How long has it been since you've updated your business plan? A year? Two? Five? Never?
As the technology that supports the Internet of Things becomes more widespread, its time to think about how your business can support that customer demand. If IoT solutions are your future, you’ve probably been taking interim steps to evolve your company to meet that goal. But sometimes, the future creeps up on us, and the business plan we wrote five years ago is not the one we seem to be following today.
The purpose of a business plan is to provide a roadmap of how your business will get from point A to point B. Ideally, it’s a living and breathing document, that is revisited at least annually, and hopefully more often to reflect the current market conditions. If the roadmap isn’t looked at regularly, it may be taking you to somewhere you are no longer interested in going. Or, it may help to correct your course if you’ve gotten lost in the weeds.
I recently met with the founder of a small business who recently assumed the chair of her town’s Chamber of Commerce. She discussed with me the tedious work of revising the group’s bylaws, a process that consumed numerous hours. When the task was accomplished, however, the chamber had a fresh map to the road ahead. It had simultaneously revamped its back-office and Web site, modernizing it to include features such as electronic dues paying. Initially projected to be an eight-month job, the task force managed to rewrite its bylaws — essentially the group’s business plan — in six months. Now, it's revved up to meet the economic challenges of today, rather than those very different ones facing it when the chamber was founded, 50 years ago.
Similarly, IT solution providers must look at their business plans and determine whether they meet the needs of their companies today rather than when they were originally written, whether that was last year or five years ago. Because in the age of the Internet, that might as well be 50 years ago.