If you spend time with fellow Westchester small business owners or read business publications, then there’s a word you’ve read and heard a lot in the past few years.
That word? Roadmap.
Roadmaps, in the small-business setting, are incredibly powerful tools. Like the maps on our smartphones, they are modern, updatable, and user-friendly. And like the smartphone roadmap apps, they get us from point A to point B, even when the journey has a number of twists and turns.
Perhaps most importantly, a good roadmap focuses on smart choices that will allow a business to grow, addressing such things as expanding a business’s number of partners, online marketing platform, staff, and physical space.
How do you create a roadmap for growth?
An actionable roadmap for your Westchester small business should be all of these things:
- Intended primarily for you and your team
The actionable roadmap that you develop may or not be one page, but making it one page is something worth considering, says Jeanne Rossomme of Roadmap Marketing. Rossomme has been a leader in roadmap marketing and actually coined the term “actionable roadmap.”
Having a concise, flexible roadmap will mean that, even under tight time constraints, your team will be able to consult the roadmap as needed and literally be on the same page as you move forward.
Leaving it flexible is also a wise choice, Rossomme says. Businesses like to have an idea what conditions they will expect in the upcoming quarter, but surprises have to be allowed for, just like when you’re on the road.
Your roadmap should include actions associated with milestones. In the realm of social media, which most Westchester small businesses should be making use of, a milestone-based action could look like this: “When we hit 1000 Facebook likes we will put up at least one Facebook post mentioning the milestone, thanking those who’ve liked us on Facebook, and asking these supporters to share our page with friends.”
Another tip for building a small business roadmap: Begin with the end in mind. Are you planning to sell this business? Do you wish for it to generate retirement income? Or are you, perhaps, looking to transform an industry, the way humble Honest Tea, recently purchased by Coca-Cola, has striven to do, and arguably done?
Preparation, planning, execution
To get a roadmap started and finished, here are three important priorities:
- Preparation – What critical data have to be gathered during the coming year to use as dashboard indicators of progress? Businesses that look at their data carefully every week are successful businesses.
- Planning – How do you prioritize goals and ideas into a concise enough form that it can be glanced at frequently without getting bogged down in details?
- Execution – How do you make sure that you actually do the plan, especially when mired in daily activities?
These are some of the aspects of actionable roadmaps that will be covered at a free workshop for Westchester small business owners on August 20. The workshop is entitled “How to Create an Actionable Roadmap for Growth.” Attendees will learn from our SCORE expert how to make the right kind of roadmap for their Westchester small business, and how to stick to it once they’ve made it.