Finance From A – Z: Action Plan

Term: Action Plan

Definition: A sequence of steps that must be taken, or activities that must be performed well, for a strategy to succeed.

What Does This Mean To Me:

An action plan will help move business strategies and objections from a great ideal to measurable results and are meant to be aligned with Business Goals. Each Business Goal should have a separate action plan. Each plan should contain sequential tasks that are essential to completing the plan, thereby, assisting in reaching the goal.

A properly prepared Action Plan will  measure progress and determine if goals are being accomplished or if additional adjustments are necessary.  There are eight basic components to an effective Action Plan. They are:

  1. Action Number– This is a sequential number in the order of completion
  2. Status - Not Started Completed, In Progress
  3. Task Description – A task description – it should be detailed enough that you can review it a month later and still remember what needs to be accomplished.
  4. Task Owner(s) – The Individual(s) responsible
  5. Duration – How long should it take in Days (use 1/2 day increments) If a task takes less than 1/2 day consider combing it with another item.
  6. Resources – The funds necessary to accomplish the task
  7. Start Date – When to start the task (each step must be time bound)
  8. Stop Date – When will the task be completed.

Useful Tool:

Click on the link below to download a template for a Action Plan.

Action Plan Template

Remember, an action plan should support a particular business goal and each plan should have less than 31 sequential action steps. If there are more then 30 steps you should check to see if the task are to detailed. Also, consider consolidating steps or consider splitting your one big goal into smaller multiple goals.

Comment below and let me know what you think or let me know if you have some additional information or tools for developing action plans


Finance From A-Z: Barter System

Term: Barter System

Definition: An organized method of trade whereby participants exchange goods or services instead of money

What does this mean to me?:
Bartering has been in existence as a method of exchange longer than “money”. Although bartering is more of an economic term it still has relevance for business and finance.

Often during start-up entrepreneurs struggle with sources of money. If they would stop and consider all available resources they actually have lots of value stored up in bartering. Using a barter system can be an ideal method to quickly accrue resources, especially when initial cash is limited.

Case Study:
In 2005 I had a client (we’ll call him Sam) that once exchanged services for a brand new MacBook Pro Laptop. Sam was in desperate need of a computer upgrade in order to improve customer service and responsiveness. Normally, Sam’s revenue price point didn’t allow him to generate the $3,000+ he needed to purchase the laptop. Also as a new business he wasn’t able to obtain vendor credit. It would have taken him several months in order to make enough sales to raise that much excess cash.

However, Sam had a high-end client (we’ll call him Dave) that needed specialized expertise in web-design and Trans-media development. Normally, Sam charges a reoccurring monthly fee which is standard for his type of service but, by bartering he received the value in a lump sum.

Also, Dave had vendor credit and didn’t use all his available cash. So, Dave purchased the Laptop on credit and gave it to Sam as payment – resulting, in bartered services for a New Laptop.

The message here is – when looking for resources consider bartering as an alternative. There are networks for bartering that you can research. Just Google Bartering Networks and check out the options. Click on this link to get you started.

– Manch Kersee
J.R. Dexter, Inc. “Business Decision Support”