Starting a business always starts with a plan. From establishing your mission and vision to strategizing how you will realize it, you have to prepare detailed guidelines. This is why having a startup business roadmap comes in handy.
Today, we’ll look into what a business roadmap is, how to create it, and how to use it for your company. First, let’s define what it is and what it’s used for.
What Is A Startup Business Roadmap?
A startup business roadmap is a key planning tool that outlines the matters you should focus on as a business. Given how unpredictable running a business is in a dynamic market, a business roadmap will help you keep everything on the right track. It systematically determines what capabilities you’ll need to grow your operations and what actions you should take to acquire those capabilities.
How to Create A Startup Business Roadmap
You can start drafting your roadmap by looking at all the encompassing processes of your business. This will give you a clearer picture of what’s already in place and what has to be improved or added.
Here are some key points to evaluate:
- Technical Components
A lot of companies make the mistake of focusing too much on the physical aspects like technology that powers their product and services. However, the success of a business actually lies in the effectiveness of the people and the operations.
Items to Include In Your Business Roadmap
Now that we’ve established the essential items you should study for the business roadmap let’s tackle the items that should be included. Keep in mind that you don’t have to follow the steps sequentially. These are just guidelines for creating the sections of your business roadmap.
The first thing to include in your roadmap is the list of major challenges your startup is currently experiencing. This section will discuss what aspects of your business needs further attention. Keep this list simple and focused by limiting it to around five items only.
If you’re not sure what to write, here are some hints. At the earlier stage of your startup, from inception to Series A funding and beyond, you’ll encounter a unique set of difficulties. Some of the most common problems include assembling your team, getting funded, and developing the initial iteration of your products.
If you’re in the later stage, you’ll most likely encounter scaling-related challenges. A more established business would often find difficulties in creating customer service procedures, enhancing revenue collection techniques, and increasing production rates.
“If you don’t have goals, how do you know if you’re doing well or if you’re not doing well?”Matt DeCoursey
Decide on a few main goals for this planning horizon. In this step, you must be crystal clear about your objectives and what your goals look like.
Adapt your goals to the difficulties you are now facing. Maybe the solution to your current funding issue is to earn $500k in seed funding. If you have a lot of customer issues, perhaps the goal might be to strengthen customer service to minimize complaints by 25%. Make sure these goals are specific and measurable.
You can find more goal-setting tips for startups in our previous blog.
Identifying your capabilities is one of the most important parts of the roadmap. Determine the qualities you must develop or invest in to achieve your goals.
This serves as a link between what you are doing (Actions and Initiatives) and your goals (Challenges and Objectives). The capabilities of your company define what you do. Usually, processes, people, and tangible objects like technology or equipment make up a capability.
Create your capacity map in this stage by identifying every business feature your new company will require to function both now and in the future. Determine which of these capabilities needs to be built, enhanced, or emphasized based on your main difficulties and goals. This will help you prioritize your investments.
4. Action Plan
The next step is to develop your action plan. You have to decide what needs to be done to transform your top capabilities.
If you are at a loss for what to do, just consider what constitutes a capability. Actions often center on three areas: people, processes, and physical components. Here are examples of the actions you can prioritize:
- Hiring new talent
- Reorganizing structure
- Training employees
- Embedding culture
- Fixing procedural issues
- Streamlining processes
- Adding new protocols
- Acquiring new equipment
- Implementing or upgrading systems
- Obtaining funds
You can prioritize these items based on their rough costs and how feasible they are with your current workload.
The last step is to organize your actions into manageable, reasonable initiatives. Don’t go overboard with the projects. Be sure to keep enough resource allowance so that you can easily shift focus when there are more urgent matters.
Another tip is to identify which action items would form a Minimum Viable Increment to one or more business capabilities. Remember to pace your progress. It’s crucial to give priority to actions that will have the biggest impact on your goals with the least amount of work.
Creating Your Visual Business Roadmap
Now that you know what to include, it’s time to translate your data into a presentable format. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can follow these steps to create a simple roadmap:
- Make a basic grid to start.
- Create your themes on the vertical, such as fundraising, product development, and sales and marketing.
- Lay out your horizons, such as years, quarters, and stages, across the top.
- Plot each of your initiatives in an actionable order on the grid.
- Determine the connections between efforts.
Avoid front-loading your roadmap by not overloading everything in the first horizon. Most companies make the mistake of taking on too much work. Instead of attempting to complete everything at once, just focus on high-priority initiatives first.
Scale Your Business with Full Scale
Startup business roadmaps are a great reference for scaling your business. However, there are bound to be more challenges in your journey than what’s included in the roadmap. Having seasoned experts to give you advice and help you implement your plans will boost your chances of success. This is where Full Scale comes in.
Over the years, we have helped dozens of businesses realize their full potential. We cater to small and large companies alike. Our goal is to provide the software development resources you need to scale your operations. We’ll help you assemble your team and manage them. We have seasoned developers and other software specialists who are trained and ready to be deployed.