Do you have a 2021 IT business plan?
Can you believe that it’s almost 2021? And we can all agree it’s been a whirlwind of a year.
As 2020 comes to a close, most business owners will take the chance to review the year.
Some businesses will be capping the year on a high note. And some will be scratching their heads wondering what went wrong. Regardless of what category you fall into, it is crucial to plan for what you want to accomplish in 2021 and beyond.
A successful 2021 starts with a solid business plan. When developing your strategy, I want to encourage you to think about your technology.
Every business needs technology.
Even if your company does something old school, like manufacturing pizza boxes, you’ll rely on technology to handle most routine business operations – from maintaining records and processing orders to staying in contact with suppliers and customers.
And because technology is central to running a business today, you need to plan. What technology will you use in 2021? How will you assimilate it into your current workflow?
So, how do you write an IT business plan?
You can start here. Today, I’m going to share with you 6 technology-based business plan secrets:
1. Perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis for your small business.
Take a moment to think about your business strengths and make a list of your top ones. Your strengths could be customer service, pricing, quality, etc.
Then, repeat the process but for your business’s weakness. Weakness could include low client acquisition, an inefficient distribution network, or low company productivity.
Now, it’s time to think about your business opportunities in 2021. Look at your target market and think of ways that your business could serve it. These opportunities might include new partnerships, joining a chamber of commerce, or attending a virtual trade show.
Lastly, make a list of threats against your business. These could include your competition or external sources, such as COVID-19 or cybercriminals.
For example, let’s say you manufacture cups for the Mid-Atlantic region. This year, a competitor opens a new headquarters in your region. That competitor is now an economic threat.
Once you’ve made your SWOT analysis, it’s time to consider your technology.
2. Align a technology strategy with your SWOT analysis.
It is impossible to move forward if your technology is two steps behind you. Once you review your SWOT analysis, you will be able to identify your business goals for the coming year. The next step is to develop a technology strategy that will help you achieve these goals.
Consider this example:
You’re at the start of your business journey. The company you founded is in its early stages, and you’re wearing a lot of hats. For now, you have to handle your entire company’s accounting.
You know that handling accounting tasks is not efficient for you or your company.
And this is where a technology strategy comes into play. To improve your accounting process and make it more efficient, you need two things. Better accounting software and an employee to help with the task.
Likewise, a technology strategy can also be more customer-focused.
For example, to keep up with your competitors, you may need to buy better tech. Let’s say you run a restaurant, and your competitors use online reservation platforms. To attract more customers, you might want to consider purchasing that technology.
3. Conduct a technology inventory for your small business.
It’s hard to make an IT business plan if you don’t know what you currently have.
Make a list of all the technology components that your small business currently uses. Then, make note of whether you own or lease the item. Also, make sure you list how old the item is and whether it is under warranty.
4. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis.
Before you make a purchasing decision for 2021, you should conduct a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) on your technology-based equipment and services. The goal of a CBA is to determine the payback or break-even point of any investment over a period of time.
Here’s how to run a CBA on your technology:
- Draft a list of all the technology, and list the upfront and operation annual costs of each tech item. This should be pretty easy to execute if you have already completed secret number 2.
- Next, assign a realistic cost estimate to figure out the annual beneficial value. Some tech-based equipment, like servers, may take longer to reach payback.
The point of CBA is to see if any technology is causing you pain points. For example, it may be more expensive to keep an old server alive than it is to just buy a new one.
5. Have a COVID-19 Section in your IT plan.
COVID-19 caught a lot of us off guard. The business environment has changed significantly because of the pandemic. For the first time, a lot of us had to run operations remotely. We had to rely on new technologies to do that.
Now is the time to learn exactly how COVID-19 affected your customers, vendors, and employees during 2020. In most cases, the pandemic created both new obstacles and opportunities.
So, take what you’ve learned from COVID-19 during 2020 and apply it to next year. And use this opportunity to create new plans and policies surrounding not only COVID-19 but other disasters.
As a side note, don’t forget to make sure you have a good remote solution in place. If another lockdown comes, you’ll be ready.
6. Don’t just plan for 2021.
Plan for 2022, not just 2021. Long-term thinking is the key to achieving enormous results. If your vision is too small and your goals too short-term, you won’t tap into the extraordinary power of long-term thinking.
Most people don’t have long-term goals. They’re entirely focused on the present, or perhaps the short-term, future.
Some of the best fuel for long-term success is your mind’s limitless drive to move forward. So, don’t plan for just 2021, plan for 2030, 2040, 2050.
What will your business look like then? What will you have accomplished?
If you feel like your 2021 IT business plan is still unreachable, it’s time to ask for help.
We at MRW Systems have the right tools to help you move forward. Give us a call today at 410-751-7111 to see how our IT business solutions can help you meet your 2021 business goals.