Business Roadmap at some point you may have heard the term in or around your business life. The question is how many businesses implement such a thing, do they have one on a conscious level or perhaps one is applied unknowingly?
Do we need one?
It may be something you feel you don’t need as you’re ‘only a small SME’ however as I was to learn in my business before the ‘exit’, it did indeed change me for the better.
As an ‘SME’ owner in those early days 2005 – 2008, I was fired up, excited by the opportunity, our business was in its honeymoon period after all. We therefore didn’t really plan too far ahead; we didn’t anticipate ‘curve balls’…..after-all we were on an adventure! Its wasn’t until we hit the bumps of recession that we stumbled with direction and what to do next. Needless to say there were other skills that we hadn’t mastered in our short time in business and we’ll touch on them in other blogs. So when we ‘employed’ the services of a mentor / coach one of the first tools to be adopted was the ‘road-map’.
The roadmap process prompted me to ask some crucial questions of myself as an owner:
Why did I go into business?
How long did I anticipate being in business?
Was it for long term until retirement?
Do I retire…..do I exit?
These questions prompted discussions with loved ones and indeed my business partner. Indirectly it prompted some tough conversations, wants and needs of us as: individuals, a partner, a manager, owners, husbands and indeed as a parent. This initial process was a total eye opener and structured lots of change ahead.
Business Road-map templates can be commonly found on the internet via the various search engines. Alternatively as we did, you can create your own based on your ‘needs’ and tasks, simple milestones can be time managed and highlighted. (We used excel for our needs as our services where fairly simple).
As you will appreciate when viewing road-map examples they can range from being very simple tools to the most complicated process tools (all subjective and relevant to your needs). One thing for sure is that they are only as good as the respect and ownership you / your business has in making time to follow it, manage it, challenge tasks…ultimately it will provide the structure for the project, departmental or company delivery.
The Road-map process aids ‘clearing of one’s head’ and provides a simple reference point to reflect on your or the departments tasks ahead. Indirectly the tool itself becomes a useful communication medium to share data across departmental teams, internal and external stakeholders.
Road-maps can vary as to the exact timeline length which naturally will be subject to a ‘need or want’ with key indicators / objectives / milestones / deadlines being identified.
In my experience, we adopted and implemented: working in ‘quarters’ for a financial year, working this across and applying to sales results and team financial reporting. When we were applying it to our business growth strategy and vision, we opted for a yearly map and in my own case, for my ‘greater’ business plan, I created a 3 year timeline for my management and vision as to create a map that I identified as an ‘Exit’ for a career change.
When I grew in confidence using the road-map, I made the time available to reflect and update the map, utilising ‘other’ simple tools which aid me to identify change and/or new tasks, contingency planning became a given within the mapping process and at some point we shall talk about that elsewhere.