Executing a plan? Whether that sales, marketing or PR, there are three crucial stages to a plan that will help you reach your goals and give you the momentum to keep moving forward.
All good plans start with putting pen to paper. This will hold you accountable and also provide a roadmap for execution. The first part should lay out your specific goals and objectives. Once you define these, ask yourself how you plan to get there and give yourself a timeline.
Here are a few additional questions that you should answer:
- Why are you creating this plan?
- What are your goals?
- How do you plan on getting there?
- What is the timing associated with the end goal and the milestones in between?
- Who will hold you accountable?
- What defines success?
If you are working with a team, agency or consultant, it’s important to share your answers with them so you define expectations and also make sure everyone is clear; especially if they are a part of the plan.
Here are three important steps to any part of a plan:
Planning is important because it allows you to look at the scope of the project from a broad perspective and also your day-to-day execution tactics. You should set aside planning days so you can start a project with a clear head and be free of distractions. This is also your opportunity to start with big creative ideas and find ways to turn them into actionable steps.
You’ll also want to take the time to do research. This may include looking up stores when you a ready for sales outreach or creating a file that includes names of editors and bloggers that you would like to pitch. Doing this will allow you to execute with a strategy in mind.
Next, put aside time on your calendar. For example, dedicating a day in the week do PR outreach or executing social media will help provide consistency and allow you to execute with ease.
You should also look at your budget and resources available to understand the reality of your plan.
This is the most important step because you have to make things happen! Just as important as executing is doing it well. This requires the proper time to do things like create good content or thoughtful outreach to media and retailers.
When you’re executing, be sure to ask things like do my visuals look good, is what I’m doing helping me accomplish my goals and is it on brand.
To keep you focused and your mind fresh, be sure to set a timer because it helps manage your day.
After the execution phase, it’s important to assess your efforts and reference your original answers to reflect on your plan.
You should look at a variety of things like did you accomplish your goals and was it done time. What was the return on investment, budget and did you meet your criteria for success. Also look into the data available and figure out what it means for your business. How will these learnings influence your next plan? Specifically, what worked and what could have been done better.
In the end, planning, executing and assessing are three key stages that will make your efforts realistic and manageable. After you execute your plan, ask yourself whether you’ve committed to these stages because this will not only be your opportunity to check in with yourself, but allow for a true assessment of your plan.
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