How To Help Clients Create A Business Action Plan

How to Sell Professional Services
November 10, 2017
The Key To A Powerful Business Action Plan
November 16, 2017

Let’s take ourselves into the meeting room with the client. We are nearing the end of the planning session. There is flipchart paper all over the walls and it is time to pull everything together into a coherent plan. Here is how you do it:

  1. Suggest to the client that you have covered a lot of ground and that it is now time to create an action plan for them to take away and implement so that they get maximum benefit from the session.
  2. Explain that you will use the flipchart paper to summarize the day and ensure all of the important items are acted upon.
  3. Move to the first flipchart paper (it is important to number your pieces of flipchart paper so that you can summarize in an orderly fashion.) Spend no more than a minute summarizing the discussion you had that led to the points noted on that piece of paper.
  4. Go through each point in turn. If a point is duplicated elsewhere, cross it off. If several points can be categorized together, bracket them as one action point.
  5. Move to the next piece of flipchart paper and repeat the process. Go around the room until you have discussed them all.
  6. Explain to the client that an important part of the accountability process is that they select the projects that they feel are of greatest importance. Tell them that you are going to let them have 15 minutes on their own to write down the top three projects that they will commit to implementing in the next 90 days. Encourage them to think long and hard about it and to use the full 15 minutes to reflect on the session and plan for the future. Ask if they have any questions; once they are comfortable, leave the room.
  7. Return in 15 minutes and ask the client to read out their number one priority for the next 90 days. Ask the following questions after they have read out the project:
    • Going back to our preferred financial scenario, which dimension of the business is this project aimed at? (For example, increasing the number of customers, increasing average transaction value, improving margins etc)
    • Specifically WHY do you feel this project is important? (Guidance: what is the critical success factor that requires attention?)
    • Who is going to be accountable for the delivery of the project?
    • By when will it be implemented?
    • What goals will be achieved by implementing this project?
    • How will you measure progress and outcomes in respect of this project?
  8. At this stage, it is appropriate to provide input, recommendations and suggestions with regard to the proposed project. This might result in a wording of the project being tweaked slightly; or an extra component being built into; or the project being changed completely.
  9. Repeat points 7 and 8 with the other two projects.
  10. Have the client sign off as part of the accountability process.
business action plan


By following these ten steps, your client has a powerful action plan. All that remains is to offer your help in implementing the plan.


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About the Author


Colin Dunn

Director & Co-founder at PANALITIX

Colin is a Chartered Accountant who, having spent almost 10 years with one of the fastest growing and most innovative firms in the UK, has since invested over 20 years helping business owners to improve their businesses with a focus on attracting new clients, better managing existing clients, developing new products, building an engaged team and strengthening internal business processes.

Colin's primary focus at PANALITIX is on product development and business improvement content. He is the author of the bestselling book “Accountants: The Natural Trusted Advisors".

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