One of the first things that someone does when thinking about starting a new business is create a business plan. When I started with the Provost’s Office back in 2001 (as Director of Web Services for Enrollment and Planning), I was asked to do just that. This was a newly created position so I was an office of one, with no staff and no budget. In the business plan I outlined the need for a professional web presence, how this goal would be reached, budget and staffing needs, a web management structure and a formal process for requesting web projects.

The business plan has proven to be valuable over the years. A key point was a goal to keep staffing levels where all legitimate requests can be handled in a reasonable amount of time. Despite many organizational changes over the past 6 years, I have grown to the point where I am now an official campus department with my own budget line. We have four full time staff members along with grad assistants and student assistants and a decent-sized operating budget.

A key to this growth is a focus on ROI. While we still don’t have the resources to do everything that everyone wants, we have been able to focus on the projects and initiatives that provide the most value (most of the time 🙂 ) The success of our projects has helped senior leadership see the value of the web in reaching organizational goals and justified additional investment.

So, do you have a business plan? If not, I would recommend creating one. You will find it a valuable exercise.