your business to look after 90 days. But where do you start? Make sure each of your goals, including daily and weekly targets as well as your 90-day goal, are SMART.

SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Let’s dive into what these terms mean when you’re prioritizing.

  • Specific. It’s not enough to say that you want to increase revenue. You need to write down a number that you want to reach by day 90.
  • Measurable. How will you track progress? If your goal can’t be measured, it’s not a SMART one.
  • Achievable. Do you have everything you need right now to make it happen? You should have all the necessary resources before beginning.
  • Realistic. Make sure your goals are possible. SMART goals can be bold but not so aggressive that the desired outcome is a giant leap from what your business has accomplished in recent history.
  • Timely. While you have 90 days for your full action plan to come alive, create time-based targets within that period. Check off small steps that lead to the big payoff.

Another tip: It’s not enough to set these business goals on your own. Make sure your team is involved in planning. Emphasize how these goals align with the company’s overall vision so that everyone is aligned.

Determine cash flow requirements

For your 90-day plan to work, you need the right balance of income and expenses. How much money will you need to bring in regularly during this period? What expenses are you certain to have? What unplanned costs could potentially arise? 

Surprises happen, and three months is plenty of time for something to go wrong, even if it’s unrelated to the present goals. Categorize your costs into fixed and variable. For example, rent or space costs will be fixed, while supplies or salaries may be inconsistent.

Be prepared with a realistic cash flow plan. List your obligations and the actual cash you know you’ll receive. 

Identify other sources of income

Once cash flow is figured out, maybe you realize that your goals require a bit more money coming in regularly. Determine other income channels. Get creative. Involve other people who can think of additional sources or provide helpful perspectives.

And don’t underestimate the power of eliminating expenses. Negotiate with a vendor or research other businesses in the area that might be more affordable. If you have high debt payments each month, consider trying to defer payments or restructure your payment plan.

If you don’t have much debt, a business loan can help in a pinch. If the only obstacle to nailing your 90-day plan is more cash, a reasonable loan is not always a bad idea.

Be firm but adaptable

A 90-day action plan requires consistency and commitment. But there are always circumstances that arise to change plans quickly. Your benchmarks and goals may need to be updated within the quarter. 

For example, many small business owners had very different goals before the pandemic. But now, what they consider success to look like and the benchmarks they set are based on post-COVID numbers.

Try to stay flexible and celebrate small wins. This is where incremental steps are helpful as you are on the path to a 90-day desired outcome. 

Need outside help?

Often, an impartial, professional set of eyes can provide the perspective to clarify efficient planning. Provident CPA & Business Advisors can help you create the right strategy, set SMART goals, and track your progress along the way. We assist in planning for successful growth by identifying your critical drivers and creating the right budget. And our cash flow analysis focuses on the now to help you create a better future.

Contact the Provident team to learn more about our business strategy services.

How to Identify and Track the Critical Drivers in Your Business

Critical drivers are your business’s core items that maintain momentum and spur growth

The successful operation of your company depends on a set of critical drivers, those core items that keep a business moving and growing. Taking the time to identify these drivers helps you better manage your teams and your business while helping you evaluate the right metrics.

Start putting more time and energy into the most valuable areas. Also known as value drivers, critical drivers should be clearly identified and tracked to have more visibility into what’s happening.

Identifying critical drivers

Critical drivers are the processes that most impact value and efficiency. These are the behind-the-scenes gears that keep things functioning. So how do you identify these items?

There are generally three types that are directly related to value. Growth drivers are processes within the sales, marketing, and business development areas; efficiency drivers are those within operations, and financial drivers are finance processes.

To be considered a critical driver, these processes must be measurable and illustrate performance and progress. They also must be controllable. Here are two questions to ask when identifying critical drivers:

  • How much do changes in this process or component impact the business?
  • What factors can be controlled by management versus by the market?

Think of all the components of your business like a flow diagram, in which one concept breaks into two others, and so on. Thus, if priorities within your business are working toward growth and profit, start there. Then, outline each component that drives profit. Within those components, like sales, break it down further.

Once you identify the components of your business, you can define the critical drivers within those categories. What processes are most closely tied to your company’s core values and vision? Which processes have the most impact on profit and company value?

All organizations will be different, so there’s no one formula. To start, try to nail down three primary activities that drive your business.

Tracking critical drivers

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is just as crucial across departments and processes. But these metrics are especially important for critical drivers and will help you isolate your main value drivers.

