If you own a business, you know the importance of having a business plan. For most businesses, this document is critical because it helps them secure financing from investors or banks. Often, a business plan shows the opportunities that the business seeks to take advantage of and provides a market analysis of the current competition. Your business plan also shows how the business will be managed and provides its financial details.
While they’re good at providing details, business plans are dense. They often utilize heavy texts, charts, and graphs to convince financiers to invest in the business. Even so, there is one area that business plans don’t cover so well—which is how the plan will be executed. This is where business roadmapping comes in.
Roadmaps are designed to complement business plans by bringing them to life. They focus on the execution of the business plan by highlighting what will happen, when it’ll happen and who will make it happen. When you develop a roadmap for your business, you clarify the different tasks, roles, and responsibilities and how all of these work together. Roadmaps utilize visual presentations—they are easy to check and update without having to go through pages of texts.
So, how do businesses benefit from developing roadmaps? Below are five key ways that having a roadmap will benefit your business:
- It Helps Businesses Identify Priorities
The process of developing a roadmap is quite intensive as it involves taking a look at the business and deciding on what needs to be given priority and what doesn’t. At the beginning of the process, a business can find itself having too many priorities. This means the roadmap becomes too busy and dense, forcing you and your team to reflect deeply on your priorities and be more realistic on what they can achieve.
A roadmapping tool like Easy Agile can go a long way in helping your business identify priorities. By doing so, your business can narrow down its focus to the things that matter most and you can avoid being distracted.
- It Provides Context For Business Discussions
When you invest time in creating a roadmap for your business and you get all the relevant employees to collaborate in this process, any conversations that you hold about the business are easily contextualized within the roadmap. This enables employees to focus on business or project details without losing sight of the big picture.
With the roadmap in place, it’s easier for team to discuss strategic issues as well as project issues with ease and even see how different departments and projects are dependent on each other in moving the business forward. If your business lacks this context, it’s easy for you to pursue irrelevant goals and find it difficult to link strategic goals with project goals.
- It Gives Your Business Direction
While a business plan sets out the vision and purpose of the business clearly, a roadmap provides direction on how the plan will be executed. They break the plan down into achievable goals and milestones.
Unlike a business plan that’s generally used to convince people outside the business to support it, a roadmap is largely an internal document that shows employees where the business is going. It clarifies what they should focus on at any given time in order to achieve the vision that is set out in the business plan.
- It Helps Businesses Measure Progress
Roadmaps are designed to not just clarify business priorities, but also to set out timelines within which those priorities should be achieved. This means they don’t just show your teams what the future will be like, but they also indicate what should have happened over a given period of time in terms of milestones.
To enable you to track progress more efficiently, it’s advisable to develop roadmaps that show quarterly or biannual milestones. This enables you to reflect on your business journey, celebrate milestones, and quickly identify areas where things may not be progressing as planned for immediate remedial action.
- It Guides Resource Allocation
Every business has resources. However, resources—both human and financial—are never enough to do everything that you may want to do. This is why you need to prioritize business activities and use the resources available for the activities that matter.
Since a business roadmap forces you to identify the priorities to focus on, it serves as a guide for determining how the resources you have available will be utilized. In doing so, the financial and human resources that are available to the business are utilized on what matters most for the business.
- It Helps Businesses In Dealing With Competition
Competition is the order of the day in the business world. But what happens when your close competitor releases an announcement about a new product that they’re putting out there or a new feature that they’ve added to an existing product? Your business can easily be caught off guard and if you’re not prepared, you’ll panic. When you have a roadmap in place, you can easily guide you team in discussing how your business will counter the competition.
The new information about the action taken by your competitor can inform decisions such as bringing certain projects forward, re-prioritizing the plan, or introducing new initiatives to respond to the changes. Without a business roadmap in place, it can be challenging for a business to coordinate its response as attention may be directed to reactive responses that ultimately distract the business from its long-term goals.
Though not as common as business plans, roadmaps are powerful tools that businesses can use to consolidate numerous information into easy-to-use, highly visual formats. They’re highly flexible and businesses can use them to plan both short-term and long-term projects. This means business owners can use them to take a long-term view of their plans and even mobilize the resources they need to achieve those plans over an extended period of time.
If you haven’t been roadmapping your business, consider doing so and start enjoying the benefits discussed above.