Digital technology is constantly redefining how we do business. It changes how your customers contact you, where you store your valuable information, and even the methods used to manufacture your products or deliver your services. No modern business strategy is complete without a careful consideration ofhow to make a business plan that incorporates both current technology and the digital technology of the future.
1. Create a Business Strategy
Your business strategy neatly explains what you’re all about. It will include a brief history of the company as well as a more detailed account of where you’re headed and how you plan to get there. In the digital age, no business strategy is complete without careful consideration of what role technology will play in your company’s future.
Though you can’t anticipate all the innovations that may become available over the next five to ten years, you can lay out a strategy for continuing or increasing implementation of useful technology that’s already here, such as secure storage on the cloud or telecommuting opportunities for remote employees.
2. Make a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan defines how you will get your product or service out to the consumer. How will new clients discover your brand and how will you keep your existing customers happy? Modern marketing plans nearly always include a strategy for online marketing, such as social media marketing campaigns or a mobile-optimized website to better connect with the growing number of customers who will find you on their smartphones.
3. Lay Out Your Operational Needs
Your operational needs are those facilities and supplies required for day-to-day operation of the business. How will you manufacture and ship your goods? What telephone technology will you use to run an efficient call center? Which IT systems are needed to support your office environment? Make sure you choose scalable technology for this part of your business plan. You want to ensure that you’re implementing products and services that will serve you well in the future as well as today.
4. Define Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
Your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis is an important part of writing a business plan. Technology plays a major role in your SWOT analysis. Early adopters of new technology in your industry become instant threats. If your company fails to adopt this technology, it could become a major weakness. Customers quickly adapt to new innovations so what’s novel one year is naturally expected from you the next.
5. Decide How Many Employees You Will Need
Create an organizational chart of your company with a detailed analysis of how many employees you need for each department. Include an estimate for employee growth in coming years and a plan for hiring, training, and retention of these employees.
6. Outline Your Social Responsibility Plan
Maintaining social responsibility can give you a strong edge over competitors who neglect to address this area in their business plans. Innovative technologies provide new ways for mindful businesses to reduce their impact on the environment. Convert to renewable energy, implement recycling programs, or streamline your manufacturing processes to have a smaller carbon footprint.
7. Create an E-Business Strategy
Your e-business strategy is perhaps the most important thing to consider when you’re deciding how to make a business plan for the digital age. Will you buy and sell your products online? What functionality will your website offer? What role does the Internet play in your business activities and marketing strategy? What web hosting technology do you need to handle your strategy?
You should also consider the hardware and software supporting your business practices. Are you making ample use of the technologies available to you, or does your business plan include implementation of new money- and time-saving technologies in the near future?
8. Estimate Your Financial Needs
Finally, you must determine what kind of capital you’ll need to execute the business strategy laid out in your plan. Consider all aspects of your business operations and growth including operational costs, marketing expenses, employee salaries, and new technology investments. Your business plan should include a financial forecast for the next three to five years with a detailed forecast for the next 12 months in particular. Balance your costs and revenue so that your business plan clearly proves that you have a profitable strategy in place.
A well-rounded business plan will incorporate the latest digital technology as soon as operationally feasible for your company. Utilizing the best in web conferencing, cloud voice solutions, and other digital technology will keep you at the cutting edge of your industry.