There may be many components that comprise a key process for your business. And while all relevant performance metrics should be tracked and monitored, set up additional measures for the most valuable drivers. Focus on ways to improve these metrics, and improvements to revenue, sales, or profit will follow.

For example, factors driving your sales numbers include KPIs like the number of new customers, the number of leads, the number of conversions, and the number of customers retained. These metrics are tracked over a given period so that changes, like new marketing strategies, can be evaluated. For example, focus on sales KPIs that have the most significant impact on moving sales numbers.

Set clear objectives and benchmarks for each critical driver you define. If you’re not hitting the goals, focus your energy on improving that element. It may take trial and error to see the results you want, but it’s a huge step to simply know where you should be focusing.

Give your time and money more value by prioritizing the core processes that have the biggest impacts on success.

A business advisor can help

One of the easiest ways to identify and track your critical drivers is to work with a professional advisor. These concepts can be challenging to grasp, especially for new or smaller businesses. An advisor can help you isolate value drivers and assist in putting methods in place to track and analyze the performance metrics.

The team at Provident CPA & Business Advisors can assist you in reviewing practices and performance numbers. We utilize the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which involves nailing down the six essential components of your business: Vision, People, Data, Issues, Processes, and Traction. We’ll make sure you’re tracking KPIs and focusing on critical drivers that can lead to long-term growth and success.

Get in touch with Provident today to learn more about our services.

Understanding USPs for Your Business

When you know how to identify and communicate unique selling propositions (USPs), you’re on your way to growth

Your unique traits are what make your business stand out from competitors. These traits are also known as your unique selling propositions (USPs) for your products and services, and they need to be communicated to consumers convincingly and engagingly. USPs aren’t just words in your mission statement—they need to be characteristics that drive and differentiate your brand.

Without nailing down USPs, your marketing efforts may feel ineffective and trajectory stagnant. With all the competition that the digital age has brought, it’s more important than ever to keep the message fresh to stand out online.

Clearly defined and well-communicated USPs are at the heart of a successful business plan—keeping people interested in what your products and services provide.

Defining your USPs

Start by asking yourself what makes your business different. Of course, you’ll have a lot of similarities with competitors, but your USPs should be totally unique to you. Ask: What makes you special for your ideal audience? What motivates the behavior of your audience? What do they really care about? Why would they care about your product or service? Your offerings should solve a specific problem for your customer base, so start there.

Research what your closest competitors are listing as their USPs. What’s working for them? How focused are they on the customer experience? How do your products differ from theirs? What services do you provide that they don’t? One pro tip for creating USPs is to focus your ideas around one specific area of the market, instead of trying to compete with every brand that’s slightly related to your industry. In some industries where products are virtually the same, a USP may be the level of service your business provides in conjunction with that product. In others, the essential product or service offered is truly unique.

Also, start researching the USPs of brands that aren’t necessarily competitors, but are successful in communicating and delivering on their distinguishing characteristics.

Another way to get ideas is to talk to your customers directly. Ask for feedback about what they really liked about working with you and what they believe makes you stand out from other brands—or doesn’t. Schedule interviews and phone calls to better understand the customer experience. This also gives you an opportunity to add testimonials to your website that highlight your USPs.

Make sure that whatever USPs you come up with are true based on your track record, and that they are realistic about what you can and do deliver.

How to communicate your USPs

Once you have well-defined USPs, it’s time to start communicating them effectively. Think about how you can integrate them into your company’s mission and vision, and create an “About” page description that includes your USPs. You can even list them out as bullet points and further explain each one.

Make sure you can communicate your unique traits in a succinct, clear manner. Keep it simple and easily digestible. Create a sort of elevator pitch that you can easily send to customers. You can even clearly and directly state that these values and deliverables are your USPs. Headings on a website may read “How we’re different” or “What sets us apart,” for example.

It’s also useful to view your USPs as promises you’re making to your customers. On your social media accounts, website, email communications, videos, and advertisements, make sure that you’re making your promises clear about what clients can expect when working with you—and why they should.

Finally, your team should be aligned on your USPs so that the entire business has these priorities at the forefront of all that they do. Just like your mission and vision drive the team toward goals, USPs should influence the way your company interacts with customers and delivers.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) is a toolset to foster growth in your business and align your team around a specific set of goals that support your company’s vision. This system is made specifically for small business owners and provides a holistic approach to strengthen your enterprise.

At Provident CPA & Business Advisors, we use EOS to help our clients formulate a realistic plan to create a durable growth trajectory. With the right tools and principles, you’ll be able to better connect with and grow your client base. Get in touch with the Provident team today to get started.