Unless you have a clearly defined target, your business could be heading in any direction. How are you supposed to know which direction to lead your business or your team unless you have a clearly defined strategic roadmap to help you on the way?
Strategic roadmapping is an outline that helps guide you in terms of the long-term vision you have for your business. It acts as a guide to measuring how you’re progressing over time.
Without that solid roadmap strategy, your business will focus on short-term performance exclusively. Short-term performance is important, but you risk heading in the wrong direction entirely if you don’t keep your eye on the long-term prize.
So, how do you go about creating a small business roadmap? Keep reading to find out.
1. Assess Your Surroundings
You have to know where you are to create a plan for where you want to go.
The first step to creating a strategic roadmap is doing an internal and external assessment and review. Figure out what challenges your business is facing. Each challenge presented to us acts as a stop or different direction on our roadmap, so you want to enter this process as prepared as you can be.
Start from the inside and work your way out. Ask yourself or your employees what feedback they have or what challenges they see from their perspective.
Then, do an external assessment. Check out your local competition. Write down the industry trends or the products that are changing your industry.
What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats can you or your teammates see? Write them down and use this list to help guide you as you create your roadmap.
2. Set Your Goals
Next, you have to ask yourself what you have to do in order to assess these challenges and meet these opportunities. Each area that you wrote down needs to be addressed by an objective.
Think about where you want to see your company in the next few years and how you can achieve that. How can you outshine your competitors and attract more people to your brand? Connect each one of these objectives to a challenge or opportunity you plan to meet or overcome.
3. Decide What You Can Realistically Do
It’s important that you set goals that are realistic. There’s nothing wrong with reaching far to hit a goal, but if you’re setting impossible goals for yourself or your business, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Think about all the resources, people, processes, and physical assets that you have at your disposal. Each one of these things in front of you has a value that can help you reach the goals, meet the objectives, and bypass the obstacles in your way.
If your goal is to increase sales volume by 10%, marketing and sales management could be two of the vehicles you use to get to that destination.
4. Map Out Your Route
Now you know where you want to go and what tools you have at your disposal to get there. The next step is to figure out the steps you have to take to bridge any gaps in your capability.
Going back to the sales example, maybe your best course of action for increasing sales volume by 10% is by hiring a person who is experienced with digital sales. These routes could be something like attending a class or course, hiring new staff, or simply redirecting sales and marketing efforts so that you’re heading in the direction of your long-term goals.
5. Group Related Actions
There will likely be a few areas where your goals or objectives will be similar or they’ll have similar strategies to achieve different goals. These actions should be close together on the roadmap so you can best utilize your time and energy (and money!) in the best, most efficient way possible.
Each of these groups is called an initiative. Once you’ve got your initiative groups, decide how to prioritize them. This will give you a beginning, middle, and an end to your roadmap.
6. Create Your Roadmap
The next, and final, step in creating your strategic roadmap is to place each of your initiatives in priority order. For example, if you’re looking to launch a new product, maybe your first initiative is to market test the item and then prepare it for the market.
Next, you’re moving onto the sales initiative. In that initiative, you’ve got to select and implement the digital sales platform and start the digital sales function.
Goals, objectives, steps, processes, and initiatives come together to create one, cohesive roadmap for you to follow so you can reach your long-term goals.
Planning your business out in this way helps you see how all the cogs in your company machine work together and how they can be utilized in a more efficient way.
7. Set a Realistic Timeframe
One word of warning before you get started: set a realistic timeframe for your long-term goals. You don’t want to push your team so hard that they burn out and you don’t want to set a goal that is simply not achievable.
A good way to gauge this is to look back at the internal review you did earlier. The insight your team has about your business is incredibly valuable, especially in terms of seeing how quickly they can implement new strategies.
Get Started on Your Strategic Roadmap Now
Make sure that you set aside ample time to plan out your strategic roadmap. This isn’t a one- or two-hour meeting that can be done over lunch. Instead, set aside a day to really digging deep and looking at all of the aspects of your company that can go into helping it grow and trying to figure out how to get there.
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