Work Backward to Create an Action Plan

How to Work Backward to Plan Your Business Achievements

I’m sure many of you have heard the question, “How to do you eat an elephant?” The answer is actually very simple: “One bite at a time.” It’s the same with achieving your goals, you need to prepare an action plan and then take them one bite at a time.

In order to accomplish any goal, you need to create a task list for that specific goal. Get incredibly detailed in the task list for each of your goals. Your list can even contain sub-tasks if that is what’s needed to break this goal down. Get as detailed as you can with this list because it is truly the foundation for reaching a goal. This action plan is what takes goals from dreams to reality.

Breaking Down a Financial Goal

If I dream a big goal, it helps if that goal has a meaning beyond the dollar figure. For example, let’s say that I want to leave my day job and concentrate on your business. I currently bring home about $1,800 per month. Just to be safe, I’ll bump the goal up to $2,000. In other words, I need to add an extra $2,000 (or more… more is always better) to my monthly bottom line. Once that’s done and I am seeing that level of income on a regular basis, I’m ready to leave my day job.

Once I know how much money I need to make, I can start to think about different ways to do just that. I could find more customers for one or several of my existing products. For example, if I have a $10 eBook, I would have to make an extra 200 sales per month. From there I can work backwards. If I know that on average one out of 10 email subscribers buy the book within the first month of signing up, I need to add 20,000 new subscribers to my list, which in turn takes 300,000 new visitors to my site. If that’s my plan, I know that my daily to-do list needs to include plenty of action steps to ramp up my traffic by an extra 300,000 people per month. That sounds like it’s out of reach, what else can I do.

That’s not my only option. I could also create another information product or eBook each month and sell it to both my existing and new subscribers. I could create a higher priced item, so I would need to make a lot fewer monthly sales to reach my $2,000 goal. For example, if I create a nice $100 product, it would only take 20 sales per month to cover my current pay.

Since I will need for this paycheck to be an ongoing thing, it also makes sense to look into recurring payments. This could be my own membership programs, or I could look into affiliate offers with recurring commissions. Depending on your market, there’s a lot out there that you can promote. For me, one option could be to create some content to promote my membership group. Let’s say it’s $80 per month to keep the math simple. I only need 25 members to cover my paycheck. Once I reach that number, I only need to add the occasional new member to balance out cancellations. Getting one or two more members in each month going forward should more than cover that.

Now I have a concrete goal to work towards; convincing 25 people to sign up for the membership. My daily tasks will include things like creating content that includes an offer to the membership. Then I start driving traffic to the content and the opt-in offer and start mailing regularly about the membership. I may even craft a short autoresponder sequence to create an evergreen funnel.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I could approach other blog owners to see if they would be interested in writing some guest blog posts, answering some questions for an interview style post, or even do a webinar, all of which would of course promote the membership. By thinking outside the box and putting in some time and effort initially, it won’t take me long to get those 25 signups that pay for my new car payment. Because I really want to leave my job, I’m going to be motivated to get it done and grow my business by those extra $2,000 per month. In fact, chances are great that I’ll overshoot the goal by several hundred dollars and it’s something I can continue to grow month after month.

Breaking Down a PRODUCT Creation Goal

While breaking down your big dream goals to create something new may seem like an overly daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. Remember, you’re not trying to accomplish everything right now. You’re trying to create an action plan of tasks that will get you to your goal. You want an action plan that will eventually get you to your goal so that you aren’t wasting time today. This will keep you moving in the right direction.

Get very specific about what it is you’re trying to create so that you can see it more clearly. In order to stay completely focused on our biggest, most important goals, we need to break them down into manageable bites.

Break your goals down into a very specific detailed list of things that need to be done to reach each one. Don’t just think about what needs to be done. Write it down. Then decide which goal you are going to work on first. Don’t try to work on more than 3 goals at a time or you’ll get overwhelmed.

I put my action plan for each of my ongoing new product goals in a section of my planner. This way I can refer to it regularly. This is the best way for me to keep my goals front and center.

Schedule the Individual Tasks from Your Action Plan

Now that you’ve broken your goals into an action plan, schedule the first step of your 3 most important goals in your daily planner. Because these tasks are based on your goals and rooted in your values, they will always take high priority on your schedule. This will ensure that they actually happen.

If you find that you need to reschedule one of these tasks, make sure it is being replaced by an even higher priority. As you do this, you will find that you have rooted out the activities that kill time and replaced them with activities that strengthen your core.

Once you complete one of your goal tasks, schedule the next step for that goal in your daily planner. This keeps you constantly working toward your big goals. And once you complete one of your three goals, celebrate. Then pick the next most important goal from your list and start the process over.

Pretty soon you’ll be accomplishing your goals on a regular basis. You’ll also come to realize that no goal is too big if you break it down and work on each individual task in order.

Share your action plan with me so I can help you with accountability! Email me at or comment below.

In case you missed any of the other posts in the BUSINESS PLANNING SERIES, here are links for the entire series:

Week 1 – Why Business Planning is the Secret Sauce to Success

Week 2 – Why You Have to Write Your Business Goals Down

Week 3 – How Giving Your Goals Meaning Helps You Accomplish Them

Week 4 – How to Work Backwards to Accomplish Your Business Goals

Week 5 – Real Growth Requires You to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Week 6 – How to Engineer Explosive Growth by Stacking Your Efforts


How to Work Backward to Plan Your Business Achievements

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